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Celebrities PopWrapped | Celebrities

Melissa McCarthy's Elle Cover Breeds Controversy Over Plus-Sized Fashion

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


10/18/2013 5:03 pm
PopWrapped | Celebrities
Melissa McCarthy's Elle Cover Breeds Controversy Over Plus-Sized Fashion
Media Courtesy of Elle

Dani Strehle

Content Editor

It’s no secret that Hollywood is about the most shallow place that ever did exist. Any actress will tell you that there is a very small window to get the desirable roles before they’re forced into playing mothers and businesswomen. In a world as cut throat as that, how does a woman who does not fit the sexy, skinny mold fare? Well, some would say, if they’re talented enough, they fare quite well. Melissa McCarthy is arguably one of the funniest women alive. I’ve adored her since she played Sookie St. James in Gilmore Girls. After her crude and hilarious role in Bridesmaids, she became Hollywood’s most desirable leading woman, despite the fact that she shops in the plus-sized section. But besides the fact that she’s beautiful, talented, endearing, hilarious, etc., many people want to harp on her size rather than her acting prowess. Last year, a smarmy critic, Rex Reed, critiqued McCarthy’s film, Identity Thief. But instead of focusing on the film, Reed decided to hone in on McCarthy’s body, comparing her to a “hippo” and stating that she was “tractor-sized;” and he finished it up by saying that McCarthy is a “gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.” First of all, I don’t know if the movie was good or not, I did not see it. But whether you approve of McCarthy’s body mass index or not, you absolutely cannot deny that she is casually, naturally, and hilariously funny. When McCarthy was asked how she felt about those comments in an interview with The New York Times, she displayed conflicted feelings. Her feelings ranged from sorrow for the critic- “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate.”- to utter incredulity- “Why would someone O.K. that?”- to genuine concern and distress for her young daughters, and girls worldwide who will be brought up in “a strange epidemic of body image and body dysmorphia.” The newest development in the incessant discussion of McCarthy’s body comes in the form of her Elle magazine cover, on which McCarthy is one of four featured covers for Elle’s “Women in Hollywood” issue. And while her fellow femmes are dressed flirty and sexy (Reese Witherspoon in a gorgeous Versace dress, Shailene Woodley in nothing but a bathing suit and gym shoes), McCarthy is covered up and then some in an oversized pea coat. Slate’s June Thomas commented that, “This year, Elle’s token plus-size cover girl is McCarthy, who was photographed in a Marina Rinaldi coat so huge that she could fit her Mike and Molly co-star Billy Gardel underneath.” “McCarthy’s hair covers a quarter of her gorgeous face, and with her hands stuffed deep into her coat pockets, the only visible flesh is a tiny triangle between the coat’s lapels and the briefest glimpse of calf. Perhaps photographer Thomas Whiteside only knows how to photograph the usual stick insect models, because he clearly has no clue how to highlight McCarthy’s curves.” Elle was quick to respond to these scathing comments, saying: “On all of our shoots, our stylists work with the stars to choose pieces they feel good in, and this is no different: Melissa loved this look, and is gorgeous on our cover. We are thrilled to honor her as one of our Women in Hollywood this year.” This isn’t the first time Elle has come under fire for their apparent sizeism. In 2010 for their 25th anniversary issue, Elle released several different covers, much like this issue. On these covers were Megan Fox, Lauren Conrad, Amanda Seyfried, and Gabourey Sidibe. Conrad, Seyfried, and Fox were given a full-body length cover shot; while Sidibe’s plus-sized frame was completely hidden below her head and shoulder shot. It is moves like this one that continue to perpetuate America’s obsession with skinny. In 2011, Melissa told The Hollywood Reporter that “Trying to find stuff that’s still fashion-forward in my size is damn near impossible. It’s either for like a 98-year-old woman or a 14-year-old hooker, and there is nothing in the middle.” So, what did she do? She began developing her own plus-sized clothing line. Unfortunately, this is still a work-in-progress, since McCarthy has been so busy filming.


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