Gigi Hadid set an example for women everywhere when she elbowed Vitalii Sediuk in the face in Milan last week, and she’s so done with the media criticising her reaction.
For some context (and in case you missed the viral incident), Gigi stopped to take pictures with fans after she left a show in Milan when ‘prankster’ Vitalii grabbed Gigi from behind, holding down her arms as he lifted her in the air. Terrifying for any women, especially one in the public eye where celebrity obsessions can be a by-product of Instafame.
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Instead of praising Gigi for pulling an elbow free and physically defending herself as she was pretty much assaulted, one media outlet ran with the headline ‘Not model behavior. Gigi aggressively lashes out and elbows fan in the face after he tries to pick her up’. Unsurprisingly, Gigi was not pleased.
Speaking to Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter, Gigi says it ‘felt slow-mo to look at him, a stranger’. Her first reaction? ‘ “Get me out of this situation.” I started boxing two years ago and I always remembered that’, saying that the situation forced her to fight back.
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Gigi also says that she hopes her actions encourage other girls to know they have to right to fight back if they’re in danger, ‘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.’
Speaking of that headline, Gigi says it’s the moment she ‘really got pissed’ about the whole situation: ‘First of all, it was a woman who wrote the story with that headline. What would you tell your daughter to do? When my mom first saw what had happened, she texted me the picture of me elbowing the guy and (among other messages of support) said, “Good girl.” My mom has taught me the power of my instincts since I was a kid.’
Writing on the incident, Lena Dunham stated ‘The video is equal measures upsetting and empowering. It is chilling to watch, in real time, the ownership a stranger seems to feel toward a body he considers public domain. 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.’
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Of the headline? Lena dismays the fact that ‘the Internet attempted to paint Gigi as rude, bratty, and ungrateful for the blessing of fan attention. The logic behind that response seemed to be that because she has chosen to have a public-facing career…she has also implicitly asked to be manhandled. As unfortunate as the incident was, seeing someone like Gigi wield her elbow without hesitation is so essential to her young female fans, many of whom may have their own experiences of unwanted contact’.
In a world where women walk with their keys between their fingers and are too scared to walk home alone at night, shouldn’t we be encouraging self defence? Have your say below. Read Gigi’s full response on Lenny.