The Gabby Sidibe debate solved, once and for all
A little while ago, I wrote about the mind-boggling treatment of actress Gabourey Sidibe in Hollywood. People think that she’s actually Precious. People just can’t wait to say that she’ll never work again. People really can’t wait to say that she’ll die soon because she’s got to be so unhealthy, and that once she loses weight she’ll be able to be successful (as if getting nominated for Best Actress for your first movie isn’t successful…. excuse me, I need to go have a drink).
People feel surprisingly strong about Sidibe. A friend of mine and I had been in an intense debate for over a week: I believe that Sidibe is a positive example to young girls in America. Because she is proud of her herself and her body, she is talented and successful despite looking so different than most of Hollywood, and she’s not afraid to say she’s awesome– “I love that I love myself,” she says, and I love that she loves herself too. Because not enough people know how to love themselves.
My friend, though, argued that since obesity is a serious health problem in our country, Sidibe’s unwavering pride in her body might not actually be a positive thing. Obesity is bad for your health, he argued, and for her to celebrate it is to send the wrong message– in fact, people who are obese should lose weight. He compared it to something like smoking or alcoholism, a health issue with social and biological factors but ultimately something an individual has some degree of control over. I disagreed with him. I said that to be big doesn’t necessarily mean to be unhealthy. That Sidibe eats healthy and exercises regularly. That our country is so fucked up when it comes to body image that someone like Sidibe, who teaches girls, women, anyone, to love themselves even when other people are saying you shouldn’t, is incredibly important.
Needless to say, the conversation got pretty heated, and it didn’t seem like there was any way to resolve it.
And then– something insane happened. I have no other way to describe it than some sort of Secular Divine Intervention. This friend of mine works in the movie business, and the other day, he got word that he was going to be working on a day-long project with Gabourey Sidibe. He went to the shoot, and he came back with the following news: She’s not that big. He was stunned. She’s big, he said, but not nearly the way everyone makes her out to be, and certainly not in a way that justifies Stern’s statement that she’ll die in 3 years. He said it’s a combination of the camera, which adds weight to everyone, and the context she’s in– on a red carpet full of abnormally tiny people, she certainly stands out. What’s more– there were a lot of other movie stars there too, leading lady/hottie types, and he said they were all so skinny it looked like they were on the verge of dying.
So there’s the switcheroo for you– in a room full of actresses, my friend thought Sidibe was the healthiest looking one, by far.
Sweet, sweet justice! There are, what, 300 million people in America? A whole bunch of them fall on one side or the other of this Sidibe controversy. And MY FRIEND, completely randomly, got to be proven wrong in REAL LIFE! What are the odds? Everywhere else in America, where people are having this argument, there is no way to settle it. The only way to settle it is to see Sidibe and a bunch of other movie stars in person, and, unfathomably, that happened to us. And I won!
I’m pretty excited. And my friend was too– even though he was wrong, he couldn’t wait to tell me. Howard Stern is a fuckhead, no question about it. And of course, the real winner here is Sidibe. And all the people who look up to her.