Why she thought this was a good idea, we’ll never know, but 37-year-old white-Jewish comedian Julie Klausner blasted 19-year-old Zendaya Coleman’s weight in a series of tweets, saying she had starved herself down to the size of one of Giuliana Rancic’s elbows.
All of this was prompted by Zendaya’s weekend appearance at the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards. The young actress, who won favorite female TV star, wore a spaghetti strapped dress that showed off her naturally thin figure.
Zendaya responded swiftly on Twitter with a message of body-positivity;
Klausner’s criticism of Zendaya is twisted for sooooo many reasons.
First off, the ‘bony is beautiful’ movement was not born out of African American culture and is not perpetuated by it. And this is not to dismiss the many African American women who do struggle with eating orders, particularly bulimia. But, on a macro scale, the pursuit of bony hips and collarbone is a dangerous white beauty standard that associates extreme skinniness with attractiveness.
Does Zendaya benefit from Hollywood’s favoring of slender women? Certainly! But Hollywood is itself shaped by white folks. Klausner would do well to turn the lens inward and begin a dialogue within her own culture.
Second, Zendaya has been vocal about the danger of unhealthy beauty standards.
Back in October, she chose to speak out after discovering a magazine had photoshopped her already-thin frame to be even slimmer. She posted the following photo to her Instagram page with the caption;
“Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19 year old hips and torso quite manipulated. These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic (right side) and I love it Thank you @modelistemagazine for pulling down the images and fixing this retouch issue.”
She also spoke out last year when critics called her father ugly.
“Nobody’s ugly! That doesn’t exist. I say, take the time to get to know who you are. Take the time to love yourself, and everything will be alright.”
Third, it is obvious that Zendaya is a naturally tall and slender woman! She has been in the public eye since 2010 when she was cast in the Disney series Shake it Up and her figure hasn’t changed much since then. She is 5 foot 10 and just naturally shaped like a runway model.
Finally, this is not the first time that Klausner has trolled a prominent black woman. The pilot episode of her Hulu show Difficult People centers on a joke about Blue Ivy being peed on by R. Kelly. Ugh.
Zendaya’s fans gave Klausner an education on Twitter and the comedian, though defiant, did say that she would proceed with more caution in the future.
And let’s hope she does, because this was not a good look.