Gigi Hadid was recently assaulted in one of the weirdest cases of celebrity stalking at Milan Fashion Week, when an individual known for these sorts of stunts literally manhandled the fashion model. While the assailant may not have intended any harm, as his subsequently released statement would indicate, there’s no way that Gigi could have known that the attack wasn’t malicious. Even if she had known, certainly it’s common sense to know touching another person without consent is a big no-no. In any case, Hadid responded by defending herself and trying to break free, an act that the media has since criticized. Now, Gigi once again defends her rights against unprovoked attacks with a little help from Lena Dunham.
Gigi Hadid Won’t Apologize For Putting Her Safety First
Bustle makes a good point in laying out how each of us is expected to conform and to apologize, whenever we deviate from the expected flow of the sheep. Even when someone is victimized, as Gigi Hadid was in Milan, society expects us to keep quiet and let it pass. This is a societal attitude that needs to change and, in challenging that expectation by fighting back against her attacker, Hadid should be applauded, not condemned.
Some are pointing to the fact that the assailant intended no harm and that he’s just a prankster commonly known for similar antics, but would those critics be singing the same song, if they had been this individual’s target, instead of Gigi? This is a point Ms. Hadid brings to our attention, as she addresses the issue in an essay published in the Lena Dunham owned Lenny Letter website.
“Honestly, I felt I was in danger, and I had every right to react the way I did.”
While many people are faulting Ms. Hadid for using excessive force in breaking free from the so-called joker, Gigi feels there’s a more important message to be learned. Her hope is that young girls, in particular, take the right message from this incident.
“If anything, I want girls to see the video and know that they have the right to fight back, too, if put in a similar situation,” writes Ms. Hadid. “Practicing self-defense is important so that when you’re in the moment, reacting from muscle memory comes more naturally to you than freezing up. Confidence in your own ability to defend yourself comes with educating yourself about it, and is a massive advantage when in an unsafe situation.”
Lena Dunham Steps Up To Support Gigi Hadid
In her editorial, Lena Dunham reacts to the video in which Gigi is seen resisting the assault with the help of her bodyguards and, as Yahoo Style observes, Dunham draws attention to the disturbing, yet growing, concept that celebrities are public property. As the internet allows for greater familiarity with our favorite actors, musicians, and models, so too comes the mistaken sense that our stars belong to each of us in a very real way.
“It is chilling to watch, in real time, the ownership a stranger seems to feel toward a body he considers public domain,” Dunham writes in Tuesday’s Lenny Letter. “But it’s also stirring: in one swift movement, without the aid of her bodyguards, Gigi makes it clear that she will not be made to feel like anyone’s property.”
Hadid took immediate control of the situation, using her elbow to pry herself from the unwanted grip. By doing this, Gigi elevated herself from victim to heroine. Whether or not the media and public approves, Ms. Hadid made a statement with her reaction and the message conveyed warns the pranksters and the assailants lurking about that people will no longer stand by to be made hapless victims. We will fight back in both words and actions. Gigi Hadid is just the first of many to take back our most basic rights.
“I just want to use what happened to me to show that it’s everyone’s right, and it can be empowering, to be able to defend yourself,” said Ms. Hadid.
[Featured Image by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images]