Oscars Liveblog Tonight/A Gabby Rant

For those who have been wondering, yes, we’ll be liveblogging the Oscars tonight! Snarky’s Machine, Sweet Machine, Fillyjonk and I are all on board, though we can’t guarantee we’ll all be there from start to finish. We’ll start with the red carpet at 6 EST/5 CST/3PST 7 EST/6CST/4PST (we decided we can’t take quite THAT much merriment) and keep going until we’re bored or too drunk to type.

All this will be happening over at the brand new Shapely Prose Liveblog site, which we hope will work better than Cover It Live did for the Golden Globes. If all goes well, that’s where we’ll do all liveblogging in the future, and the archives will remain there for anyone who missed the events.

If you can’t watch on TV, here’s a list of options for watching at least some of the coverage online. (We’ll try to agree on one of those sites toward the beginning, so we’re not all talking about 5 different things.)

In the meantime, Erica Kennedy has a glorious rant about Gabourey Sidibe’s stylists over at The Feminista Files. I’m not sure I agree that Andre Leon Talley is the answer here, because I still haven’t forgiven him for Jennifer Hudson’s space bolero, but I heartily agree with this:

Now if you had read this on USA Today’s site and not on another blog that was linking to it, you would have noted, as I did, that they felt the need to put “full-sized” in quotes like it’s such a derogatory thing to say about a woman that they needed to soften the blow with… well, kinda.

She IS full-sized, mofos. She’s not ashamed of it. Stop trying to be ashamed for her! DAMN.

I’d noticed that Gabby was showing up to a lot of stuff in off-the-rack dresses — mostly ones I’d lusted after on the Saks website, so at least it wasn’t like, as Kennedy puts it, “She HAS to do the red carpet and then to have to say 100x, ‘It’s… Lane Bryant’?!” But then I was online window shopping the other day, and I stopped by SWAK Designs, which at the time had a bunch of pictures of Gabby (supposedly) in their dresses — which I think top out at $99.99 — at major events. And she’s certainly been out on the town in Igigi.

Now, I’m a fan of Igigi, and when I have semi-formal events to attend, it’s one of the first places I check. And for most of us here in the real world, those dresses ain’t cheap. But most of us here in the real world are not FUCKING OSCAR-NOMINATED ACTRESSES. Gabby is allowed step it up. Gabby is expected to step it up, in the crowds she’s now running in. Remember when I attempted to run up an imaginary tab as high as Sarah Palin’s from high-end department stores, and utterly failed? Yeah, here’s what I said then:

If a fat woman were running for office at that level, she’d still be in suits that cost under $1,000, ’cause that’s all that’s out there. Some of the career wear for fatties is very well made and plenty expensive, but if you buy the only argument in support of Palin here — that women of her stature are expected to dress a certain way, and it costs that kind of money — then a fat woman who aspired to be a woman of Palin’s stature and look the part would be shit outta luck.

And of course, it goes without saying that a woman who wears over a size 24 is already shit outta luck. Everything I’m saying here about upper-class fat women being shut out of dressing like their peers goes quadruple for fat women who are sized out of high-end department stores.

Also, is Tadashi really the only fucking designer making plus-size evening wear? (What happened to Carmen Marc Valvo’s plus line?) There are loads of dresses that cost over $1,000 in Saks’s straight size section, and some a lot more than that, but only one over $500 in “Salon Z.” Again, if fat women want to move in the circles where women blow a couple thou on a dress for one night, we don’t even have the option of dressing to the same level. We’ve got to show up to our charity events and opera openings in gowns that don’t cost much more than the average bridesmaid’s dress.

Gabby is moving in circles where women blow many more than just a couple thou on a dress for one night (or at least, are loaned/given dresses worth that much). And yet all of the above still applies. (Except that David Meister has joined Tadashi in Salon Z –more on that in a moment.) Sure, she can also have stuff made — she did for the Golden Globes, and apparently for tonight. But even though Kevan Hall, who designed the GG dress, talks a good game – “it’s all about picking the right silhouette for her shape,” he told Robin Givhan — that dress was such a fucking disappointment to me.

I think the color’s gorgeous, but the sleeves are bog standard Fat Girl Arm Tents, and the beading doesn’t look much more impressive than what you find on a $150 Igigi. And as for it being “the right silhouette for her shape,” um, am I the only one who can’t even find her shape under there?

Which brings me around to the other side of this rant, in which I note that sometimes, off-the-rack is not such a bad thing. This dress, which she wore to a Precious press conference in Toronto (I have no idea who it is or where she got it), is slammin’ — sleeves and all.

And as for formal gowns, in my opinion, she has yet to top this $530 David Meister.

FAT GIRL IN SHINY FABRIC WITH BARE ARMS! THE HORROR! And yet, if you can get past that (and okay, the wrinkles at the bottom), she looks a lot younger and prettier than she did at the Golden Globes. There’s that.

