Belfast Telegraph

'All my work was reduced to a hurtful word': Derry Girls actor responds to fat-shame review

Nicola Coughlan as Clare in Derry Girls
Nicola Coughlan as Clare in Derry Girls

Derry Girls actress Nicola Coughlan has penned an article hitting back at a recent fat-shaming theatre review in which her character was described as "an overweight little girl", and questioned how society judges women's bodies.

Earlier this month the actor, originally from Galway, received an apology from the British Theatre Guide over the comment made in a review by Philip Fisher of The Prime of Mrs Jean Brodie.

An extract of the review tweeted out by Ms Coughlan received thousands of retweets and favourites, with Ms Coughlan receiving backing from people on Twitter and her fellow actors.

Writing in the Guardian on Friday, Ms Coughlan said: "Everything I’d done to create my character had been reduced to a hurtful word and casual comment on my appearance.

"It’s worth noting that at no point in Spark’s novel, or David Harrower’s adaptation is Joyce Emily’s weight referenced, not one place."

She noted she had decided to tweet out her response to the review as the same reviewer had previously described her as a "fat girl" in a play last year, something which was dealt with by directly contacting the British Theatre Guide.

"I am not someone who cannot handle criticism, but if I wanted to read cruel things about myself I’d head to YouTube’s comments section under a Derry Girls video and fill my boots (it truly is the armpit of the internet)," she said.

"This is different. Fisher is a professional; he was meant to review my work. Instead he reviewed my body. That is not acceptable."

She added that there was "something in our society" that says "women's bodies are fair game for scrutiny in a way that men's simply are not".

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