On the latest season of the TV show American Horror Story, titled Coven, plus size actress Gabourey Sidibe is front and center as Queenie, a young witch with the power of being a human voodoo doll. With veteran actresses Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Angela Bassett also on board this season, we were excited to see Gabby not only get a decent supporting role on the show but share the screen with other brilliant actresses that have paved the way for young actresses in Hollywood such as herself.
From the beginning of her career, Gabby has made no apologies about her size and she has never let negative comments or the pressures of Hollywood stop her from pursuing substantial roles on TV shows and films. She has also been very vocal on the importance of confidence and body acceptance. There’s no denying that she’s a brilliant actress with a great personality, who radiates that confidence whenever you see her. She once said:
“One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. I wear colors that I really like, I wear makeup that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see.”
This, of course, does not stop the negative comments and with the freedom of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, these comments and negativity keep coming.
This week’s episode of American Horror Story: Coven had a scene involving Gabby’s character Queenie performing a sexual act in front of a Minotaur. The scene caused such an uproar on Twitter that Bustle.com reported about it with an article titled, “‘AHS: Coven': Fans Fat-Shame Gabourey Sidibe On Twitter“. You would think that the comments stemmed from her engaging in a sexual act with a half man, half beast. But no… actually, people were not even talking about that. Instead, all the comments were about her size with many of them not even calling her by her real name or character name. Instead, they call her Precious, a role that she is well-known for.
The comments were not just negative. They were lewd, insulting and just terrible. And they were all centered on how disgusting it was to see her engaging in a sexual act because of her size. Here’s a few of the comments:
“Precious better run from that bull like she ran when she stole that chicken #AHSCoven #AHS”
Now we are sure that she was prepared for this type of reaction when she took this role. American Horror Story is a show that is known for its shock value. This is what keeps people watching. So for Gabby to get a role on the show, it was really placing her in a different role than we are used to seeing her in. The character of Queenie gives Gabby the opportunity to act in a role that is not just the typical funny girl or the good girl. Despite Hollywood and its attempts to typecast larger actresses in that typical funny or good girl role, Gabby is showing us that big girls can be more than funny. And big shocker… big girls have sex.
The comments on Twitter really show how much fat-shaming continues to thrive within our society. This paragraph from the Bustle.com article really sums it up:
It’s disgusting to see such blatant hate thrown at a woman whose only crime is not looking like most other women in Hollywood; it’s even worse to see so much of if coming from women on Twitter. But it’s nothing new. When AHS: Coven was creeping into its season, fans took to the brain dump box that is Twitter to express their surprise that Sidibe hadn’t bothered to lose weight to earn her spot on AHS while others simply proliferated unimaginative digs at her size, using hashtags like “#big” and “#scary” to describe her casting.
We should be celebrating the fact that a young African-American plus size woman is landing major roles on TV and in films despite not looking like other Hollywood actresses. But instead the emphasis is placed on her size in a negative light. For American Horror Story: Coven viewers who are disgusted with Gabby’s presence on the show, the answer is simple. Don’t watch.
Gabby said it best in the following quote:
“I learned to love myself, because I sleep with myself every night and I wake up with myself every morning, and if I don’t like myself, there’s no reason to even live the life.”
Well said, Gabby.
To check out the entire Bustle.com article, click here.
To check out Gabourey Sidibe on Twitter, click here.