Why Is Melissa McCarthy The Face Of Body Positivity And Not Gabourey Sidibe?

May 22, 2015  |  

According to Yahoo News, comedic actress Melissa McCarthy had to set a critic straight after he made some unflattering comments about her once in a movie review.

The revelation came during an appearance on “The Ellen Show,” where in the midst of the interview, McCarthy began to talk about an unnamed film critic who wrote in his review of her 2014 film Tammy that she was a good actress, but only when she looks attractive. Furthermore, this scoundrel of a human being called her “heinous.”

And as reported by Yahoo News:

“When McCarthy, learned in the midst of their conversation, that the critic had a daughter, she told him, ‘When I said, If she comes home and someone says you can’t have a job because you’re unattractive,’ are you gonna say, ‘That’s right?’” And he took that in his heart and he was like, ‘No, I would never want that to happen. I would never in a million years want that to happen.’ And I said, ‘Just know that every time you write stuff, every young girl in this country reads that and they just get a little bit chipped away.”

McCarthy was quick to point out that she truly thinks that this unnamed critic is a kind person and loving father, but that his review spoke to a bigger problem we as a nation are facing, “I just think that we tear down women in this country for all these superficial reasons, and women are so great and strong.”

As noted by Salon.com, this isn’t the first time a critic decided to attack the actress based upon her appearance, in particular a New York Observer critic who once called her a “female hippo” while reviewing her film, Identity Thief.

McCarthy has been getting lots of play around the Internet from various mainstream news and gossip sites, calling her confrontation anything from “graceful” by Page Six to “Nailed It” by the blog Mary Sue. And good for her for sticking up for herself, and all women, against these ridiculous sexist comments.

However, reading all of this praise being rightfully levied upon McCarthy, I am reminded of what Jill Andrew, co-founder of the blog Fat in the City and the Body Confidence Awards, said in a previous article I wrote entitled, The Fight For Inclusion Within The Plus-Size Revolution.

Basically:

“The whole thing reminds me of the second wave of feminist movements where Black and other -isms were pushed to the margins in favor of the interests of white women. I mean look how Gabby Sidibe is mocked and what not, although she is very comfortable in her weight and yet [actress and comedian] Melissa McCarthy gets to be the face of the body acceptance movement. Why is it okay for the Black woman’s body to be the sickly pathologized body, but the white female body is this new wave of feminist empowerment?”

In short, Sidibe has faced lots of fat-shaming from Howard Stern to people on Twitter. And like McCarthy she has been the most graceful about it all, including an incredible powerful speech at the Gloria Awards and Gala, in which she said:

“How are you so confident?” “I’m an asshole!” Okay? It’s my good time, and my good life, despite what you think of me. I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. I show up because I’m an asshole, and I want to have a good time. And my mother and my father love me. They wanted the best life for me, and they didn’t know how to verbalize it. And I get it. I really do. They were better parents to me than they had themselves. I’m grateful to them, and to my fifth grade class, because if they hadn’t made me cry, I wouldn’t be able to cry on cue now. [Dabs tears] If I hadn’t been told I was garbage, I wouldn’t have learned how to show people I’m talented. And if everyone had always laughed at my jokes, I wouldn’t have figured out how to be so funny. If they hadn’t told me I was ugly, I never would have searched for my beauty. And if they hadn’t tried to break me down, I wouldn’t know that I’m unbreakable. [Dabs tears] So when you ask me how I’m so confident, I know what you’re really asking me: how could someone like me be confident? Go ask Rihanna, asshole!”

My Dawg. Yet we tend not to see her as this empowering figure in the body positivity movement like we do McCarthy. I would like to say that this is a mainstream problem, but even among our community we don’t give her credit for her confidence. In short, I think that is kind of messed up.

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