On his Monday show, Howard Stern hated pretty passionately on Gabourey Sidibe. No surprise there. He gets away with this behavior because he's a "shock jock" (would someone please murder that phrase) and because too many people secretly believe the same thing. They listen to him and think, "What a jerk! But she should really lose some weight. I mean, for her health."
I have to say, there is a purity to what Stern does. At least he's honest about his ridiculous, bigoted opinions. Many people look at Sibide and wonder, "Jeez, I really wish she would take care of her weight, I just worry for her health." Really? Or are you really worried about her weight? Personally, I don't think she's someone who is in need of our mass pity disguised as concern. I'm pretty sure she's doing better than most of us professionally right now, and her future is looking so bright, she's gotta wear shades.
Why do we care what she weighs? How is that affecting our lives? Oh because this is America and we have the right to judge others people's bodies out of fake concern for their well-being. Got it. Even if Gabourey was going to drop dead tomorrow (and there is plenty of info out there to suggest that's most likely not going to happen), what license does that give anyone to make such terrible attacks? Are we hurting and shaming her for "her own good"? The funny thing is, you don't see nearly as many people concerned with the fact that celebrities go on unhealthy starvation diets for weeks before the Oscars to "fit into the dress" and in general, stay unreasonably thin at the price of their health. Don't get me wrong, people in the limelight can never win. With the exception of five women who have been deemed to have acceptable figures (for now), even the super-skinnies are all judged within an inch of their lives.
The fact is, there are a lot of people in America who look like Gabourey Sidibe. And guess what? They all know they're fat and I'd bet my left foot (my most useful foot!) that they've all tried to lose weight. Losing weight is not easy and (gasp!) some people don't even want to do it. Society continuing to harass and shame fat people isn't helping anyone, it just makes the people doing the harassing and the shaming feel superior.
Fat people could use someone on screen who looks like them, someone who isn't ashamed of who they are. Many fat people go without medical attention because they're too ashamed to go to the doctor. Many fat people don't go to the gym because they fear they will be humiliated. Many fat people feel worse about themselves every time they turn on the TV because there is nobody who looks like them. Wouldn't it be so much healthier to have a broad range of actors on the screen? After all, we've tolerated the way too skinny ideal for so long and what's so healthy about that?
Gabourey knows she's fat. Trust me, you can't be fat -- you can't even really be a normal weight -- in this society and not be reminded every minute of every day that your size is up for judgment. She knows this and yet, she's working it. It's inspiring to see someone so young and so comfortable in their body; it's something all women should aspire to. If every young woman had her confidence, I bet we'd see a fraction of the body issues that plague us today. I love her sassy responses when reporters ask her about male celebrities and opinions on her Oscars dress. It's so awesome that she's proud of her looks and her accomplishments. Shouldn't we be celebrating that in any woman, especially one so young and in such a tough industry? But we're not, we're trying to take it away from her, and viciously so. I love the fact that Gabourey is making America look at her. Take up space, girl. Own that spotlight, you look beautiful in it.