As long as she looks like the beautiful, confident twentysomething it girl she is, I really don’t give a shit if her clothes were a dollar a pound at Goodwill. Sharon Stone wore Gap to the Oscars, and everyone found it charming. But the difference is, Sharon Stone had a bazillion other options. Her Gap top was seen as a conscious rejection of the pressure to princess out for Hollywood’s annual circle jerk, and hooray for that. But the problem for Gabby is, you can’t consciously reject things they won’t let you have in the first place.

And my big problem with Gabby’s event wardrobe is not that it’s cheap, comparatively  — as I said, some of her off-the-rack dresses have made me swoon —  it’s that it shows such a stunning failure of imagination on the part of whatever stylist(s) she’s working with. People who get paid a lot of money to make her look her absolute best apparently default all too often to the fashion approach ordinary fat women are all too familiar with: If it fits, it’ll do.

We all deserve a hell of a lot more than that, but an Oscar-nominated fat woman attending A-list events left and right not only deserves it, she should be able to get it easily. So if her stylists can’t be bothered to think outside the Salon Z, and designers can’t be bothered to cut more fabric for a hot, young, highly visible actress, we’ve got a problem. Not that that’s a surprise, but still.

Anyway! Here’s hoping Gabby looks more gorgeous than ever tonight.  If she doesn’t, I am going to be making this face all night.

See you at the liveblog.

108 thoughts on “Oscars Liveblog Tonight/A Gabby Rant

  1. Also: isn’t everyone “full-sized”? As in, their body is full size that it is and was meant to be? Using “full-sized” to describe fat women seems to lend itself to calling thin women “half-sized” or “part-sized” — but all of our bodies are just different. They are all full, real, bodies.

  2. I’m not as impressed with the formal gown, but the tight blue dress is simply amazing on her. Gabby needs to post her measurements online so people who know their way around a sewing machine can make her fabulous things.

  3. I agree that everyone is “full-sized.” If they’d put “plus-sized” in scare quotes, it would have been a little weird.

    Gabby recently wore some champagne-colored shirred thing that looked fantastic, but I don’t remember where. NAACP Image Awards, maybe? DGAs?

  4. I’m not as impressed with the formal gown, but the tight blue dress is simply amazing on her.

    Yeah, the former’s not perfect, but it’s the best full-length gown I’ve seen on her, by a lot. (YMMV, obvs.)

  5. That first blue dress is freaking amazing. If I found something that looked as good on me as that dress looks on her, I’d buy it in 15 different colors if I could. Gorgeous.

    That shape obviously really works for her…I think she’d look great in something with a similar bodice, except sleeveless and to the ground, with a flowing hemline.

  6. I am excited to see that Gabby will be rocking a Marchesa dress…. as her stylist pointed out in an interview last week! Brava Kate! Yes! We need the gowns and the luxury… I am excited and will be tuning into you later today!

  7. Zuzu, you mean the one pictured on Kennedy’s post? I do think that one’s pretty great, but still prefer the Meister. Possibly just because I love that blue to an irrational degree. But also, the champagne one reads a little old to me, which is my problem with half the stuff she wears.

  8. Using “full-sized” to describe fat women seems to lend itself to calling thin women “half-sized” or “part-sized” — but all of our bodies are just different.

    Agreed. Although at 5’2″, I do not object to being labeled “fun sized.”

  9. “[T]hey felt the need to put “full-sized” in quotes like it’s such a derogatory thing to say about a woman that they needed to soften the blow…”

    I honestly don’t think that’s what’s going on here. The publication seems to be following standard journalistic practice in placing a portion of a quoted statement in quotation marks in their own headline, to demonstrate that the words were spoken by someone else. (Headlines use single quote-marks as if they were double quote-marks; they’re not supposed to be ‘scare quotes’ in this case.) ‘Full-size’ is not a usual adjective for a human being, and so it would have been odd if they had *not* placed it in quotation marks.

  10. Vidya108, now that I look back at it, I think you’re right. (Honestly, I didn’t even really look at the original source there.) Kennedy’s point about other people being ashamed for her absolutely stands, though.

  11. @The Curvy Fashionista One of the things Kennedy says in her rant is that apparently, Gabby will NOT be rocking Marchesa. So we’ll have to see, I guess.

  12. Zuzu, you mean the one pictured on Kennedy’s post? I do think that one’s pretty great, but still prefer the Meister. Possibly just because I love that blue to an irrational degree. But also, the champagne one reads a little old to me, which is my problem with half the stuff she wears.

    I think that’s the one. I saw a different pic; I think it looks a little weird in that one because of the way she’s posing. From a three-quarter view, it looked great. But I do agree with you about the Meister; that’s one I hadn’t seen before.

    About the looking old: a lot of young actresses have that problem, even the thin ones. Carey Mulligan and Anna Kendrick are having a little trouble with their red-carpet looks, too. I think it’s difficult for anyone under, say, 25 to find formalwear that’s both occasion- and age-appropriate, because so much of it is either too casual or geared to someone who’s at least 30. But that problem is compounded when you’re plus-sized, because if you can find high-end formalwear at all, it’s geared to society matrons who go to a lot of fundraising galas. And it’s not like the thin young actresses don’t fit into the sample sizes of couture houses, so that if they look frumpy on the red carpet, it’s the fault of their stylists’ inability to take advantage of all the available choices, rather than a lack of available choices.

