Proud2Bme | Melissa McCarthy Just Opened an Important Discussion on Women’s Body Standards

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Melissa McCarthy Just Opened an Important Discussion on Women’s Body Standards

By Kaitlin Irwin--Comedic actress Melissa McCarthy has become a popular celebrity in the body-positivity movement in Hollywood. She seems to encapsulate the “everywoman” in all of us: honest, open, and—gasp—not overly concerned with her body weight.

Even so, the actress has been looking slimmer lately, which led to one reporter asking her about her weight loss. And Melissa didn’t disappoint; she was as real as could be and she shot that reporter’s question down, saying, “If that is the most interesting thing about me, I need to go have a lavender farm in Minnesota and give this up.”

First of all, bravo Melissa McCarthy. The more women we have speaking out about this issue, the sooner it will become a non-issue. I think Melissa was totally in the right to call the reporter out. Who cares if she lost weight, gained weight or grew an extra arm? Her job isn’t to conform to female body ideals; it is to write, produce and act.

All of this discussion about an actress’ weight and body is like a self-fulfilling stereotype. If women continue to blindly accept these types of questions, it only fuels the idea that women should be critiqued on their appearance rather than on their hard work and talent.

Along with Melissa, other celebs like Jennifer Lawrence, Adele, Tyra Banks and Demi Lovato are tackling the issue of body image and beauty ideals in Hollywood and beyond. I particularly liked how Melissa went on to compare body-talk among women and men: “There are so many more intriguing things about women than their butt or their this or their that. It can’t be the first question every time, or a question at all. It’s like, can you imagine them asking some of these guys I work with, ‘How do you keep your butt looking so good?’”  While a male actor may be asked about his emotional connection to his character, a female actress is likely to be asked how she prepared her body for the role.

Moreover, when casting female characters, many scripts assign “traits” that include appearance and physical attributes, whereas male characters have actual personality traits, flaws, dreams, etc. Male celebrities get discussed in the media for how well they portrayed a persona or connected to their co-stars. The topic of discussion among female celebrities tends to focus on how they looked on-screen or what their beauty regime is. Clearly, something is messed up here.

I’m so glad that Melissa used this reporter’s absurd question to start a conversation about gender inequality. Not only are many female celebrities paid less than their male co-stars are, but women are scrutinized more for how they look on the big screen and red carpet, much more so than men. Melissa hit the nail on the head when she said, “I wish it was as fashionable to raise people up as it seems to be to take them down.” Throw as much hate and criticism at her as you want, but she’s speaking the truth and I hope that she continues to stand loud and proud. We need more celebs—male and female—to join the fight and raise their voices, too.

About the blogger: Kaitlin Irwin is a recovered anorexic who spent her college years struggling to hide her illness. With lots of support, patience and an Intensive Outpatient Program, she embraced herself, flaws and all. In her free time, she enjoys exercise, cooking and art and can usually be found with a good book, a journal or her fiancé. She hopes to use her love of creative expression to spread positivity and love to others.

Also by Kaitlin:

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