Gabourey Sidibe attended the Golden Globes Awards Sunday night. And in what has become a time-honored (and vile) tradition anytime she appears anywhere and happens to be photographed, some viewers thought it would be a good idea to mock her weight. Again.
There was, of course, the flat-out name-calling, which was clear fat-shaming. And then there was the faux concern for her health—i.e., passive-aggressive fat-shaming under the guise of sympathy.
After the latest round of jeers about her size on Sunday night, Sidibe offered another reminder to let folks know that they’d been heard and unequivocally dismissed.
“To people making mean comments about my GG pics,” she tweeted. “I most definitely cried about it on that private jet on the way to my dream job last night #JK.”
I’d like to take a moment to point out what should be obvious, but seemingly isn’t: Sidibe knows she is overweight. She’s said as much in interviews. She’s been told to her face by her Hollywood idol that she needs to lose weight. Anytime she walks onto a Hollywood set, she is likely the largest person present. When she sees her magazine covers on the shelf next to others, it’s as obvious to her as it is to everyone else that one of these people is not like the others, as much for her size as for her color.
Gabourey Sidibe is not stupid or blind. And as evidenced, she does not give two damns what naysayers think of her weight. ”I was born to stand out,” she told Parade magazine last year. “I don’t care whether or not people will find me attractive on-screen. That’s not why I became an actor.”
If she wants to lose the weight, she has access to trainers who can work it off or plastic surgeons who can suck it out. And if the weight is tied to an emotional issue, she can hire a psychologist who can help her address it. Either she doesn’t want to lose it, is trying to lose it or maybe—though I know it may be unfathomable to some—she’s happy as is.
If all you are able to focus on is Sidibe’s size, widen your horizons. Despite her weight or perhaps even because of the opportunities her pounds have afforded her, she has an Oscar nod for her very first film role and has worked consistently as a black actress in Hollywood, a notable feat when there are countless stories from black actresses a third of Sidibe’s size who complain about not being able to find decent work. Oh, and she’s been co-signed by Oprah.
Sidibe’s success is sometimes jarring for some people to take in. There’s this reigning idea that fat somehow equals lazy or incompetent or self-loathing. Being fat is supposed to block blessings and keep folks from achieving their dreams. And Sidibe’s sizable body just doesn’t jibe with what winning is “supposed to” look like, especially to people who are losing—and that’s what you are doing if you are one of the people typing mean things about her on your laptop or cellphone while she is being photographed at an event you will never attend.
Get over it. Sidibe already has.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of the upcoming book Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love.