Sunday, October 20, 2013

We're Missing The Point In The McCarthy-Elle Matter

That rattling sound you hear is me shaking my head over this headline-grabbing controversy over actress Melissa McCarthy's photo on the cover of Elle Magazine.  In case you're not up to snuff, Ms. McCarthy posed for the publication as part of their Women In Hollywood campaign as did fellow thespians Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley.  The latter two wore skimpy clothing for their shoots while the rounder Ms. McCarthy was photographed in a coat which she supposedly picked out.  Critics are slamming her fashion choice because they claim it sends a negative message.  

Ok, so let me get this straight:  an actress is choosing NOT to parade around showing a lot of flesh and people are pissed?

Apparently one former model thought Ms. McCarthy missed a chance to represent all the Ruebenesque girls of the world.  Other critics are calling the cover "fat-shaming," reinforcing the notion that people who are fat should be embarrassed by their bodies.  Elle is defending the cover saying , again, that Ms. McCarthy herself decided to what to wear. 

I'm stumped.  For years we've heard that it's disgusting to have semi-naked women parading about on the covers of magazines.  Studies have shown that it sends a negative message to young girls about the "necessity" of being thin and reinforces the image of women as sex-objects.  That's bad, right?  I also get fact that there's a parity perception issue, as in how come the thin ladies are showing flesh and Ms. McCarthy can't? 

Reality Check:  this is not a question of "can't" but a decision of "won't."  The comedian, a presumably intelligent woman who is also a mother, made a sound, mature choice.  She chose how her body would be represented on the cover of a major magazine for all the world, including her kids, to see.  She decided that the coat she's wearing is more flattering than anything skimpy.  She was comfortable in it and chose to wear it for a photograph.  She decided how SHE wanted to present herself to the world.  What's wrong with that? 

Apparently critics are mad that Ms. McCarthy did not capitalize on an opportunity to represent all of the overweight people in the world.  Why should she have to?  Having a podium doesn't mean you automatically have to use it.  Expecting her to allow herself to be deified as an overweight person just because she happens to be one is stupid.  Ms. McCarthy doesn't have to do anything she doesn't want to.    What happened to freedom of choice?

This is an actress who, if truth be told, looks more like the average American woman than any other female gracing a magazine cover.  Instead of looking at the cover of Elle and asking "why isn't she dressed like a tart," let's marvel at the fact that a major magazine is finally embracing a talented woman who looks like more than a stick figure.   If we feel it necessary, let's point that cover out to other curvy young girls and say, "Look!  Doesn't she look great?  You don't have to be skinny and half-naked in order to garner attention.  You can just be yourself."  And let's appreciate the talent of Ms. McCarthy who is worthy of being honored as one of the Women In Hollywood while respecting her personal choice not to parade around in almost nothing. 


Thank you for reading!   I promise I'll review SOMETHING in my next post, so stay tuned....

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