There’s A Priceless Lesson In Gabourey Sidibe’s Speech On Fat-Shaming

Sameera Ehteram
There’s much to be learned from Gabourey Sidibe’s amazingly witty speech on inner beauty at Ms. Foundation’s Women's Gloria Awards and Gala, which celebrated the 80th birthday of the great feminist Gloria Steinem.

Gabourey Sidibe

Sidibe's long but wonderful speech touched upon confidence, feminism and fat shaming.

Everyone needs to hear her words and for those who didn’t, here’s a glimpse:

“One of the first things people usually ask me is, "Gabourey, how are you so confident?" I hate that. 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?" She started off by saying.

“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 pitcher 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,” Sidibe added.

Gabourey Sidibe

How does she handle it? Well, very simply. “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.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!”

Her words are indeed moving, but the sad reality is that fat shaming and judgmental people are nothing new and nor are they going away anytime soon.

Gabourey Sidibe


Gabourey Sidibe

What is fortunate though is that more and more people are raising their voices against discrimination and bullying.

Gabourey Sidibe

Just last month, Lindsey Averill got rape and death threats because she announced her intention of making a documentary on body images. Averill expected negative feedback on her film called 'Fattitude,' but she definitely didn’t expect it to be so venomous. Despite the fact that this is becoming the norm, she refuses to budge.

In March, an open letter did the rounds on the internet. It was the result of another such incident:

The writer of  the mail above saw a man whisper something to a woman on the subway as he was getting off the train, leaving her in tears. Upon inquiry, she learned what he said. "Have some respect for yourself and lose some weight."

Check Out: Target’s Brutal Photoshop Reveals Unrealistic Beauty Ideals

The man was long gone but the Samaritan didn’t let it go and penned the amazing open letter to the fat-shamer and made it go viral, - turning the tables on the man.

Another Example: ‘Fat Letters’ To Massachusetts’ Obese Children Cause Concern In Parents

The lesson is simple. Lead a healthy life, strive to be better every single day, but do not, under any circumstances, be ashamed of your identity or appearance. More than anything, never let people’s negative feedback or criticism drag you down.

Everyone is beautiful in their own way. If it was up to the never-happy-and-ever-putting-their-nose-where-its-not-needed people; they would just make life miserable for everyone.

Let’s face it, you can’t satisfy people who think Godzilla is too fat.