When Gabourey Sidibe first began garnering attention for her outstanding turn in 2009′s Oscar-nominated “Precious,” she surprised a lot of people — mostly people who had a hard time differentiating her from the deeply tragic but profoundly brave character she played in the film — by giving a series of warm, hilarious, and impossibly charming interviews in which the young woman who seemed to be custom-built for people to make erroneous assumptions about showed herself to be brilliantly likable.

Sidibe is a woman with an imposing presence, and not just because her personality lights up any stage she steps on — she is also fat. She is fat not in the Hollywood sense, not in the way that people call Christina Hendricks fat. She is fat in a real-world sense; she is fat like I am fat. She is, indeed, probably the celebrity with a body shape more like my own than any other celebrity I’ve ever seen. In my whole life.

And when Sidibe started appearing in magazines as a result of her much-lauded performance, I was elated. Her photos (and cover!) in V Magazine’s 2010 Spring Preview issue were gorgeous and filled with personality.

image

Gabourey Sidibe in V Magazine no. 63.

But the good feelings couldn’t last forever. Her October 2010 cover of Elle magazine — one of a series of four highlighting young actresses — was heavily criticized when many folks suggested it looked like her skin had been lightened in post-processing, and also because Sidibe’s cover had her in close-up, while the other covers showed their subjects’ bodies (Ebony, on the other hand, put her full-length on their March 2010 cover, and so far as I know remains the only magazine to do so).

The difference between the Elle covers was stark, and the reaction vehement, and it really threw a spotlight on how inclusivity isn’t something lots of people in women’s or fashion media know how to do properly.

This week, Sidibe was revealed to be included in a fashion editorial for Harper’s Bazaar’s September issue. The theme is “Singular Beauties,” subtitled “An homage to the diversity of women,” and the shoot was styled by Carine Roitfeld and shot by Karl Lagerfeld, both massive luminaries of fashion. The aforementioned “diversity” is subtle, but then hey, it’s fashion, and even subtle movements are something, right?

Maybe. Maybe not. Because when you flip through image after image of immaculately and meticulously constructed images of women who are indeed beautiful, you will eventually come to Gabourey Sidibe’s entry, and she doesn’t look like the rest.

image

Gabby’s portrayal in the Harper’s Bazaar “Singular Beauties” editorial, forthcoming in the September issue.

Where the other images are lush with detail, Sidibe’s almost seems like an afterthought. How hard did they try to find clothes to fit her? Did they really just give up and put her in dark leggings and a black t-shirt? Did they really put her in a jacket that might not even fit her (as pointed out by our own Marianne to me when we discussed this on the phone last night), as it sure seems like she’s only got one arm in that thing? And did they really throw a scarf over her head for lack of any other visual interest?

I mean, Sidibe still manages to look like herself, which is itself a testament to her indomitable personality. But while I can’t claim any inside knowledge as to how this image was conceived, it sure looks like they called Sidibe in without having given a single thought to the fact that nothing in the Harper’s Bazaar fashion closet was going to fit her, and thus they had to improvise.

And that — if the perception is true — is pretty insulting.

Still, her image does highlight why she has likely been included. Physically, Sidibe provides a stark contrast to what we are accustomed to seeing in the fashion world, and sometimes the fashion world loves nothing more than to do something totally unexpected in the most dramatic method possible. So while employing a more realistic variety of models in print campaigns and runway shows is often anathema — who wants more REALITY in their fantasy, anyway? — bringing out a woman like Sidibe is shocking in all the most appealing ways.

And she does stand out. Sidibe, with her impressive size, dark skin, and unyielding confidence (both in how she carries herself physically, as well as in her numerous interviews) is utterly astonishing to behold amongst a universe in which it seems only unusually slender and mostly white women get to be the brightest stars. In a 2010 interview, also in Harper’s Bazaar,Sidibe talked about the experience of being photographed.

[...] She adores photo shoots. “I feel like a model. It justifies everyone in my life who told me I wouldn’t be anything until I lost weight. It justifies that little girl who cried because she didn’t think she could be in front of the camera. And it’s for other girls who feel like they can’t do this or that and feel like they’re not pretty and not worthy of having their photo taken.”

