Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan has an extremely reasonable request for fans and followers: “If you have an opinion about my body please, please don’t share it with me.”
In an Instagram post shared on Monday, Coughlan told her followers that while she recognizes that “most people are being nice and not trying to be offensive,” she’s “just one real life human being and it’s really hard to take the weight of thousands of opinions on how you look being sent directly to you every day.”
Coughlan recognizes that she’s a public figure regularly on television, which invites people to want to say things, but simply asks that “you not send it to me directly.”
I feel exhausted for Coughlan for needing to write this Instagram caption—I can only imagine that it was prompted by masses of well-meaning but probably invasive and personal comments on her body and appearance. Last fall, Jonah Hill similarly explained to fans who “mean well” that “it’s not helpful and doesn’t feel good” to receive comments of any kind on his body. It’s objectively weird to try to make celebrities into body positivity symbols without their consent and yet our culture does it on a daily basis.
Outside of Coughlan and Hill, we’ve seen this with other celebrities like Adele and Rebel Wilson; both women’s weight loss have seemingly ushered in more commentary and headlines than their music or films respectively. Wilson specifically noted in an interview that she had “like, four movies come out, two which I produced and one, ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ which got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture” in 2019 and “yet I get more press the following year when I do nothing except lose weight... People are so obsessed with it.”
At the end of the day, in a time period defined by such fickle beauty standards, everyone is wrangling with their own insecurities. Complimenting or even just commenting on an actor’s looks as if there’s a “correct” body type can be as harmful as negative comments. So, if you’d be uncomfortable or offended by a rando commenting “you’re so brave to post this!” on your Instagram posts, maybe this is a sign to not do it to other people, no matter how famous they are? Celebs are people too, who’d have thought?!