Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan's Claps Back to Bodyshaming
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Nicola Coughlan’s Response To Boring, Backhanded Body-Shaming Is Too Perfect (And Hilarious) For Words

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By now, Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan is known for being as funny off-screen as she was on the Netflix hit Derry Girls. Her winning sense of humour was given a rather unfortunate test last week, however, when a shady accolade was thrown Coughlan’s way. During a Q&A in Dublin about Bridgerton’s third season, a male journalist commented that she was “very brave” to play the role of Penelope Featherington. (I somehow thought we, as a society, had officially established that it’s (1) rude and (2) boring to call people – especially non-straight-size women – brave for daring to show their bodies, but apparently not?)

Coughlan responded to the journalist’s weird statement with a series of bon mots so brilliantly funny that I’m kicking myself for not coming up with them first: “You know, it is hard because I think women with my body type – women with perfect breasts – we don’t get to see ourselves onscreen enough,” she said. “And I’m very proud as a member of the perfect breasts community. I hope you enjoy seeing them.” Not only did the response feel spiritually related to my favourite Reneé Rapp lyric (“I just want some recognition for having good tits and a big heart”), but it was also a perfect way to move the conversation along – and make the rest of the audience laugh – without actually having to engage with a man who seems to think the most courageous thing a woman can do is display the body she was born in. Nicola Coughlan for president!

On this point, I’m afraid I’m going to have to cite one Ms Lena Dunham, who once wrote of spotlighting her nude, non-size 0 body onscreen: “It’s not brave to do something that doesn’t scare you. I’d be brave to skydive. To visit a leper colony. To argue a case in the United States Supreme Court or go to a CrossFit gym. Performing in sex scenes that I direct, exposing a flash of my weird puffy nipple, those things don’t fall into my zone of terror.” I really don’t know if appearing naked on Bridgerton falls into Coughlan’s own zone of terror, but as a fat person myself and someone equipped with a general ability to understand subtext, I can definitely glean that she seems pretty done answering questions about her body. Maybe it’s time for all of us – rando male journalists in particular – to stop asking them.

This article was originally published on British Vogue.

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