This is a perception millions of girls grow up with. Some of them will internalize these limitations of what counts as beautiful — or rather, what counts as worth looking at — and spend a lifetime trying to reach a necessarily unreachable aspirational goal. Other girls, girls like Gabby Sidibe, or me, will see those narrow standards and realize that their appearance is so far outside cultural expectations that to even dream of being held up as any sort of socially-valued beauty, singular or otherwise, is folly.

Fashion photography is fantasy, yes. It’s not supposed to be real. It’s meant to show us a world that doesn’t exist. And yet, it has an effect on us. Both in terms of what we see, and what we don’t see. It has an effect on our culture, and it has an effect on who we value, and what types of people we deem worthy of being seen. Just because something is a fantasy does not mean it cannot touch us, or influence our perceptions of ourselves, and other people.

Nicolette Mason, a fashion writer herself, had a strong reaction to Sidibe’s portrayal in this series of photographs, which she blogged about yesterday. Ultimately she lands on a critical question:

I wonder if it would have been better to leave off Gabourey entirely, rather than include a half-assed attempt at styling when the other looks are so solid. In a story like this, the looks should be consistently thought out, manicured, inspired, and even aspirational… Would it have been better if Carine and Harper’s Bazaar didn’t broach the “challenge” of a full-figured woman at all? Would we then be screaming at the lack of body diversity? Or is it better that they tried (well, sort of) but did nothing impressive with their immense opportunity to wow their audience?

Is it better to try and fail? Or is this really trying at all? For my part, I think that it’s likely Sidibe was included because she provides the most dramatic contrast to the fashion-model standard. This is a problem for me because most egregiously, it disregards her as a person, reducing her to a counterpoint, and it fails to identify her as an individual representing her own form of beauty. Which should have been the point.

So while I appreciate that the intentions here may have been nothing but good, the execution does little except to highlight how spectacularly such efforts can fail when they don’t take into account that because women who look like Gabby aren’t often included in fashion, making space for them — for us — has to be about more than just dropping in a cursory tribute. In leggings. And a black T-shirt.

We need more Gabourey Sidibes. We need to see them, and to recognize the effect it has on us when we don’t, when they are made invisible. The truth is that there are thousands upon thousands of women who look like Gabourey Sidibe currently existing every day, going about their lives, their jobs, their relationships — women who never get to see anyone who looks remotely like them in the pages of a fashion magazine, women who are therefore subject to the assumptions of culture and of individuals, even subconsciously, that they are less valuable people for it.

And now, when they do get that chance, they are just reminded of how completely out of place they are among the narrow beauty standards that dominate the media women are told to aspire to. It’s not helpful, and in this case, it may actually hurt.

XOJane

This post originally appeared on XOJane. Republished with permission. Click here for more
Lesley on XOJane!

  • Misha

    They clearly put no effort into styling her, this looks a mess. Their verison of inclusivity failed.

    And they know they need to give Aladdin his magic carpet back…

  • seriously?

    To answer the question a painful feeble attempt ><

  • http://gravatar.com/jadenoellesblog JN

    Simply put, I think that certain things just don’t fit our idea of beautiful, and seeing such things presented to us as such is an uncomfortable discrepancy. If an overweight person is on a cover, he or she has to be in the process of losing weight, or selling a product like a movie. It’s even more uncomfortable that she is okay with her size.

  • Mo

    Yes. It looks lazy and tacky. While I will admit everyone in the spread looked like they were playing dress up at the thrift store, at least they were wearing flattering, designer idetified items. Gabby just looks a mess. I feel like they also missed a chance to highlight a plus sized designer…

  • Deb

    Only that first picture is decent. Knowing Gabby’s personality it suits her. She seems like a sweetheart but I wish she’d sort of wise up. I remember she showed up to Jimmy Kimmel’s wedding in a white wedding dress as a prank. Everyone was laughing there. But, what and who was the punchline of the joke?

    Oh and Lagerfield had a hand in this? The guy practically throws up when he talks about overweight people. I can’t even imagine how much he hated himself when he was overweight. Vain loser.

  • Entro

    I understand what the article is saying but when will we as humans realize that humans come in all shapes and colors and other differences and beauty is all subjective.In some cultures fat is attractive in others it’s not.There are many different examples of different standards of beauty why can’t we just let people be?

