“I hate that [being asked about the source of her confidence] I always wonder if that’s the first thing they ask Rihanna when they meet her. ‘RiRi! How are you so confident?’ Nope. No. No. But me? They ask me with that same incredulous disbelief every single time. ‘You seem so confident! How is that?'”
“Gabourey, how are you so confident?” It’s not easy. It’s hard to get dressed up for award shows and red carpets when I know I will be made fun of because of my weight. There’s always a big chance if I wear purple, I will be compared to Barney. If I wear white, a frozen turkey. And if I wear red, that picture of Kool-Aid that says, “Oh, yeah!” Twitter will blow up with nasty comments about how the recent earthquake was caused by me running to a hot dog cart or something. And “Diet or Die?” [She gives the finger to that] This is what I deal with every time I put on a dress. This is what I deal with every time someone takes a picture of me. Sometimes when I’m being interviewed by a fashion reporter, I can see it in her eyes, “How is she getting away with this? Why is she so confident? How does she deal with that body? Oh my God, I’m going to catch fat!”
How are you so confident?” “I’m an asshole!” Okay? It’s my good time, and my good life, despite what you think of me. I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. I show up because I’m an asshole, and I want to have a good time. And my mother and my father love me. They wanted the best life for me, and they didn’t know how to verbalize it. And I get it. I really do. They were better parents to me than they had themselves. I’m grateful to them, and to my fifth grade class, because if they hadn’t made me cry, I wouldn’t be able to cry on cue now. [Dabs tears] If I hadn’t been told I was garbage, I wouldn’t have learned how to show people I’m talented. And if everyone had always laughed at my jokes, I wouldn’t have figured out how to be so funny. If they hadn’t told me I was ugly, I never would have searched for my beauty. And if they hadn’t tried to break me down, I wouldn’t know that I’m unbreakable. [Dabs tears] So when you ask me how I’m so confident, I know what you’re really asking me: how could someone like me be confident? Go ask Rihanna, asshole!
In addition to desperately wanting a “Go ask Rihanna, asshole” t-shirt, I cried and cheered when I read the speech. I’m also struck at how much this shouldn’t have happened. She shouldn’t have had to learn skills as a response to stigma, bullying and oppression. I’m happy that she made the best of a bad situation but let’s make sure that we call bullshit on anyone who is suggesting that the confident, talented, fat woman ends justify the bullying means.
Discussions about how difficult it must be to live in a fat body are often really about talking about how difficult it is to live in a world where you are subjected to tons of stigma, bullying and oppression because you live in a fat body. I’ve certainly suffered because I’m obese, but not because of my obesity.
Then I made the greatest of all internet mistakes – I read the comments (feel free to skip the indented parts to save your rage points)
She doesn’t have to lose a truckload. I just want her to take care of herself physically as well as she does emotionally. ~Shannon N
Gabby I can admire you for having the ability to have self-confidence about who you are but from someone who has had a weight problem please try to get some of that weight off. ~Adrienne
At such a young age age, this girls life expectancy I threatened by high bloodpressure,stroke,diabetes,and heart disease. She needs help. ~Scot Solomon
This is textbook concern trolling. The idea that a fat person needs medical advice from random strangers no matter how non sequitur a discussion of our health might be, or how unqualified the commenter is to give such advice. It doesn’t matter what the fat person is talking about, or what they’ve accomplished to get in the news, random people will feel the need to dole out health judgment and advice in the comments. I don’t know how I’ve not become desensitized, but I’m still shocked at the over-exaggerated sense of self-importance that could lead to someone typing these things. Or the unmitigated prejudice that allows people to believe that they they can look at somebody’s body size and know how much they “take care of themselves.” I think that these people are running on prejudice over facts but even if they were right, Gabourey Sidibe is in the news for giving an amazing speech, why does that make strangers think that they should chime in about her health?
It seems that fat people aren’t allowed to succeed at anything, except weight loss, without being concern trolled about our health. Sadly we can’t stop the bullshit fairy from posting in every comment section, but we can see this for what it is – Pure unadulterated bullshit. I don’t think for a minute that this is about our health – I think it’s about people wanting to feel powerful and using fat people to do that. To paraphrase Marilyn Wann, the only thing you can tell from someone’s body size is what size they are and what preconceived notions, stereotypes and prejudice you have about people that size. Similarly, the only thing that you can tell from a concern trolling comment, is that the commenter is a concern troll.
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