Regardless of whether they loved or hated her choice of dress, no one had the right to criticize Gabby Sidibe's shape or call her cruel names. We're surprised that so many people failed to learn that lesson back in kindergarten.

Photo Courtesy of Fab Magazine Online

red carpet revelations: the harsh realities the Golden Globes revealed about how women treat each other

It’s a tale as old as time that the media and movie industries have led countless Hollywood starlets and the fans who admire them to pursue dangerous fad diets and seek drastic measures in order to conform to a mold that just doesn’t mirror reality.  However, the tides may be shifting within the world of entertainment, as actresses with real curves are beginning to snatch up coveted roles based on their talents rather than their waistlines. Meanwhile, reactions to Hollywood starlets’ appearances at the recent Golden Globe Awards indicate that our culture’s perception of body image may be taking a troubling turn in other areas.

It was encouraging to see that the notoriously critical fashion section of The LA Times included healthy mommies-to-be Drew Barrymore, Kerry Washington, and Olivia Wilde on their list of best dressed stars at the big show. And even though curvy actresses like Lena Dunham and Gabby Sidibe did end up on lists of the worst dressed stars in several tabloids, the majority of columnists (including the infamously snarky Perez Hilton) tactfully criticized the actual garments these ladies were wearing rather than their figures. We also appreciated the fact that the press finally refrained from critiquing “it girl” Jennifer Lawrence’s body, which has ironically been deemed in the past as voluptuous when she couldn’t possibly be larger than a size six. We may not be back to the healthy mindset that the Hollywood press possessed during an age when the truly curvy Marilyn Monroe was considered to be just as sexy as ultra-thin stars like Lauren Bacall or Grace Kelly, but it seems that progress is being made.

We were pleased to read the reactions of the press to these glowing future mamas' gowns, but the ignorance displayed on so many chat forums and social media threads shocked us. Photo Courtesy of US Magazine

We were pleased to read the reactions of the press to these glowing future mamas’ gowns, but the ignorance displayed on so many chat forums and social media threads shocked us.
Photo Courtesy of US Magazine

With that said, that doesn’t mean that there was a complete lack of negative chatter out there about these women. What was truly disheartening was the social media backlash that every single one of these ladies faced from a surprising group: the general (and predominantly female) public. While Sidibe handled the nasty tweets centered on her shape with classy responses of her own, the fact remains that she shouldn’t have been forced to deal with such hurtful words simply for stepping out onto the red carpet in a gown she loved. It seems logical that females who are outside of the entertainment industry should be more in touch with reality than those who are continually surrounded with false perceptions that success only comes to those who are skeletal. However, the buzz surrounding the Golden Globes revealed that seemingly “regular women” have flocked to the Web to become the worst “body shamers” out there.

Photo Courtesy of Twitter

The fact remains that the harsh critics to which Sidibe felt compelled to address were “regular women,” not the Hollywood press.
Photo Courtesy of Twitter

Even though the media has undoubtedly reinforced rigid stereotypes about body image over the years, it is now more often than not mean-spirited individuals on Twitter and anonymous commenters hiding behind keyboards who are teaching women to feel shame about their appearances. In all of the following cases, it was “regular women,” a demographic that has complained over the years that the media has warped our body images, who were dishing out the most ignorant forms of hatred:

  • While Lena Dunham continues to receive critical accolades and offers from other Hollywood producers for her work on Girls, the general public calls her names like “fat trash” and “flabby skank.” During and after the Golden Globes, she was criticized for just about everything imaginable, from the size of her breasts to her tattoos.
  • In addition to achieving success on American Horror Story, Gabby Sidibe just completed two monumental film projects with big name celebrities, while online commenters were the ones hatefully likening her appearance to that of a “Golden Globe” and claiming that her stylist must hate her to put such a “disgustingly obese” woman in such a dress.
  • Olivia Wilde, given praise for her clingy green Gucci gown by the press, was referred to as a “fat alligator” and a “giant pregnant lizard.” There were even fellow pregnant women who compared their bodies to hers, claiming that their bumps looked much better.

The sad truth is that we could continue to post more examples of such fodder, but we’re not going to do so; we have shared enough instances to prove our point, and we don’t want to give such hateful language yet another venue. We do, however, want to leave you with a few thoughts. In an age in which the public has just as much of a voice as tabloids and newspapers, we believe it is our ethical responsibility as human beings to refrain from this grown-up version of cyber bullying.

What happened to the notions of “girl power” with which so many of us grew up? Shouldn’t we be encouraging women of all body types to pursue their dreams and shatter the figurative glass ceiling? Whether she’s a size zero or a size twenty, every woman has the right to take fashion risks without worrying about a backlash of criticism about her size or shape, especially from fellow females. We all know what it’s like to be criticized for our bodies and only seen for our dress sizes, so shouldn’t we be the ones to break this cycle of negativity and lift one another up?

What are your thoughts about the criticism “regular women” were dishing out about these ladies after The Golden Globes? We always love to hear your thoughts and opinions, so don’t hesitate to share them below. 

Casey Lindberg-Coghill