Gabourey Sidibe Wants To Stop Getting Scripts That Compare Characters To "Hippos"

Photo: Richard Shotwell/REX/Shutterstock.
Gabourey Sidibe has never been shy when it comes to talking about weight. She gave an honest depiction of bariatric surgery when explaining why she decided to undergo it. And she's gotten real about the fashion industry's limitations when it comes to dressing plus-size women, too.
So, we weren't surprised to see that Sidibe has spoken out against how plus-size characters are introduced in many movie scripts. But when the actress told People how the characters are often described, we were disgusted.
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"I get a lot of scripts and offers where someone has to make mention of my body immediately," Sidibe told People. "Someone wrote a script with me in mind, and the first time someone other than my character was talking about my character, they say 'this hippo' or 'this elephant.'"
"I'm like, 'Are you serious? You wrote something for me, and you're calling me a hippo,'" Sidibe continued in the People interview. "This is my body. This has been my body my entire life, and in my life, my friends and my colleagues are not constantly talking about my body. But in most of my roles, somebody has to make mention of it."
It's disappointing enough that plus-size actors aren't considered for many of the roles straight-size actors are. But to read that something was written with you in mind that compares you to an animal is horrifying. It should be an honor to have a role written for you — but it looks like weight bias means that's not true for plus-size actors like Sidibe.
Sidibe's words hit the nail on the head when it comes to plus-size characters, too. Yes, their appearance is a part of their life; how you look is a part of anyone's life. But it's not the only thing that should define those characters — plus-size people have interests, hobbies, and dreams like any other characters would. And, really, what purpose does does calling attention to the character's size serve, anyway? Unless the role is for, say, someone undergoing weight-loss surgery, there's no need to address it, especially not in the very beginning of a script. We're thrilled that Sidibe is calling this out — hopefully, screenwriters will be more thoughtful in the future.
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