on language

Stop Calling Gabourey Sidibe A Gay Icon. She Isn’t. Not Yet

For the same reason we’re not quite ready to label Kirstie Alley a gay icon, neither are we going to bestow the sought-after superlative on Precious‘ Gabourey Sidibe.

But JD Disalvatore, the producer behind Shelter and Eating Out 2, just did. Prematurely! Even if we share a name, even we’ll acknowledge Ms. Disalvatore knows more about Hollywood than we. But she does not know what makes a gay icon.

Some of the most memorable Oscar quotes this year didn’t happen on stage, but on the red carpet just prior, thanks in part to the always fresh and funny Oscar nominated Gabourey Sidibe from Precious. While Miss Ryan Seacrest was interviewing her, he took a moment to point out heart throb Gerald Butler just a few steps away. Gabourey gave Butler the eye and without missing a beat said, “Yeah, I’d hit that.” Then Seacrest called over Butler so she could repeat it to his face. Which she did. “That certainly breaks the ice,” Butler responded.

Later, when asked about her dress, Sidibe proudly responded, “If fashion was porn, this dress would be the money shot.”

I don’t know about you, but I think we have a new Diva on our hands, and yes you can read this as gay icon. As you know, the requirements for becoming a gay icon/Diva include: performing vulnerable and heart wrenching songs or roles in films involving overcoming injustices and the struggle on the uphill battle (Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Diana Ross, Judy Garland), be the odd girl out that always rises to the top even without classical good looks (Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler) or beating the man at his own game by rising to the top against expectations (Cher, Tina Turner, Vanessa Williams – yeah, take that Miss America pageant!).

“Gay icon” is a phrase that is too often abused. People are calling Levi Johnston a gay icon. He is not. He is a gay lust object; big difference.

Meanwhile, the criteria for becoming a gay icon are getting looser and looser. Disalvatore says it’s Sidibe’s “heart wrenching … roles in films involving overcoming injustices and the struggle on the uphill battle” that qualifies her as G.I. But if that were true, Twilight‘s Kirsten Stewart would qualify. And oh hell SHE DOES NOT.

Sidibe could, very easily, be on her way to this status. But “icon” is a term usually reserved for veterans, not newcomers. And even when we do hand it out to the novices, it’s because they come storming out for the gays, seeking us out, creating content and entertainment for the specific consumption of homosexuals and sending the message that they’ve got our backs (see: Lady Gaga).

Gabby isn’t there. Yet.

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  • B Damion

    MMMMMMmmm….uummm..we all know how Gay man hate the Fatty’s they will say she is very fat n needs to loose a tone of weight before she is ever considered an icon. Gay men just don’t like that fatty’s..Fat..Fat..Fat actress.

  • Herbo

    That’s “DRAY icon” ….as in TRUCK.

    Joan Rivers said it best: She’s ENORMOUS! They should have called it “Precious Cargo”

  • Cam

    I think that “Precious” was heart wrenchingly pro-gay in parts because of the teacher and the kindness that she received from her. Not sure if she is an icon yet, but I will say, after hearing her interviewed and seeing just how different she was from the character in precious, I’m hoping she continues to act because she has shown some major talent.

  • soul_erosion

    I almost hate to type this, but I saw it yesterday on a different blog so will repeat here:”nothing tastes as good as thin feels.”

  • Kyle24

    If she doesn’t take better care of herself she isn’t going to be alive long enough for us to debate whether she is a gay icon or not. Look at her arms. Icon status might not be in her future but diabetes or a heart attack certainly are.

  • Joshua

    I agree. I also wondr if she will ever be around again. How many parts are there for a girl like her. I think she’s gorgeous, love sher self, all the power to her but reeally… when the last time someone of her body type starred in a romantic comedy? Never. I hope she sticks around but i really dont know what her next step would be.

  • Tricky

    I predict, (I have a 85% success rate) that she will loose a significant amount of weight in the next year. But I agree, she is no icon yet. We need to start voting on these things.

  • j

    I think, arms aside, that her figure is absolutely awe inspiring in some strange, not all together apparent but beautiful way. That said, she obviously needs to lose weight but then again so do alot of americans, its not as if she’s short of people who will identify with her so I think she does have a shot. She also sounds funny. I’ve yet to see her movie, though.

  • romeo

    I haven’t seen the picture yet either, but have made a point to catch it. Bless her heart, she seems sweet.

    As for her weight, probably a good idea if she gets on Jenny Craig post haste to avoid any more jokes like the one going around about her in that dress being the blue screen they used to film “Avatar.” Poor thing.

  • Taylor Siluwé

    I agree, Tricky, she’ll lose some weight this year.