  13. I’ve generally thought she looked best in knee-length dresses (or, frankly, that black and white photo shoot you have the last photo from — she’s never looked hotter than she did there, IMO; I would kill somebody for skin as clear and glowy as hers) — the full-length dresses tend to have less shape. I don’t know if that’s unavoidable, or if that isn’t part of, as you said, wearing stuff that makes her look older (not many of us twentysomethings pick a long dress unless we’re a bridesmaid) — but wearing a short dress to the Oscars is, as you said, rejecting the standard, and that only works if you’re allowed the standard in the first place.

  14. The picture currently on Sidibe’s wikipedia entry shows her in a bright print dress (top?) with a deep-v neckline and she looks very happy and comfortable in it. The photo doesn’t show whether it’s a formal or informal look (I suspect the latter), but I hope her stylists aren’t afraid to try some fresh color and pattern on such a young woman.

  15. Looking forward to chatting again tonight! I seem to recall it was fun during the GGs, but I was drunk-ish by the end, so that might be untrue. ;)

    According to her Facebook page, Ganny is excited about her Oscar dress, so let’s hope she works it out!

  16. Firstly, brilliant rant. The problem with the people dressing Gabby has nothing to do with her fat, but rather her skin tone.

    I smell the tacky hand of, “DARK BLACK LOOKS GOOD IN JEWEL TONES.” all over this lady. It’s the stench wafting from the cover of every April and August lady mag where one finds a black woman in some unfortunate jewel toned outfit.

    Gabby’s skin is crying out for some damn pewter or champagne. I would style her circa Gwenie ’99ish, with a sequined fitted top and a stunning floor length ball skirt. End of story.

  17. Oddly enough, Sharon and Gabby are simpatico in my eyes. Stunning broads who suffer due to people not understanding they should be wearing the dress and not the other way around. What made her Gap mutiny so stunning – to me anyway – was it was the first time, she WORE the clothes and they didn’t wear her.

    And the choices Gabby has been offered totally make her look like the mother of the bride.

  18. I smell the tacky hand of, “DARK BLACK LOOKS GOOD IN JEWEL TONES.” all over this lady. It’s the stench wafting from the cover of every April and August lady mag where one finds a black woman in some unfortunate jewel toned outfit.

    Ha! I stand by my love of her in sapphire and some purples, but now that you mention it, I love the color of the Kevan Hall dress much more on its own than on her. So there’s one more level of fail.

    But yeah, dark skin/jewel tones is about as imaginative as tent sleeves and a beaded empire waist on a fat girl. I can only assume it’s what happens when people know the “rules” of dressing certain kinds of bodies without actually knowing people who live in those bodies.

  19. I do love me some jewel tones and often wear them myself. The problem here is the notion that jewel tones should be the default setting for WOC of darker hues, regardless of whether or not designers are offering stylish looks in those shades.

    One of the realities I have observed as a fat woman is more often than not dresses are not the best option for formal wear. Separates generally provide more choices, better fit and versatility in a way that dresses often do not.

  20. sometime in the mid 90’s I was watching an MTV show that Carnie Wilson was the celebrity on that day. She was wearing a knit top from lane bryant as I recognized it from the store. And I thought to myself “but she’s a celebrity, I thought celebrities all wore hard to obtain one of a kind designer clothes.”

    Then I realized that my rage over the selection of clothing I could find in my area in my size was not just a problem unique to me. It was a total lightbulb moment.

  21. That dress was on the right track, with its simple shape and such, but yeah it missed the mark too. I don’t love it on her either.

    Assuming you mean the pewter one, I quite like it — BUT, I am only saying that after looking at like 200 pictures of her in different dresses. It didn’t do much for me at first glance, but it gets extra points for being a whole lot better than many of the others she’s worn. I think my love of the blue Meister is similarly influenced by looking at all the others. When it’s like, “Meh, meh, meh, meh, meh, Oh, hey!” the “oh, hey” dress gets more credit than it perhaps deserves.

    Which is one more reason why I’d like to see some designers with vision and a clue dressing her, so I could praise her for more than looking less MOTB-ish than usual. (And so Lane Bryant would knock them off, and I could wear them too.)

  22. Do all ‘big name’ celebrities have a stylist selecting their clothing for them? I mean, I could see how most movie stars don’t have the time to go through showroom after showroom of high-end designer offerings. But if Gabby is mostly wearing clothing from several well-known non-exclusive fat-girl clothing places, I can somehow easily imagine that she periodically checks out their websites and makes some purchases of the stuff she likes. (Though I’m sure she doesn’t have to trek out to the post office herself to pick them up or send them back.)
    I guess I’m just thinking that she may be picking out things that she likes, rather than simply putting on someone else’s choices?

  23. My least favorite awards dress of Gabby’s is certainly the Golden Globes cliche, which is too old for her and boring. I LOVE the pewter Image Awards dress, and am trying to find it for myself and shoplift it.

