The Melissa McCarthy Era

When Melissa McCarthy was on the cover of ELLE looking flawless, I thought for sure we had entered The Melissa McCarthy Era, only we were not routing out Communists, just people who didn’t have anything nice to say about overweight people. Now that fat is fabulous (to some) I intend to keep spinning and eating well because whether you think “thin is not in”, you’re wrong. It always will be. Not that there’s anything wrong with being fat…well…besides all the things that are unhealthy about being fat.

As an ex-fatty, I have mixed feelings about the recent hubbub surrounding the new fat covergirls of Sports Illustrated. I get it, but maybe they could have worn a one piece bathing suit for that cover shoot. Or a beach muumuu? A recent article about fat shaming in the gay community had me wonder, “What will all those “bears” do now?” Is having a belly yesterday’s (2,000 calorie) breakfast? Is IHOP’s All You Can Eat Pancakes campaign…toast?

Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy looking fierce.


Can we all agree that Melissa McCarthy looks fantastic on the cover of Elle – The Women In Hollywood Issue? No? You mean there is a Greek Chorus of hypocrites that refuse to accept what we can all see and take at face value…that Melissa looks fierce? No one except maybe Melissa, her publicist and Robbie Myers, the editor-in-chief of Elle are as confused as I am at the controversy–specifically the barrage of negative comments–that the picture of the zaftig, talented Ms. McCarthy has stirred up.

Speaking of McCarthy, this brouhaha has an eerie similarity to the McCarthy Era of the 1950′s. Hear me out, I know it’s a stretch but…

Critics of the Elle cover are crying foul and here’s a new expression for me….”fat-shaming”. As someone who was once fat, actually rotund, we who live the rest of our lives with the insecurities that comes with the territory do not need the added judgment from others–others meaning those who might not even be fat-to lament on the hypocrisy of Elle because they don’t appreciate the way Melissa looks, maybe not looks but how she is “represented” in the photo. Is there an unwritten law that says one is not allowed to wear a coat when appearing on the cover of a fashion magazine? What was most disturbing was the tweet from the Curvy Exchange, a community that buys and sells plus-sized schmattas. Just because a bunch of fatties have weighed in–perhaps even tipping the scale–on how wrong Elle was to feature Ms. McCarthy in a beautiful, charcoal coat does not justify any of the negative feedback. How dare they or anyone take this moment away from Melissa. These social media climbers are imposing their self-righteous beliefs that they can critique others at will, which actually comes off as a projection of their own issues, insecurities and has an undercurrent of petty jealousy. I mean, even Oprah and Jennifer Hudson had to lose a bunch of weight they made it to the cover of Vogue.

McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty or subversion without proper regard for evidence. It seems to me that Melissa McCarthy is being accused of disloyalty to a faction of women who have made their weight a political issue. As though body weight has become the body politic. Elle’s dynamic choice of putting Melissa on the cover is such a win for plus-sized community that any other reaction besides Bravo! is simply unacceptable. The other celebrities featured on the alternate Elle Women in Hollywood covers include Reese Witherspoon in a form-fitted dress, Shailene Woodley in a bathing suit and Penelope Cruz showing only her beautiful face from the neck up. Since Penelope just had a baby, she probably opted for the close-up. Where is the outrage from the new mothers who are resentful of Penelope for not highlighting the baby weight that she must have gained? What’s next, an open letter from the La Leche League berating Ms. Cruz for not being like Kim Kardashian and sharing every inch of her post baby being?

What takes a lifetime to accomplish, such as being relevant enough to grace the cover of a coveted spot on a fashion magazine should not be criticized by anyone. Fat, skinny or otherwise. Accusing Elle of a double standard for having Melissa covered up with a coat is a double standard in and of itself. Needless to say that the November issue of the magazine is when you would expect a coat to be featured. Coats are the big item of the season, especially this year when “The Coat” was one of the top trends as per all the editorial coverage from the global fashion weeks. No, I am not going to get into a screed of how silly calling “The Coat” a trend is because I have bigger fish to fry, such as the fatheads who are haters of the Melissa McCarthy cover.

Far be it from me to tell anyone how to live their life, but in this case where Melissa is being condemned for being fabulous, I have to put my foot down and hold up a mirror (especially one that doesn’t make you look fat) to anyone who says “boo” about this magazine cover.

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