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I’ll Say It: Gabourey Sidibe Is Too Fat

March 10, 2010

Howard Stern ignited a little fire the other day when he referred to actress Gabourey Sidibe as “enormous” and claimed she would never work in Hollywood again.

Wrong Howard.  Lest we forget, we’re talking about an Academy Award nominated actress- hell, even Cuba Gooding made more movies after his Oscar nod (much to our disappointment).

Sidibe is going to appear in a recurring role on Showtime’s upcoming series, The Big C. Sidibe will play a sass-talking student in central character Cathy’s class, a teacher suffering from terminal cancer, hence the title of the series.  Certainly the roles will continue to flood in for her.

It’s tempting to toss out everything Howard Stern says just because he’s Howard Stern, and while he is wrong about Sidibe’s professional prospects in the future, on his other, crass statement, he hit a solid nerve: Gabourey Sidibe is probably too large to call herself healthy.

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One doesn’t have to be skinny to be in shape or healthy, but let’s be real- Gabourey is obese, and for the most part Hollywood doesn’t care.  I’m not referring to the industries desire to redefine the appearance of women in film- they have no desire to do that.  What I mean is they don’t care that her weight will, eventually if not already, adversely affect her health.  They look at Sidibe and see dollar signs, nothing more.

I’m sure some will say that it’s totally mean and cruel of me to say that this young woman is fat, that she is obese, that her body is unhealthy.  After all we love Gabby, right?  We love her raw talent, we love her fearlessness in playing Precious Jones and in putting her real self out there for all of us to see.  She is a breath of fresh air.  She is a role model for girls that don’t fit the status quo.

She also needs to do something about her weight.  No, she doesn’t need to turn herself into a stick figure- but she does need to lose weight.

Severely obese persons are approximately 6 times as likely to develop heart disease as those who are normal-weighted. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States today, and obese persons tend to develop it earlier in life, and it shortens their lives- for African Americans it’s even worse.

Severe obesity damages the body by its mechanical, metabolic and physiological adverse effects on normal bodily function and affect nearly every organ in the body in some way, and produce serious secondary illnesses, which may also be life-threatening.

For her part, Sidibe is aware that she has a weight issue, and confided on Oprah months ago about her struggle to manage her weight from an early age.  Hopefully that means she is continuing to do the work necessary to give herself a healthy quality of life, because let’s face it, she’s just too big for her own health and well-being.

We can’t throw out that detail just because Howard “dumbass” Stern called her “enormous.”  We can’t rationally jump to her defense and say “there is nothing wrong with her body”, when the truth is, there is.

The effects of obesity don’t disappear just because we’re talking about a celebrity- Gabourey is a person, nothing more.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 10, 2010 7:48 pm

    I agree. This is a health issue, not an image or acceptance issue. She is clinically morbidly obese. There is a reason it is called morbid. Being overweight is one of the top two things one can do to guarantee increased risk of disease, complications, and premature death.

    It seems that all of society can unequivocally and publicly admit that smoking is unhealthy. However, the image, discrimination and acceptance issues surrounding weight prevent people from proclaiming the same about being fat.

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