    I think that if a designer, particularly a younger or lesser-known designer, were to make a gorgeous dress for Gabby to wear tonight, that designer would skyrocket to success. Whenever a dress makes ANY star look gorgeous, the public will want it too, drooling, thinking, “I want one for meeeeee!” It’s a good business move, designers! Ball in your court!

  24. Also, re: wearing clothing that makes her look ‘older': Given that she is known for only one role, and, it seems, frequently confused with the character she played — a teenager — it seems very possible that she may well *want* to be seen in more ‘mature’ styles.

  25. With the exception of the simple black pumps with the fitted blue dress, I’m thinking the strappy shoes are pretty non impressive. Certainly her stylists can do much better than this?

  26. Poo…this is all happening past Paintmonkey’s UK bedtime. I can’t stay up with a torch under the covers like last time or Nanny will be furious, and I’ll have to clean the giraffe’s enclosure with my toothbrush again. I’ll have to dream the Oscar coverage instead, I’m with you in spirit.

  27. She is so freaking adorable, especially in that fitted purple dress and in the black and white head shot!

  28. Also, re: wearing clothing that makes her look ‘older’: Given that she is known for only one role, and, it seems, frequently confused with the character she played — a teenager — it seems very possible that she may well *want* to be seen in more ‘mature’ styles.

    Why? Hollywood trades in youthfulness. What actress – who wants to work – is going to make themselves look older? Moreover, what Blactress is going to willingly mammify herself, thus assuring she’ll be doing it up mammy style for the rest of her career and possibly into the afterlife.

    This seems a clear cut case of “dancing with the one who brung ya.”

    Also, there is goo gobs of racism, classism and every other ism involved in how many designers choose who gets to wear their clothes. They would much rather have some no name white actress – color me Claire Forlani and Gretchen Mol – than a fat woman, woman of color or disabled women.

    Ask Marianne Jean-Baptiste

  29. One effect I can appreciate of the use of “full-sized” and Tyra’s recent variation “fiercely real” (unfortunately coupled with the phrase “humongous”) is to make me more and more comfortable every day with the word “fat,” since it *actually means the thing it’s supposed to mean*.

    I love the pewter dress—it’s so spunky! It’s stylish without being somber or matronly–it’s like a fashion representation of her amazing, bold, unapologetic laugh.

  30. I’m a fan of Gabby’s on Facebook and she wrote a few days ago that she is excited about her Oscars dress. I don’t know what it looks like but she says she looks “soooo pretty” in it and that she loves it. I doubt I’ll be watching the Oscars (haven’t watched them since … Crash won Best Picture whenever that was), but I’ll be looking at the fashions afterward.

  31. I’d only seen Gabby in the Golden Globes dress and another similarly circus-tent-styled dress, so it’s completely delightful to see that that’s not all she wears (is dressed in?) for formal occasions. Those blue dresses are fabulous – I love how the long-sleeved one emphasizes, rather than hides, her figure – as is the champagne one linked upthread. She’s such a cutiepie. I’m excited to see what she wears tonight!

  32. Vidya108 – if the actress does not have her own personal stylist (i.e. is not as high profile and fashion conscious as someone like J.Lo, does not have the $$, etc.), either her management agency would have found one to handle this awards season process with her or the studio that released the film would have provided one, since every appearance at these awards is promotion for the film itself and qualifies as publicity, requiring the actress appear in what the studio would consider a “favorable” light.

    You know, I have very pale skin and I’m always told to rock the jewel tones too. It’s like some inversion (or perversion) of the “dark skin = jewel tones!” thing**. Though I know if I wear pink I look flushed, and yellow makes me look like I’m dying of galloping consumption. I tend to stick with red, blue, purple, green and black anyway.

    (** – not comparing my experience to being a black woman, for the record, I just found it ironic that both the darkest and lightest skinned people end up with the same fashion advice. Though probably for vastly different reasons.)

    DRST

  33. @Snarkysmachine — Fair enough. I suppose I was thinking from my own experience. I tried to dress like a ‘real adult’ (blazers, etc.) from the time I was about 12, hoping, I think, that it would distance me from the gross immaturity of my sex-obsessed, fat-hating ‘peers’ in school. (Result: They just hated me more.)

    Also, I like Gabby’s green dress, even if the sparkly belt/waistband is not my sort of thing. I don’t think the photo does justice to the lovely pleating and draping of the fabric on the front of the dress. (I suppose I’m biased by my own formalwear habits (saris, mostly), but most designer gowns look to me like uncomfortable and unflattering sausage-casings, no matter who is wearing them.)

  34. Ooh, now I remember that pewter dress! That was delicious on her. She could really do all kinds of metallics, beading, fish scales a la Marion Cotillard. If, you know, someone could think to put her in those things.

    She could also totally rock a yellow dress, which is a hard color to pull off yet looks great on a red carpet if you can do it. Just not with feathers, since that gives anyone an unfortunate Big Bird effect. And really, unless you’re going full Bjork, best to stay away from looking like you’re wearing a dead bird.

    I do remember that she told Craig Ferguson that she doesn’t have a publicist. What about a stylist?

