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tiktok bridgerton nicola coughlan
Screengrab via TikTok/@happypancake234

‘Obviously the writer is blind’: ‘Bridgerton’ review that body-shamed Nicola Coughlan is ripped to shreds by people with actual taste

In this, the year of our lord 2024??

It is a startling day to learn that some people take a story about unapologetic love and turn it ugly. Bridgerton is not about realism, but escapism in its purest form. 

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The Regency series takes an era that was purely about selling women essentially as livestock and creates a world full of true love. Unfortunately, this message is lost on some people. And even more egregious, it’s lost on industry professionals with no sense of media literacy. To even give this writer the space to air her vitriol is unfortunate, but alas, we must. One author’s following comment is just one of many shocking nonsensical statements made about Bridgerton’s star, Nicola Coughlan:

“She is not hot, and there is no escaping it, as I was reminded recently when she graced Harper’s Bazaar’s cover in a fabulous outfit that still did not change her not-hotness.”

Bridgerton’s ethereal lead of season 3 was the target of hateful body shaming in a recent article for The Spectator. Writer Zoe Strimpel roasted season 3 of the series, not because of any writing choices, but because casting a plus-sized woman in a lead role was “unrealistic.” And it wasn’t just a throwaway line in the article that is easily glossed over. In a recent TikTok video, @happypancake234, noted that the writer called Coughlan fat no less than 7 times in some truly out-of-pocket “reporting.”

To start, hateful rhetoric like this is exactly why we need more female characters like Penelope. Beginning her debut social season as a wallflower, Penelope comes into her own and has a career at a time when women had very few options. The beauty of Bridgerton is that Penelope’s weight never holds her back and doesn’t stop her from finding love.  Calling someone too fat to be worthy of love is fatphobic, but it also preaches a dangerous precedent that people who finally see themselves represented on screen are worthy of monstrous treatment. It is exactly the type of conversation that made this author think she was unworthy of love far too late in life. 

@happypancake234 goes on to hypothesize that this is the type of self-hatred that many women struggle with, stating that some are: “told that your weight was the reason that no one wanted to date you.” Though it is unfair to theorize about what exactly Strimple was experiencing or thinking to write such aggressive content, it is safe to say that this article shouldn’t even be considered journalism. Especially when she published a follow-up article doubling down on her previous comments. Luckily, there are many ready to go to the mat for Coughlan

Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan is her own hero

@happypancake is the first to defend Coughlan in her video, stating: “I will never understand why some women are the first to tear other women down.” She was joined by a chorus of commenters who were outraged at the article. Many chimed in with various takes on the subject. 

“I literally wrote a SCATHING White Lady Email to The Spectator at 9am on a Saturday,” commented Sara Anne, to which many responded in agreement, saying they had done the same.

“I feel like that article should have been a session with her therapist rather than a published article,” retorted Toia be reading. Others simply posted support for Coughlan and how much they appreciated her. But by far, the best responses were the more humorous ones.

“I thought Rory Gilmore wrote it,” posted mayars. This comment refers to the uncomfortably aged Gilmore Girls episode where Rory (Alexis Bledel) – an aspiring journalist, no less – writes a review of a ballet, critiquing a dancer’s weight. This episode is an unfortunate reflection of the type of white feminism that Gilmore Girls — and apparently writers in 2024 — are known for. On one hand, some women will preach the merits of female liberation while still eviscerating other women. Tragically, Coughlan has to endure this kind of speech, but as we all know, she needs no defender.

Coughlan has been vocal about her confidence, previously stating in an interview with Stylist that she requested a nude scene in the third season to make a point to all the bodyshamers, per Buzzfeed News. The actor is a role model for many women who want to be represented on screen. 

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Carolyn Jenkins
Carolyn's passion for television began at a young age, which quickly led her to higher education. Earning a Bachelors in Screenwriting and Playwriting and a Masters in Writing For Television, she can say with confidence that she's knowledgable in many aspects of the entertainment industry as a freelance writer for We Got This Covered. She has spent the past 5 years writing for entertainment beats including horror, franchises, and YA drama.