  • SayWhat

    I looked though the shoot, and the white plus side model looked beautiful so finding plus size clothes must not have been that hard. Gabrielle looked a hot mess, everything from the background, to that rug they threw on top of her head. I personally would rather not be asked if you are not going to treat me with the same respect as the others, but that is just me.

  • http://starstruckpress.com Jeremy Nowell

    This photo-shoot is just plain….Offensive…As a plus sized woman of color, I’m glad she was included, but come on they would have never done Adele like this…she should fire her management because this should have never been allowed. Point. Blank. Period!

  • ruggie

    Sloppily done. One of these days, somebody’s gonna photograph Gabby right. Today was not that day.

  • RaiseTheBar

    The entertainment industry is fickle, so this photo may help to keep Gabby in the forefront for her next big career opportunity.

    I remember the group photo of black women in the entertainment industry with jada smith to the far left and Gabby was to the extreme right and partially out of the photo (sorry, I don’t remember the publication). imho, Gabby should have been placed in the center of the photo with the other women around her. I was left feeling she had been slighted; she wasn’t fully embraced as being part of the group.

    Gabby seems to know how to take any opportunity, run with it and take it to its HIGHEST height.

    You go Gabby, keep givin’ it your MOST and BEST!

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables……

  • AHotMess

    She looked great. Give her a break. If only we could walk in her shoes.

  • Hollywood

    Why would we want to walk in her shoes? Her shoes probably lean to the side when she walks. Mine don’t.

  • Eye Candy

    While Adele is a big woman, she certainly isn’t as big as Gabourey Sidibe. Adele is about a size 12 which is actually the average size for a woman in the U.S so more clothes may be readily available to her.
    Gabourey is clearly larger than that and it is always harder to find something flattering for women of her size in addition to having very little options. We even see it in everyday life, how many plus size clothing stores do we see in our nearest malls? Maybe 1…if any.

  • chacha

    While size might limit the options for clothing, they still could have done better. I feel like she was slighted. I could have done better than that.

  • felice

    Weight Watchers….She could be the next Jennifer Hudson. She would look so pretty.

  • Southpaw

    This is another example of how dark skin black women are promoted in white media.

  • Southpaw

    This is what happens when you are so thirsty for validation for another racial group.

  • Tina

    I see plus sized women on my FB feed everyday who carry themselves better than this. If my mom saw her top and pants, she would say it’s time to cut those up for rags. She has to get a sense of style and demand better when she’s being photographed and making appearances.

  • Anon

    When I see a slim, sexually attractive black woman in an alluring pose and as a desirable partner… THAT’S when I will consider using the word “inclusion”. Otherwise, girlfriend looks like a white college kid’s hipster photo-shot of a baby-mama “appropriating” other cultures in an attempt to show how “street-life” is being appropriated by white folks for an end of semester project.

  • Anon

    All of the black women in the world and THIS is who they pick to highlight as “black women”. I see some folks on here need to recognize shade before “magazines” have planted a forest around you.

  • Anon

    People aren’t “letting this be” b/c the MAIN images of black women are unattractive. That’s why. I look NOTHING like this woman. And the only black women that I DO know who look like this woman are above 40 with children and a cheating husband (or baby daddy who hasn’t been seen since 1993). Folks don’t get this big w/out reasons. She’s under 30. She’s being put out there as a face of YOUTHFUL black women who are movie stars. Uh, I don’t see white women upset about thin white women being seen as attractive unless they’re over 30 or vastly overweight for their age.

    NO. I REBUKE this being called some fashion spread instead of the media pushing that all younger black women are morbidly obese and willing to be the PUNCH LINE OF A JOKE at someone else’s wedding. Can some of ya’ll catch a clue? Why was the joke funny?

  • Anon

    I laughed.

  • Kay

    That picture looks like someone just threw something together. It’s such a backhanded way of saying “You don’t belong here.” I am sure there were clothes they could have gotten and interesting pieces she could have posed with. They just didn’t WANT to do it.

  • Ms. Vee

    …Sorry but I’m tired of black women being represented as mammy-esque. This is no different then the ole Miss homecoming queen stunt. White people are putting her and other black women like her on a pedestal so that they can laugh at her. Ladies if you really want black women to be represented on a more desirable level the Gabourey Sidibes of the world won’t do. No other race of woman is constantly represented by the fattest of their group. Get upset with the truth but it is what it is.

