Being Plus Size Has Nothing To Do With Melissa McCarthy’s Success, Got It?!


Wanna know one of our dreams for the future? We’d like to live in a world where actresses like Melissa McCarthy aren’t described as the “unlikely leading lady” (Wall Street Journal) and “rare female star” (Los Angeles Times). Why are these seemingly positive phrases actually a negative thing? Because we all know the meaning between the lines: critics and pundits are shocked that a woman of Melissa’s size (which she is awesomely unapologetic about) could be so popular in mainstream entertainment.

But if there is one person who isn’t fazed by the snarky comments in regard to her body shape, it is McCarthy herself. In 2013 a movie critic reviewed her film ‘Identity Thief’ and basically called her a chubby one-hit talentless wonder. Melissa’s reaction. She laughed, and thought it was sad that someone makes a living off saying negative things about others.

Not too long ago she told Redbook magazine that no designer wanted to dress her for the 2012 Oscars, which prompted her to design a clothing range herself because she knew there were many other women out there who had probably gone through the same ordeal.

Meanwhile, aside from a few negative mishaps courtesy of other idiotic people, Melissa has been going from strength to strength, and A-list movie to A-list movie: ‘Bridesmaids’, the aforementioned ‘Identity Thief’, ‘The Heat’, and now her latest ‘Tammy’. Clearly her plus size-edness is not a hindrance to her at all.

So why do people feel the need to have to point it out whenever they mention her career? It’s as if a woman has to be put into some “special circumstance” category if she is plus size AND successful. Melissa doesn’t like that, and while in the majority of interviews she portrays someone who is very confidence when it comes to her body image, she brought this particular point up with People magazine recently.

“I’ve never felt like I needed to change,” she says. “I’ve always thought, ‘If you want somebody different, pick somebody else.’ But sure, criticism can sometimes still get to me. Some things are so malicious, they knock the wind out of you.”


A recent reference to her as ‘America’s plus-size sweetheart’ in an article did not go unnoticed. “It’s like I’m managing to achieve all this success in spite of my affliction … Would you ever put that in the headline for a male star?”

She also got a little candid about her journey to self-acceptance.

“In my 20s I used to cry about why I wasn’t thinner or prettier, but I want to add that I also used to cry about things like: ‘I wish my hair would grow faster. I wish I had different shoes …I was an idiot … It’s a decade of tears.”

“I’m completely delighted by people who think, ‘I don’t care what anybody else thinks, I look great in this, and I rock it and I love it.’ It’s such a delightful sort of confidence.”

Clearly this brand of confidence is working for her, because according to the Wall Street Journal, “the 43 year old mother of two also is the first female comedic movie actor in decades to reach the A-list without making her name in a big-screen romantic comedy. That ushers her into an exclusive sorority including Whoopi Goldberg and Bette Midler.”

So why did they feel the need to label her an “unlikely leading lady”? Couldn’t they have just called her a trailblazer and pioneer for other women in the biz instead?

In an interview with the LA Times she talks about a scene in ‘Tammy’ where her character has a makeover, and why she was very particular about what it portrayed.

“I did not want a makeover scene,” McCarthy said. “I didn’t want her to be better because she suddenly looked a certain way…. It’s not that if you were prettier you would be a better human. I talked to [costume designer] Wendy Chuck. I said, ‘If we give her a makeover it will hurt my heart. I just think that will imply that “Now she’s fixed.”‘ There’s nothing wrong with her in that way.”

So just to wrap up and reiterate, size has nothing to do with Melissa McCarthy or anyone else’s achievements. Let’s celebrate women regardless of physical appearance, because in case the media has forgotten (or was never told) a woman’s worth is not based on what they look like.



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