    But mostly because with sudden celebrity, the vile, insensitive, vicious comments (like 1 & 2 – assholes, both) begin to pour all over the net like hot smelly piss.

    Sadly, some gay people do not realize that large people are discriminated against just like we were and still are, and that fat jokes are about as funny as those lame gay ones we all know so well.

    If we need someone to discriminate against to feel better about ourselves, pick someone vile who’s out to get us – not a sweet young actress just beginning to come into her own.

  • romeo

    @ Joshua #6: Actually, the same Mo’nique that plays her mother in “Precious” starred in a romantic comedy called “Phat Girls.” I just saw it on cable the other night. She’s also had a decent career doing comedy roles in other films. And don’t forget Niecy Nash, who’s slimmed down a bit now, but who can forget her big, beautiful self in a string bikini in the hilarious movie they made of “Reno 911.” You want to talk ass, now THAT was an ass!

  • B Damion

    @Taylor Siluwé ….I wasn’t trying to be meen. I was stating a fact.
    And as you can see all the gays went in..on her weight as perdicted by all these nasty comments about her. Some of us are very shallow n thats why we are single.

  • EWE

    Anybody that young is not going to be an Icon for me.

  • Taylor Siluwé

    No. 12 · B Damion

    Sorry about the asshole comment (I’m frequently one myself), its just that I came from HuffPo and read the most vile things about Gabby. I love her because she seems so sweet and unspoiled. That’s gonna change.

    Yeah, I can be cynical too …

  • B Damion

    @Taylor Siluwé……Apology accepted. Maybe there is hope for us all. You sound like a good person T and I hope good things follow you in this life.

  • tjr101

    I have no doubt she’ll lose some weight. She has the money to buy the best trainers and shove it to some of the gross queens throwing insults her way on this site.
    It’ll be interesting to see where her career goes from here. Its going to be a challenge for her to find roles in image consious Hollywood.

  • Taylor Siluwé

    No. 16 · tjr101

    Gabby has some challenges ahead in Hollywood for sure. A just out of the box actress couldn’t be luckier however, because she’s the darling of Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. That pretty much covers Hollywood AND TV.

    So as Mo’Nique used to say – Fuck those skinny bitches!

  • fredo777

    Is this article about Gabby’s status/potential status as a gay icon or a Jenny Craig forum? Try to run a little faster toward the body image-obsessed stereotype, people.

    Anyway, I thought that “money shot” quote was golden.

  • Sam

    I think she was great in the part, but icon? Maybe in 10 years, if she lasts that long. She really needs to lose weight though, or it will be a moot point. There is a difference between “body-image obsessed” and a walking refrigerator.

  • ossurworld

    The new Hattie McDaniel…

  • taylor siluwe

    No. 19 · Sam

    Walking refrigertor? Wow. I hope Gaddy doesn’t read that, because I’m sure you wouldn’t be despicable enough to say it to her in person.

    But is she does — Gabby, people say stupid shit without running it through their brain first. It’s kinda like when people say ‘I love gay people, I just don’t want them around me.’ But you’ll meet a lot of stupid, thoughtless, despicable people in Hollywood.

    Pay them no mind and keep being you.

  • Cat Walker

    she is disgusting

  • christopher di spirito

    Gabby has two gay, male room mates.

    I have no idea how she feels about “the gays,” whether she supports marriage equality, the repeal of DOMA and DADT. She’s a kid and an accidental actress.

    She’s not a political activist. At least nothing she’s said that I’ve read indicates activism. I hope she’s supportive but, I’m ready to cut her some slack.

  • Sam

    Re #21, I would say that to her in person. She is morbidly obese and I hope she has friends that WILL say that to her face. “Keep being you” is just not an option, if she plans on living to a decent age.

  • Sexy Rexy

    The majority of the folks making harsh and cruel comments about her weight are gay or allegedly gay-friendly.

  • Taylor Siluwé


    I still doubt you would tell her that. Doing that, using your logic, would be like coming up to me and shaking a finger and saying, “If you don’t stop smoking you’re gonna die!”

    To which I would respond, “And if you don’t get your finger outta my fuckin’ face you’re gonna!”

    Nobody needs a lesson on the dangers of smoking, obesity, or any other no-brainer thing. But thanx for playing …..

  • eric

    Everyone needs to quit pretending that their really concerned about Gabbys weight because of her health. It’s BULLSHIT. She is being held to the same usual sexist standards that have been around for years in Hollywood: we give fat actresses shit and we give fat actors their own TV shows where they cast hot thin women as their wives.

    Will she lose weight? Will she be typecast? Only time will tell, but for now we have an extremely talented, wonderful actress who is a breath of fresh air and let’s just be happy with that.