    Well, and even when dark-skinned women get to wear champagne or peach or what have you, the style media tends to get jaw-droppingly racist, 1950s-Crayola-style.

    I think at this point, regardless of its origins, “nude” is a term for a particular color that’s sort of peachy-pink-brown. All the dresses at that link appeared to be more or less the same color, unlike the women who were wearing them, but I’m not sure the name of the color is supposed to connote “same color as the wearer” anymore so much as “this shade that’s named something that used to connote the same color as the wearer, but doesn’t anymore, and now it’s outdated and really problematic and really needs to be renamed, but fuck if anyone’s come up with anything better for it even though someone really ought to get on it because it’s getting embarrassing so we’ll keep calling it ‘nude.'” It’s not like people were calling Christina Hendricks’ GG dress, which almost matched her skin tone, “nude.” You know?

  35. I think at this point, regardless of its origins, “nude” is a term for a particular color that’s sort of peachy-pink-brown..

    How is that less problematic?

  36. @ Vidya – We must have been separated at birth, because I started dressing older for my age when I was eleven and twelve also, but not stealing out of my mom’s closet (too small already), but from my dad’s. I rocked the Annie Hall look two decades too late, and did not impress my friends. But you and I, we would have looked great together.

    And I also wonder how miserable, tight, itchy, and uncomfortable celebrity formal wear is, because I think about standing around for cameras for several hours, then sitting around for even more, and I start getting rashy and tired.

  37. Kate, I totally agree about the Golden Globes dress. I saw so many people raving about how beautiful and “flattering” it was, and I was just like… really? Empire waist and flowy skirt? That’s the standard fat girl silhouette. I have like, 8 of them in my closet. And I buy them because they look good right off the rack but a professional designer that was designing specifically for Sidibe’s body couldn’t come up with anything more unique or stylish than what I can snag online for $150? I also agree with SnarkysMachine about jewel tones, because that green did not look nearly so good on her as the pewter and champagne dresses linked to in the thread. It was like, what do we put on a fat, dark skinned black woman? Flowy empire waist dress in a jewel tone. Fail.

    I hope she looks stunning tonight, in a dress that works for her rather than for a generic fat black woman.

  38. And I also think, as far as the people raving about the golden globes dress… Sidibe looked beautiful that night. And because she doesn’t check off our societal beauty markers – thin, blonde, light skin, European features – I think people thought it must have been the dress. When the fact is she is a beautiful woman, and looked beautiful that night in spite of the dress, not because of it.

  39. I don’t know, that green dress isn’t a total disaster. A skilled seamstress could take out the sleeves, and it would work a lot better. The neckline is a little modest for her, too, and the hem should be taken up. Or she could just give it to me, I love modest dresses.

    I find it kind of cool to see a famous woman, my size, wearing clothing that I could find and afford (sorta). I wish I knew where she got that tight blue dress, cause I want one.

  40. I said it’s problematic.

    I’m just suspicious of the “It used to be racialized, but now it’s neutral” argument, since what counts as “neutral” is precisely the problem.

  41. With no criticism of the individual actresses intended, seeing so many of them together, in tight-fitting clothes, accompanied by men at their sides, certainly emphasizes for me how absolutely *tiny* the expected size for female celebrities actually is. I mean, even the ‘thinnest’ woman in my family wouldn’t come close, because her bone structure itself would be “too big” for Hollywood — nevermind her bones with actual flesh on them.

  42. I’m just suspicious of the “It used to be racialized, but now it’s neutral” argument, since what counts as “neutral” is precisely the problem.

    Except that’s not the argument I’m making, and I’m not sure why you’re accusing me of making that argument.

    I’m saying it’s problematic. I’m saying it needs to be changed. But I’m also saying that the name has attached to a particular shade, and there is consensus about what that shade is when it is described as “nude.” And when you’re writing an article describing a particular item of clothing (especially if you don’t know whether a color photo will run with the piece) that is that particular shade, you describe it accurately as “nude” (though you don’t describe something like Michelle Obama’s Indian state dinner dress as “nude” accurately). You describe it that way because it conveys something to the reader in one word and you don’t really have a better term available to convey the same information.

    Changing that isn’t as easy as Crayola changing the name of a crayon or discontinuing a color. Changing that means renaming the color, using the new name until consensus attaches to it and the new name conveys the same thing as the old name does. That takes time and effort and education.

    The problem, as I see it, isn’t that people whose job it is to describe garments reach for a descriptive-if-problematic term when there’s no other, better term out there. The problem is that there isn’t an effort to come up with an other, better term. And that’s not going to happen on Oscar night, when a bazillion dresses walk by.

  43. She is so gorgeous and, I have always thought, deserves to be dressed like a straight sized actress, and not with that old “Oh, I can get it on your body, therefore it fits.”

