The truth hurts. Anyone who tells you differently hasn’t had a lot of people tell him or her the truth. Recently, Howard Stern made some very hurtful, politically incorrect comments about Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe, Hollywood’s newest find. Sidibe starred in the award-winning film Precious, and the 26-year-old actress won over critics playing an overweight, poor, African-American, teenage single mother who dreams of a better life.
After the Oscars, Stern went on his radio program and referred to Sidibe as “the most enormous fat black chick I’ve ever seen,” continuing his rant by mocking her newfound success by stating, “Everyone is pretending that she is a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie. She really should have gotten the Best Actress award because she’s never going to have another shot. What movie is she going to be in?” ABC News and some media pundits ran to Sidibe’s defense quickly, criticizing the shock jock for his statements.
While Stern’s comments were less than classy, he seems to be the first to mention the obvious concerning the actress’s weight. I mention this because there appears to be a double standard dealing with young women and appearance, as the world has embraced this actress while completely ignoring her obesity, all while mocking and ridiculing another female celebrity for her appearance — reality television icon and plastic surgery glutton Heidi Montag.
After Montag told People that she had had 10 plastic surgery procedures, the media ran to every specialist they could find to help explain what the media labeled as an emotional disorder on Montag’s part. “I think, fundamentally, when somebody goes on for many, many, many procedures, and starts at a young age, they’re trying to change something about themselves; they want to become a new person, and you can’t just do that through a scalpel," Debbie Then, a California-based psychologist, said on Fox News.
Most of us agree that a person who has that much plastic surgery has bigger issues than just the need for a tummy tuck, but how many people are repeatedly doing what she did? Not many, and mostly because plastic surgery is expensive, whereas Big Macs only cost a few bucks.
Television’s talking heads wouldn’t leave Montag alone for her appearance and image, but what about Ms. Sidibe? How can one not look at this girl and realize that her larger body frame is just as, if not more, damaging to her psyche and health? After Montag’s surgery extravaganza, the media would have you thinking this is the No. 1 issue facing young women today. In reality, we have an obesity problem in our culture, not a plastic surgery and desire-to-be-thin problem.
I have no issue celebrating Sidibe’s newfound talent, but why must Montag be knocked down for her looks while the other is commended as being the new darling on the scene, when she also has an obvious issue? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of adults are obese, whereas anorexia only affects approximately 5 percent of our population, and there were fewer than 400,000 breast augmentation surgeries in America this past year.
Every few months or so we get some puff piece about how our society creates these false images of beauty and that it causes some traumatic pandemic in teenagers and women. It’s a lie. We aren’t a culture obsessed with beauty as much as we are obsessed with food. We love our food. We eat it at home, in the car, at the gym, during the movies, and while watching the game. In fact, we reward ourselves with finishing our food at dinner by giving ourselves more food.
Some will argue that Montag chose to have the nips and tucks, whereas Sidibe didn’t choose to be overweight. I disagree. We are all responsible for who we are. Both girls are victims of their own choices. Perhaps the real truth here is that Gabourey Sidibe’s story makes us all feel the American Dream is alive and well for all who want to reach it, whereas Heidi Montag’s story reminds us that some things never change for those who fit a particular mold.