Worrying About Your Weight Is So 10 Years Ago

It seems like Rebel Wilson is doing pretty well onscreen, too – while she called herself “Fat Amy” is the recent teen film Pitch Perfect, she was also surrounded by throngs of adoring men. And while lots of people have questioned Megan Fox’s inclusion on the recent cover of Vanity Fair, no one questioned Melissa McCarthy’s.

melissa mccarthy vanity fair

Admittedly, they put her in a weak costume, but all the costumes on the Vanity Fair cover seem kind of weird. I don’t even really know exactly what’s going on there.

It seems pretty clear that, if you are a woman who is slightly overweight, you can still have a career. And not just a career where you’re the butt of jokes (which is a big difference from 20 years ago where a show like Rosanne would be driven largely by making fun of the woman’s appearance). A great career, and one in which, if you are in films, you are portrayed as being desirable and worthy of love.

I do realize that there are people who think that:

“Its undeniable that when we stand a skinny, athletic or even average sized female next to a larger (even if less healthy, overweight or obese) female, that unless we live outside of this stigma, we as Americans will assume that the heavier person is funnier, smarter, nicer, and less sexually promiscuous, all because she is not as thin or physically fit than the girl next to her.

Right, yes, that’s actually very deniable, because that woman is a crazy person. I’m not saying that we live in this woman’s bizarre notion of the world. But I do think that gaining weight does not mean that you can’t be in the public eye. Moreover, for really the first time, it means you can be in the public eye without being an object of ridicule, or having your entire plotline revolve around your weight.

In the recent past, even women as accomplished as Oprah were remembered as much for battling with their weight as their other accomplishments (how many diets was Oprah on? It seems uncountable). Today, it’s okay for women to say that they’re not really interested in hitting the gym, because you can still be a protagonist without hitting the gym.

And that’s fantastic. I mean, we’re not there yet, but maybe we’re entering an age where we can all relax a bit and start eating actual ice cream instead of frozen yogurt.

Picture via The Mindy Project, Vanity Fair

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    • Amanda

      You’re missing the point. Being thin is a positive thing for a reason. We need to start looking at the negative health effects of being overweight and not looking at this as a final freedom to be content with excess pounds. Staying within a healthy weight range (not too thin or overweight) and taking on healthy habits to maintain it is smart and it should be everyone’s goal in order to avoid health problems in the future. Just because our society has become more open to varying body types, does not mean that we should lose sight of the health benefits of staying fit.

      • Larissa

        There’s a difference between being healthy and fit, and being thin. I’m an athlete and a solid, you-can-bounce-a-quarter-off-my-ass size 8. I am, according to my doctors, in great health. But when I was an actress, that wasn’t considered thin enough by pretty much everyone. So while I agree with what you’re saying to a point, I think we’re talking about the positivity of straying from the media’s version of thin. Not everyone is supposed to be thin. It’s about being the healthiest version of your body type.

      • Amanda

        I understand where you’re coming from, being fit but not a size 2, but I guess what I am saying is that we should be focusing on and promoting being fit as a society. You can very much tell if someone is fit or not, regardless of their dress size in pictures and film. The title of this article suggests that worrying about your weight is a thing of the past, but it should be a constant as our society also shifts toward becoming healthier.

      • Breezy

        I guess I have a problem with designated what “should be everyone’s goal.” I think blankety prescribe life goals for all of mankind is an issue. A person’s level of fitness is between he or she and their physician.

        Also, you may think you can look at someone and tell whether or not they are healthy, but a lot of times you would be wrong. People have different metabolisms, different conditions, different lifestyles. Lots of research to back this up. Furthermore, a person’s health involves more than what they eat and do. Stress could kill you a lot quicker than a few extra pounds. Emotional health, environmental health, sexual health, and so on all factor in to a person’s overall well-being.

        So no, being thin is not a positive thing for a reason. It puts undue pressure (which, as mentioned, is unhealthy) on primarily women. Women who I believe should have the right to decide for themselves what healthy means to them and how they want to pursue it.

    • Jori

      Every year, since Americans have been expanding, an article comes out saying the same thing, so i wouldn’t hold my breath…..

    • Elle

      I watched the Mindy Project for the first time tonight and couldn’t help but noticing that they put her in some god awful outfits. It seems like they are trying to cover up every inch of her, and make her look extra frumpy-high waisted, high necked, totally unflattering clothing. Like she isn’t allowed to be sexy. I hardly call the Vanity Fair cover a success either. 3 women-2 in sexy clothing, seductive sex kittenish poses, front and center. Then you have Melissa, almost obscured in the background, wearing a ridiculous, baggy body covering outfit and screaming like the stereotypical “angry fat chick”. The world has a looooooooooong way to go

      • mary

        She is the main producer/writer of the show. I believe she has final say in what she wears and that is just how she chooses to dress

    • Kat

      I’m very heartened to see more roles for thick, plump and fat women. At the same time, America is currently in the grip of a relentless and dogmatic wave of fat-phobia, as witnessed by some of the comments below. And I think the author must have never watched Rosanne, which was an unbelievably progressive feminist show that was in no way “driven largely by making fun of the woman’s appearance.” I recommend watching the entire series.