  44. I think “nude”, in a lot of people’s minds, tends to connote “the ‘standard’ skin color” in a Platonic essentialism sort of way. Maybe some of the writers are self-aware enough to think of it the way zuzu described, but I think in a lot of people’s minds it is still the “normal” skin color (othering!), because they’re not used to seeing many nonwhite people walking around in their communities–even though worldwide (I’m guessing) this wouldn’t be the most common skin color. (Individual white people might not conform exactly to this color either, but ‘nude’ is based on an average of white people’s skin tones.)

    Hm, now I can’t decide if the above is helpful/clarifying to some people, or just obvious and ‘splainy. Apologies if the latter.

  45. People just do not know what to do with confident fat people, especially a confident fat black woman. And Gabby is made of all things awesome, every time I see or read an interview with her I love her a little more. I hope and pray she keeps all that glowing confidence and that she gets more fantastics parts. She’s a great actress and she deserves great parts.

    I think the Golden Globes dress was…not great. I loved her dress for the BAFTAs and the Image Awards pewter dress was both sparkly and awesome (I have a soft spot for sparkly).

    I officially love, love Gabby’s Oscar dress! She just described it to Ryan Seacrest like this: “If fashion were porn, this would be the money shot.” I’m also pissed at how fast the fashion people brushed over it, all “it’s a nice color” because God forbid we comment on the fat girl’s dress *eyeroll* (Slightly my fault for watching the train wreck that is E.) Anyway, she looks fabulous and is clearly having a great time.

  46. zuzu, I’m not “accusing” you of anything.

    The problem, as I see it, isn’t that people whose job it is to describe garments reach for a descriptive-if-problematic term when there’s no other, better term out there. The problem is that there isn’t an effort to come up with an other, better term. And that’s not going to happen on Oscar night, when a bazillion dresses walk by.

    What the Sociological Images post talks about, and what I agree with, is how shocking it is that this is an accepted editorial practice, whether within fashion or not. No in-house style guides go, “You know, I know this is the accepted term, but we should NOT use it anymore and make that our editorial policy. It’s the standard term, but it perpetuates racism.” I don’t see how that’s different from the Crayola situation except that fashion’s all fancy-like.

    ETA: where is that effort to change supposed to come from, if not from the writers covering high fashion events like Oscar night?

  47. I actually don’t think the green GG dress looks too bad, although I don’t like the beaded belt thingy or the sleeve shape much. (I’m indifferent about the color.) Maybe sleeveless would have been best, and maybe the waistline could have been the same fabric as the rest of the dress. I’m only seeing her from the front, but from what I can see it doesn’t create an illusion of early-to-mid-pregnancy like most dresses/shirts with an empire waist do, so that alone impresses me.

  48. Ooh, pretty Oscar dress (although I was hoping for sun yellow; I still want to see her in that color)! She looks gorgeous, all glowing skin and big smile. I hope she has a fabulous night.

  49. I’m having trouble, I’ve been filling the required fields and now it won’t let me post, it keeps saying that the field is required. Help, please?

  50. @SNM –

    “Separates generally provide more choices, better fit and versatility in a way that dresses often do not.”

    The only problem I run into with that – at least with Oscars, GGs, etc. – is that the invitations say “black tie”, so if she goes with separates, I bet you money she runs into the mutterings of “doesn’t know how to dress for an event, that’s the matter with ‘these people’, ‘they’ never get it right”, blah blah freaking blah.

    Can’t live with it, can’t shoot it.

  51. @ KH –

    “Although at 5′2″, I do not object to being labeled “fun sized.””

    However, a woman at a more petite height than you (4’11”, maybe?), or a larger dress size than you (20/22/24, maybe?) – and I’ve heard it flung, though not (yet? ’cause I’m *so* not) at me, at both, in Fortune 500 conference rooms with marble tables in the conversations under conversations where the perps really ought to know better – might.

    (Man, I’m just the Cranky Curmudgeoness tonight, aren’t I?)

    Otherwise, awesome, awesome rant. I will blame the actual awards for the fact this doesn’t have four digits worth of comments. Maybe by tomorrow.

  52. The fitted, shorter dress (which everyone else seems to think is blue but looks purple to me) looks great on her, because you can actually see the shape of her body. I think the main problem with the more formal dresses is that they’re too diaphanous and floaty – something with a more fitted bodice would work much better.

    Question – how tall is Gabby? Looking at these pics I’m wondering if part of the problem is that she’s kind of petite. Full length floaty gowns tend to work best on tall women. Also, loose and floaty + substantial boobage is rarely a good look. Trust me, I’ve tried it.

  53. I love Gabby’s pre-Oscar’s comment about her dress. “If fashion was porn, this dress is the money shot.” Classic. That is my quote of the year for awesomeness.

  54. As far as “nude,” I think fashion writers need to be handed a thesaurus. Looking at the side-by-side five pictures on the article SM linked, I’d call the first, third, and fifth “champagne” or “beige” and the fourth “cream” or “ivory.” The second is just white.

    I don’t think there’s a lack of descriptive, non-problematic words for those colors; I think people just aren’t paying attention to the connotations.

    As far as Gabby’s dresses, I did really like the green one, though the sleeves, as others have said, are kinda meh. They seem the wrong length for the dress, and cap sleeves would’ve looked nicer.