  • Sam

    Agree with the “fat” actors on TV with hot wives, but none are as immense as she is. That is just nasty.

  • gomez

    @22 your attitude is disgusting

  • hardmannyc

    Fat is the new black.

  • Evil is my First Name

    Why are some of you worried about Gabby’s weight and life expectancy? Most of the bigots (and your loving families too) are worried about YOUR life expectance, considering AIDS. Ugh, grow the fuck up. Most of you are so hateful.

  • Taylor Siluwé

    No. 31 · Persa

    Ha! So much for the ‘she’ll never work again’ theory. Suck on that, Howard Stern. (And the nerve of such a cretinous-looking man to talk about someone not working because of what they look like).

  • Ricky

    I think she looks stunning in that dress… as in beautiful. I also admire her personality and feel that her role in Precious was Oscar worthy. I am glad Sandra Bullock won but I do think Gabby deserved the win more.

  • PopSnap

    Way to go, dickheads who are making harsh comments about her weight. I’m glad you’re perfect and all. Not a single blemish rests upon your perfect faces; and you are so muscular and hot you make Taylor Lautner look like a tiny nerd.

    Me? I don’t give a shit what someone’s weight is. I have fat friends. And guess what? They have gay friends. You know, gay like us. People make fun of us too.

    the irony is dripping

  • Moi

    Have you even seen this girl in any interviews? She is absolutely adorable–a ‘breath of fresh air’ doesn’t begin to cover it! Funny, intelligent, and ‘sit next to me’ come to mind. As an overweight woman myself, we don’t need anyone to shake an admonishing finger in our face. We know. Society is hard enough on Gabby–she doesn’t need Howard Stern (excuse me, but WTF? ugly famewhore!) or anyone else piling on. She also knows that you don’t have time to live your life waiting for ‘when I’m thin’. It may never come. You live your life to the fullest now and love yourself now. This woman is sunlight and confidence, God love her. It makes her more beautiful than those who call her ugly will ever be. If her weight cuts her life short, so be it. So do drugs, speeding, cigarettes, booze, jaywalking and unsafe sex. So cast the stone, those who’ve never made any unwise choices…

  • Taylor Siluwé

    No. 35 · PopSnap

    Let those snippy bitches have it!

    No. 34 · Ricky

    Hmmm, gotta disagree with this. As everyone can see, I LOVES me some Gabby, but Sandra Bullock is my other love, who has a long career of wonderful performances. She deserved to win.

    Actually, I would’ve been slightly annoyed if Gabby beat her. Gabby’s got a long career ahead. And how many actresses (especially black ones of size), get an academy award nom fresh out the box, and become the darling of O. Winfrey and T. Perry. In that sense, she won big time. Huge!

  • Taylor Siluwé

    No. 36 · Moi

    Thank you, girl. Wisdom is louder than the pathetic whispers of fools. * Ones who, I might add, better not open the door when Karma comes knockin’ *

  • Moi

    Nope, thank you. We’re on the same page all the way!

  • Tessie Tura

    What did we say about Jennifer Holliday?

    (actually, some of you twinks aren’t OLD enough to remember when Jennifer Holliday was fat.)

    What about Ricki Lake?

    People will be busting doors down to get to Gaby. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are at least three different writers right now dreaming up a vehicle for Gaby, Mo’Nique, AND Queen Latifah…

  • Wild Gift

    You hateful cunts should be ashamed of yourselves! Why do you care what she looks like and how is it your right to be so critical? Assholes.

  • hardmannyc

    Howard Stern is still on the radio?

  • Keldawgs

    I seriously don’t understand why her weight is such an issue. She reminds me of friends that I know. She’s a Manhattan chick. What I see is a cool, fun and intelligent.

  • nick

    Ugh she’s so gross and such an awful role-model for kids. Seriously, in a nation where 1/3 of the children are obese, do we need yet another voice of the “fat acceptance movement” telling the world that it’s okay and healthy and normal to be 5?5? and 400 pounds, as long as you feel good about yourself? Sic transit gloria mundi. Goodbye public health.

    As for being a “gay icon..” that’s ridiculous. She’s a newcomer, and will never be an icon, I hope, unless she makes a philosophical 360.

  • Taylor Siluwé


    You’re right. I think we should round up all fat people and kill them. But they’ll have to get in line behind The Gays. We’re first on everyone’s list.

    But once we’re all gone, make sure we leave a note to get all those fat muthafukas. Even Oprah – such a horrible, horrible role model young women.

    ** NOTE: Anyone who calls another personal “gross” should post a picture of themselves for public scrutiny. Mine is available, like, everywhere, if you care to look. **

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