  • Misha

    I think Gabby is actually really pretty, the team of stylist who put this together are the ones at fault.

  • mammycomplexes

    Right, out of of ALL the black women in the world, they keep shoving a nearly 400 pound black girl down out throat as if this is representing us. Most black women I know are curvy, brown to dark, gorgeous and on point. These magazine would NEVER give these women the time of day but they always find a 10 page spread for Gabby adn if we don’t like it then we must be self hating. When will she learn she is the butt of the joke? WHy are we ok with these images when these magazines cannot bother to get every day black women in their mags? I don’t know ANY black women who are this large. Sorry, I just don’t. Why should we be ok with a morbidly obese under 30 woman representing “us”? Get out of here with that.

  • mammycomplexes

    This this this and this! You are on the money all over the place! Mwuah!

  • Entro

    @anon my comment was simply that beauty is subjective and humans should be able to accept each other and respect each other no matter how they look.what may be attractive in one culture may not be in another.example:the trend right now in some Asian cultures the trend is to have what we consider puffiness under their eyes,here in the U.S. women are trying everything possible to get rid of those”bags”under their eyes.
    My comment was not to endorse what the medias intentions were in how gabby was dressed .I simply was advocating for acceptance of people based on who they are inside and not outward appearance.Every-one has the right to be who they are regardless of how others think they should be and that’s what I meant when I said “let people be “”

  • Deal-n-Truth

    Gabourey is only representing herself and she is not the spokeswoman for black women, so you need to lose that ideology and your “Mammy Complex.”

  • Nkem

    Really?

    Ashley Stewart
    Lane Bryant
    Avenue
    Torrid
    Monif C

    All these would have been great choices
    It’s not high fashion but wayyyy much better than what she has on in this picture.

    Harper’s Bazaar tried it.

  • kgo

    Oh my gosh. If they weren’t promoting dark skinned black women, we would be complaining about that. Complaining about how they only promote light skinned or nearly white black women. Can’t make everybody happy.

    Gabby’s PR Team probably campaigned for her to get this spread, to promote her and keep her image out there. Harper’s Bazaar often features eccentric fashions on women. That, plus her size, is probably what prompted them to use those type of clothes on her.

  • Oh ok

    Definitely agree. We will probably be thumbed down for “expecting perfection” from our stars. I am not okay with it. White men get portrayed as desirable in movies (Superman/Iron Man) White women get portrayed as desirable in movies(Superman/Iron Man), and black men get portrayed as desirable in movies(I Robot/Pacific Rim), but we’re supposed to be happy with constantly being portrayed as overweight and unattractive(Precious/The Help). I am glad there are black women out there who agree with me that Gabby and Monique being the face of black women is not good.

    And Gabby? Is she doing a movie that I don’t know about? What about Kerry Washington or Gabrielle Union?

    “We need more Gabourey Sidibes. We need to see them, and to recognize the effect it has on us when we don’t, when they are made invisible”

    No. We don’t need Gabby Sidibies. I understand what you are saying, but why can’t Melissa McCarthy represent these women? So they can skip over all the slender attractive black women in Hollywood to show Gabby Sidibies, and no one sees this as a problem. Why is it that the overweight woman is always black when we only make up 12% of the population and like 60 something percent of white women are overweight? So Shemar Moore and friends are going to skip over the Keke Palmers and Tika Sumters for roles and the only representation we will have is Gabby.

  • Perspective

    This woman embodies everything that whites MOCK about black women, and its amazing at how it has taken so LONG for black women to recognize just how much of a back handed dis this woman is to all black women.

    You can BARELY find a fresh face black girl that people swoon over in the media, and then when whites want to present their representation of a black woman – THEY PRESENT THIS!

    smdh.

  • SayWhat

    What makes you think she is OK with her size? Remember when Monique was OK with her size? Then she lost it admitted that that was false bravado.

  • MimiLuvs

    I’m sorry for saying this… Well, not really.

    Reading the comments, all I am thinking is “Here we go again… Looking for a “positive” representative to parade in front of the white people…”

  • PrincessDi

    Adele is not a size 12.