  55. In case it wasn’t clear, “people aren’t paying attention…” refers to the writers–clearly lots of people are paying attention to the connotations, or we wouldn’t be discussing it.

  56. Another reason to love Gabby:

    Do you have a boyfriend?
    I’m kind of interested in a guy. Sometimes I think, ‘Maybe I’ll invite him to the Oscars, maybe I won’t.’ Then I’m like, it probably isn’t the right time to go on a first date with a guy, where everybody is going to be walking up to me and telling me how awesome I am. That might be weird.

    From this article in the Mirror.

  57. I clicked the Jezebel link, and the very first comment was saying Gabby should cover her arms, because [insert more concern trolling]. WTF

  58. @Lee – on Jez? Ugh.
    (I mean, not that commenters there can’t go some interesting places, but …)
    Are you sure you weren’t on Gawker?

  59. She looks fabulous! The colour is great the, appliques don’t look like a flower shop exploded in her lap, and ooh, shiny things!* I just read that Justin Timberlake – whom she has fangirled over in interviews – sent her flowers. Aww.

    *I’m a magpie. I cannae help it!

  60. littlem – it’s on Jez, sadly. But if you click on the Replies link below (however, unless you have muy SW points to spare, I would recommend avoiding it altogether – even though it’s just a couple of concern-trolling commenters, it did my head in), most of the other commenters take her to task:

    “In that spirit of tolerance and free debate, I would like to provide some feedback for your comment: it’s hateful [...] I mean this with all the kindness I possess: it’s time to grow up. Okay? Be a better person than you are at this moment.”

    “Speculation about anyone’s health, based on their size or weight is specious, unoriginal, and flat-out boring to read.”

    “You made several embarrassingly juvenile and hateful statements, and other people are calmly voicing their disagreement with you.”

    “I think you might need to read [previous Jezebel posts about why body-snarking isn't okay]. And if they’re too long and complicated, the rule is: No body snarking. No exceptions.”

  61. Just a quick message slightly off topic. I’ve just been reading another website aimed at women and the readers have been giving their opinion on the Oscar gowns and so on. I’ve had to run stumbling away from the site and back into the comforting arms of this site. Jesus – the comments were so negative and the bitching about other women was ruthless. How depressing and boring. This site would kick it’s arse in any day of the week.

  62. @SNM –

    “I can’t say “champagne in my campaign” anymore???”

    So sorray – only Alizé or Tanqueray look to be sufficientlay soignée for your wordplay deliveray.

  63. I think this sequinned champagne beige colour really suits Gabby http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/97504229/Getty-Images-Entertainment

    I reckon royal blue, champagne, gold, that purply-pewter colour, a darker pewter, copper, some ochre shades and some (very) slightly muted yellow-greens would suit her. That floaty-flappety emerald dress doesn’t really do a great deal for her — I don’t reckon it’s her colour, and the sleeves and cut are “meh”.

    I like the silver beading on Gabby’s dress, but my favourite thing about the photo on Jezebel linked earlier is Gabby’s mum, all beaming with pride. She’s good-looking, too.

  64. I really don’t like the champagne color. I don’t think it is flattering to Gabby, and I associate it with aging matriarchs and mothers of the bride. Especially when sequins or lace are involved.

  65. Last night I kept thinking while watching the Oscars, “Oh, they’re all in blue. I guess they planned that!” Then I read a comment at Shakesville that pointed out they weren’t in blue, but SAPPHIRE!

    Oooooooooooooh, I get it!!!! Awesome!

  66. So that is Gabby’s mom in the back? That totally explains the whole “my baby’s at the Oscars and she’s rocking the movie star glam look” expression on her face. Awesome.

  67. I wanted to share with you this passage from Albany Times Union’s “fashion” blogger, Kristi Gustafson:

    “I won’t even touch on Precious (AKA Gabourey Sidibe), as my dislike for her is so strong, I really can not comment on her stretch mark-covered shoulders with any sort of objectivity. ”

    I don’t know about you, but I find this to be one of the most degrading and revolting things I’ve ever read. I’m incredibly angry — and I hope some of you will take her to task.

    http://blog.timesunion.com/kristi/24292/academy-awards-oscar-fashions/

  68. I had the same thought as @mirandanyc about the term “full-sized”. I am a curvy (not thin) size 8. I’m still “full-sized”, as all my friends whether they be size 6 or 26. Girls are not full-sized because they are still growing, but women are.

    I also have to second @Vidya108 about the inverted commas. As a journalist, I can say they are used to denote an actual quote, not as scare quotes. I can see Kate has agreed in the comments but just thought I’d back that one up.

  69. “I long to see an “Actual Size” clothing line.”

    That would be a most fabulous thing!

