CNN is reporting that plus-sized women are more accepted on TV than ever. In an interesting turn of cultural events, more shows featuring larger women are making a big impact — particularly if producers use the fact that the woman is anything but stick thin in order to promote interest in the show. CNN reports on how a woman of color featured in the MTV reality series “Chelsea Settles” is leading this new trend in size acceptance:
When a 324-pound Chelsea Settles moved to Los Angeles, she brought a bikini-clad mannequin along to inspire her to lose weight.
Now, as the first season of “Chelsea Settles” unfolds on MTV, the mannequin in the 23-year-old reality star’s bedroom is nothing more than a functional statement piece. Doubling as a coat rack and guitar stand — “It’s definitely not what it was when I first started,” Settles says.
And Settles’ reality show, originally marketed as a weight loss/transformation series, has progressed right along with her.
The pilot, which focused on Settles’ measurements and eating habits, gave way to less weight-fixated second and third episodes about a college graduate trying to make it in a new city. [...]
Failing to point out a plus-size character’s weight is like — for lack of a better idiom — ignoring the elephant in the room, one TV insider said. But once weight is discussed, storylines can unfold naturally, allowing viewers to get to know the person behind the plus-size label.
That’s certainly been true for CBS’s hit show “Mike & Molly,” which originally took heat for leaning on fat jokes. Now, in its second season, the sitcom draws laughs with family and relationship humor. [...]
So is Hollywood evolving to be more accepting of the overweight?
It certainly appears that way.
Now “Mike & Molly” star Melissa McCarthy is parlaying her success into screenplay sales, hawking TV pilot scripts, and even the creation of a plus-sized fashion line. You go girl!
Of course, celebrating and enjoying the plus-sized woman is nothing new for blacks. Our icons have always been curvy, and figures such as Mo’Nique, the old Star Jones, and even Aretha Franklin have been revered despite not appearing to be anorexic. It is really the mainstream standard of beauty that has required a woman to be adolescent in proportions to be considered fabulous. Black women have always known that beauty comes in all sizes.
Yet again, our aesthetic style is being “discovered” by the mainstream and enjoyed as if it is something new.