  • Oh ok

    We should looking for positive representations to parade for OURSELVES! I have no idea why when a black person wants to see positive black imagery and representation people come out talking about how we are trying to appeal to massa. It’s silly. As someone else said, what other group of people is represented by obese women? Tika Sumter got letters from black girls thanking her for existing because so often Gabby is the only representation of darker black women. How many fit, beautiful, well spoken, nice, and feminine black (especially dark skinned) black female characters have been in movies in the past five years with a leading or even significant female role? You don’t see the problem with this?

    It’s funny how other groups depict themselves as attractive and desirable and powerful the majority of the time but we are okay with being portrayed as weak, powerless, needing a white savior, and obese and unattractive. And you think the desire to have representation that is attractive and desirable and powerful is because we want to look good to white people. How sad.

    Other groups of people know what time it is and that includes black men. Jamie Fox was in a pretty big movie this summer as the president. Idris Elba was in Pacific Rim. Don Cheadle in Iron Man. These men are all fit. They were in masculine roles. Let me not even mention the countless Will Smith and Denzel Washington movies where they were not overweight, kicking butt, solving crimes, and saving the day (many times with fit and attractive non-black women). As I said, I’m glad to see there are black women on this article who can also see what time it is, but I think we are sadly in the minority.

  • Diane

    That’s because attractive black women are a threat. It challenges any white woman who thinks their beauty is superior simply because of their whiteness. As soon as we start to “smell ourselves” that’s when they get nervous. I am admittedly attractive have been asked to model on numerous occasions. I noticed that when I’m out with my white girl friends they get quiet or uncomfortable when another guy singles me to out to ask me out or compliment me. It’s hilarious.

  • Abby

    Because they know if they put dark skin black women like Teyonah Parris,Taylour Paige and Danai Gurira in the media they will blow all the white females out the water. They don’t want competition for white females and they want to brain wash people to believe that only white or light skin women are beautiful.

  • mEE

    this makes me so uncomfortable. I’m going to have to do some soul searching to figure out why.

  • http://gravatar.com/petrona1 petrona1

    Damn! Nobody can win for trying, can they? I went through all the photos expecting something hideous from the reaction. What I found was tasteful and not that varied from the other photos in the collection. But hey, when you go looking for faults, it is always easy to find them. And ftr, it makes me uncomfortable that so many women here would rather some gorgeous black beauty grace that page, than someone with a realistic body frame. And this is coming from someone who wears a size 4.

  • D

    A very weak, feeble attempt at being inclusive. If super-obese fat is so beautiful then it can be displayed the same way as any other body. But it won’t. For all their patronizing, you’ll never see her on the cover of anything half nude with rolls hanging everywhere or in a bikini the way you will Kerry Washington.

  • Ms. Write

    I hate that jacket though….lol

  • Diane

    Please, preach!
    Like I said earlier white run magazines ran by white woman sweat more than whores in church when they come across attractive put together black woman. I’ve witnessed this it literally rocks their world. I think it helps their own self-esteem when we as a whole are representative by overweight, unloved, (add any other negative adjective here) black woman. I’m surprised no one seems to wise up to this.

  • http://gravatar.com/beejcee beejcee

    @ petrona 1 – Realistic body frame?

  • GlowBelle

    Well…Gabourey did greenlight this, didn’t she? I mean was she forced to do this? Did the money do the talking? If she thought the way we all seem to think, that she looks horrible, why did she allow herself to look like this? She has some sort of clout to demand better for herself. She probably thinks she looks great and Gabourey has acted like that in public — like she doesn’t give a sh*t and did we forget about the large ego she has? I swore their was backlash towards her ego at one point, plus that quote tells it all. While I think it looks like she threw a damn magic carpet on her head and that the outfit and whole look is drab and does a disservice to her, I think back to the times where I’ve seen Gabourey and how she had that silly blonde wig on during the Oscars two years ago, how she dresses not for her figure, and I think that’s probably HER doing that, and well, maybe she needs new people to dress her, consult her. I’ve seen Octavia Spencer, Jill Scott, and Queen Latifah dressed fantastically for their sizes, but that may come down to them possessing taste or decent people dressing them correctly, things Gabourey might not possess.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kelley.johnson.75436 Kelley Johnson

    Oh, please. The woman is the size of a baby whale! There’s nothing you can put her in to make her love glamorous and high fashion, and that is exactly the point! When they start putting white women in magazines who are so obese that they can’t even fit a pair of shoes properly, then I’ll cape for Gabby. Until then, I recognize this shade. All those beautiful black women in Hollywood and yet they can’t get put in these “high fashion” magazines. But it seems there’s ALWAYS room for Gabby. The fashion industry just loooooves Gabby but they don’t give Melissa McCarthy, who’s large but nowhere near as big and unhealthy looking as Gabby, the same kind of coverage. Gee, I wonder why?