    For the most part though men seem to have that— man buying pants?—waist/inseam and there you go! Simple, easy and the man gets the size he needs. But women?–No we get disgusting “vanity” sizing, which is getting worse now in LB/Avenue/Catherines, FashionBug etc. Someone wears a size 26–now they are a size 7. Uhh yeah sure, as if we can’t handle the fact of our own size? I just find it insulting, condescending and patronizing! (and we’re colors now too! yellow, blue and red— just kill me now…)

    Even then those women sizes are not the “actual” ones… there’s regular store sizes up to size 14 or even 16, and then it begins 14w up to 24 or 26 in most stores, and that’s not the manufacturer actual sizes either.! They go something along the lines of a 36=size6instore, 38=8 etc.. Wedding dresses are sized that way so a person who is a size 10 will be looking at a wedding dress in a size 40 or something like that. I vehementaly dislike all that vanity bullshit sizing, which to me is designed to keep women neurotic, obsessed and depressed about their weight.

    I remember the look of horror on my beautiful sister’s face when she looked at the size on the georgous wedding dress she had on and it said 34 instead of 4! I had to explain it to her as she was sure it was a typo. LoL!! For me I had a look of horror on my face when I saw the selection of dresses in my size and they were all empire waist a-line crap and the only dress I actually fell in love with was in a store with the horrid name of “Forgotten Woman”, but the dress was beyond gorgeous and it was also $1200, so I carefully took it off and put it right back where I found it.

  70. I think the “full-sized” term makes perfect sense, if you look at it from this point of view:

    “Do you use full-sized props in your movies?”

    “No, only models.”

  71. It’s true. Men’s clothing sizes relate to actual measurements of your body parts, unless you are talking casual shirts, which suffer from a form of vanity sizing that means that I, an unusually small man, wear size L, and average size guys wear XL, while M is the same as the largest boy’s size.

    I was imagining adverts and storefronts: “Actual Size Fashions!”

  72. Nthing how gorgeous Gabby looked. Also, Queen Latifah is only “Hollywood Fat” I think, but I wanted to give her some love too. She looked radiant!

  73. Hmm. Followed the link Rose posted, and I think it broke my brain a little :/ The sane, enlightened Fat-O-Sphere and…Feminist-O-Sphere?…that are my usual internet haunts keep making me forget quite how much hate is targetted our way some times, just for daring to exist.

    Don’t know if my comment over there will make it through moderation or not, but I called her on BLATANTLY conflating Gabby with Precious – somehow she managed to avoid erasing the real person in her reviews of all the skinny actresses *eyeroll*

  74. Last night I kept thinking while watching the Oscars, “Oh, they’re all in blue. I guess they planned that!” Then I read a comment at Shakesville that pointed out they weren’t in blue, but SAPPHIRE!

    Oooooooooooooh, I get it!!!! Awesome!

    There are layers upon layers upon layers behind this.

    1. Sapphire=negative “sassy black woman” stereotype.
    2. Sapphire= author of Push.
    3. Mo’Nique, Gabby, and Mariah all wore blue probably because that’s what color Hattie McDaniel’s dress was when she won her Oscar for Gone With the Wind. That’s at least why Mo’Nique had the flowers in her hair.

  75. Mo’Nique actually received that flower she wore from one of Hattie McDaniel’s relatives…beautiful.

  76. Yeah, it’s cool that naming it ‘sapphire’ instead of “blue” just unlocked all those layers.

  77. Wow, that blog by HorribleShamer AKA Kristi was a spite-filled fest, wasn’t it. I thought Gaby looked wonderful, and that’s she’s gorgeous. I haven’t seen Precious, but I’d really like to.

  78. The Kristi blog entry was pretty awful, but a lot of commenters have called her out for it, which is nice. (I added my voice, too. Felt good.)

  79. I have to say (if anyone’s still here) I’m so disappointed by the comments on the Jezebel post (itself a good post, I thought) about Howard Stern’s fat-hating logorrhea. I mean, most of the time I love me some Jezebel, and there were plenty of totally right-on rebuttals, but there sure were a lot of concern trolls coming out of the woodwork.

  80. @ Whir – I’d be less concerned (o irony) that concern trolls exist, and are appearing in great force in the post, then if they weren’t being rebutted — which they are, by site moderators, by many commenters whose names I recognize from here, and by others.

    The trolls we shall always have with us, you know?

  81. You can see the same phenomena with Christina Hendricks – She can look fantastic, as we can see in Mad Men – but usually on the red carpet she does not look her best. Stylists don’t know how to dress her, and designers don’t line up to make her dresses.
    If you are not a size o-4, or maybe 6 if you happen to be pregnant – you might as well be a martian. Even the off-the-rack high end will not cater for you.

  82. best Jezebel comment on the Howard Stern story (I read them so you don’t have to!) – “Howard, rest assured that if Gabby had a talk show it would be 35 times better than yours”

  83. She is SO ADORABLE. I am THRILLED to see a fat celebrity spending their time having fun and talking about their future, instead of bemoaning their weight and starving themselves so they can talk about “the new me” and be even fatter a year later.

  84. I read this site regularly, and I was disappointed with the content and tone of this piece. The only way we, as a culture, are going to stop the objectification of women is to stop microanalyzing women as physical objects. Women need to stop microanalyzing other women: period. To me, this is no better than lauding or ripping apart a celebrity on a gossip site. Gabby just is, and she is beautiful no matter what she is wearing.

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