    Gabby is used by the white fashion and entertainment industry as a representation of what they really wished all black women look like. I’m not here for it.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kelley.johnson.75436 Kelley Johnson

    Yes, indeed!

    You need to drop the mic. Like, for real.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kelley.johnson.75436 Kelley Johnson

    Sigh. Jesus.

  • Merersu

    Karl Lagerfield is known to loathe fat people, so I’m not even remotely surprised that he would represent Gabby in this manner. I’m nearly certain he shot her, laughing the whole time because he knew how unflattering the styling was. He’s a hateful, pathetic little man and I feel sorry for Gabby to have to have been in his presence.

  • mammycomplexes

    I am talking about the magazine and white media. They love this type of black woman. Ask yourself why? I have no mammy complex but I sure know Hollywood loves itself fat black women. Ask yourself why. Oh and yes, Gabby is obese. When you have to sit on a special chair at the Oscars then you have an obesity problem. Come on.

  • rey

    Why did she allow this and didn’t say I think this is a bad idea?? Trusting yourself and not putting that trust in some1 elses hand for thr world to see is true courage.

  • I know lots of black women who look like Gabby–and what?

    The article is called “Singular Beauties,” not Beauties Who Represent Their Race. Gabby is a talented actress but because she is overweight EVERY time she’s pictured there’s an outpouring of negativity about her appearance as though she should disappear unless she can be pleasing to a particular eye. To some (including me), she is already beautiful, even in goofy photos. Who cares if she’s overweight? Why is that so insulting to so many people? Maybe she herself doesn’t take these fashion spreads seriously, and is totally okay with being silly in them. Who knows?

    But given that the majority of black women in this country are obese, I shudder to think how they are treated by commenters like you when they encounter them face-to-face. They deserve to exist, they have the right to look however they choose to look, and they deserve as much respect as anyone else. Weight isn’t a crime.

  • Stop hating on this woman

    Are you people serious? Kerry Washington has been all over EVERYTHING this year–including the cover of Vanity Fair–Beyonce and Rihanna have had multiple Vogue covers and spreads, just to name 3 who are constantly in the mainstream media, but ONE photo of Gabby Sidibe and y’all in a race-baiting tizzy? This poor woman can’t win for losing. It’s clear that her very existence is unacceptable to you. The real problem lies with all you people crying “mammy” and “welfare” and all the other things being projected onto this actress.

  • morl

    would you date her?

  • Anon

    “Weight isn’t a crime”.

    Girl WHAT? I saw what happened when I changed insurance and when I asked about the premiums, I was told that a part of the jump in cost was WEIGHT. So YES, I consider morbidly obese people who aren’t working on it to be a CRIME b/c it is LITERALLY costing me money out of my pocket book. Cancer, injuries, whatever, life happens but to be THAT BIG ain’t something that you can’t adjust.

    And while (unfortunately) the majority of black women in the country are overweight… WHY WE GOTTA MAKE THAT THE NEW STANDARD? That is some NEW ish. Look at videos, family pictures from the early 90′s and before. Black women weren’t that fat. This new “fat acceptance” has been brought on by a breakdown of families and the onset of stress eating. And let me stress, ALL black women aren’t overweight. You set population controls for education, salary, region, and most importantly AGE, the vast majority of black women 30 and under are going to be ~ size 8 and under. Real talk. Cut away below poverty levels of living and the MAJORITY of younger black women (esp. educated) are ~8 and under. Looking at teens, I would say 6 and under.

    This chick is NOT the average younger black woman in this country and “I” refuse to let her be my public face without comment.

  • http://gravatar.com/keimia Kam

    Hmm, what’s interesting is that there were a fair number of minorities including biracial and multiracial Black women, but the only other dark skinned Black woman, Angel Haze, was also dressed pretty horribly. Just plain with no character. Disappointing.

  • Jessica

    She is not fat. She is not obese. She is grotesque. She is walking early death. Trying to make her image acceptable for African American girls, is unacceptable. Where is her white counterpart? There is none. They would not do a layout of a white woman who looks like her. There is an unspoken rule in show business that demands that the image of black women not compete with white women as the apex of beauty. They do everything they can to undermine the glamorous black woman. Because they refuse to promote the concept that black women are as beautiful as black women. They also separate the image of black male stars from that of black women, because they refuse to promote love, romance and marriage among black men in the same manner that they do for white men. Which delivers the unspoken message that black men don’t want black women.

    Would young black men be attracted this girl? Does her image promote pride among young black men. By putting forth her image in an upscale fashion magazine, what would be the impact on the African American self-image, and the attitudes of the rest of the world towards the image of black women in general? There is an agenda being enacted here.

  • Mama Sunshine

    I hope that Gabby is seriously doing something about her weight for the sake of her health. Not saying she needs to be a size 2, but she could stand to slim down some. I get the feeling she allows and accepts herself as comic relief, though. I won’t comment on the photo shoot….

  • Sepiastar

    And yet, I’m positively sure we’re not reading ANYTHING about you in ANY NATIONAL publication.

  • http://www.gallimaufry.ws T.

    Trying to make her image acceptable for African American girls, is unacceptable. Where is her white counterpart? There is none.

    (White) musician Beth Ditto is a big woman too, and she was quite the fashion industry darling a couple of years back, appearing in editorials and on the covers of magazines. She was in Vogue, she was a MAC spokeswoman for a while, she walked the runway for Paris Fashion Week (for Gaultier, I think). And she was often glamourised much much more that Gabby Sidibe is.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kelley.johnson.75436 Kelley Johnson

    And as obese as Beth Ditto is, she’s about half the size of Gabby. And Beth’s shoes actually fit.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    I avoided commenting on this because I knew most of the comments would be not about the photo but about her weight and how she need to lose with and blah blah blah. A bunch of comments from people who don’t truly care about her health but care about her imagine and how uncomfortbale her body looks to them. They want her to fit the mold that they deemed attractive so they call her names and talk about. Be
    Why should being an overweight woman make you an automatic stereotype?
    I just love Gabby because no matter what people say she keeps a smile on her face and has a beautiful personality, better than most people. The clothes for her could have been better. People don’t have to be so nasty to her about her weight and compare her to an animal. The things people say about fat people like we are subhuman.

  • donnadara

    Just because she doesn’t fit your idea of beauty is no reason to demean her. Grotesque? I’ve seen quite a few women, black and white, walking down the street who are her size. Can’t she be glamorous? And there are men who love obese women. Gabby should not have to hide herself because you don’t like how she looks. And I guess Halle Berry doesn’t exist and no one thinks she’s beautiful.

  • donnadara

    As far as I can recall, Monique said she lost weight for health issues. I am on a low-fat diet right now for health reasons also, not because I don’t like my size 16 self.

  • donnadara

    I don’t know what people you see. Poor people don’t count? The average American woman is size 14. And the black men that I know prefer their women with some meat on their bones, not size 8 and under. Maybe size 10 and up. Do you not see all these women trying to enlarge their behinds? I think you are denying reality.

  • Lya

    She did a good job as Precious but she will have to lose that weight. I am trying now also because of health reasons. It catches up to you after a while especially after you have a child. It would be a shame to die because of food. They could have found her something better to wear. She is fairly new to the business. She may not have felt comfortable saying no I am not wearing this hot mess of an outfit. It happens even to the new actresses.

  • Kim Ramsay

    I must say, that I am a bit confused as to why this grown woman agreed to this. I know in the past, she has an ego and personality that thinks this is ok. So I also feel that she gave the green light for this to be printed. Whether she is siking herself out or truly believes her image is fine, she may be a lovely person, but represents an unhealthy lifestyle.

    This isnt a race issue, because we have plenty of african american woman in magazines and on covers (beyonce, halle berry, kerry washington, queen latifah, oprah,kelly rowland and that is just naming a few). This is definately about bad taste and allowing people to define you. I believe she could have easily said, “this isnt going to work”, but she didnt. And none of us can question why, because who knows what is going through her mind.

    As woman of color, we need to do better. We need to get healthier, love ourselves a little more, stand up for ourselves, and set boundaries.

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