Melissa McCarthy is my spirit animal. She, and a host of other brilliant, badass ladies are slowly conquering the male-dominated mountain that is modern comedy, and for that I am eternally grateful. Her growing resume speaks for itself, from hosting Saturday Night Live three times to her hilarious performances in blockbusters like The Heat and her upcoming film Tammy (opening July 2nd). She has asserted herself as a comedy powerhouse and rightfully so; however, she must still deal with a sort of media backlash that few other leading ladies have to deal with on the reg.
Since her breakout performance in Bridesmaids, there has been no shortage of articles discussing McCarthy's weight and its role in her career. In interviews, it is clear that the subject is no longer a pressing issue for her, stating in Us Weekly that, "parts of my twenties, I was in great shape, but I didn't appreciate it... Now I feel like I have two great kids and the dreamiest husband on the planet, and everything else is just a work in progress." I like to think of her positive mental attitude as a figurative middle finger toward Hollywood's compulsive obsession with body image. She's awesome despite the fact that she doesn't fit into a size two.
Apparently, this is more of a deal breaker for many international fashion labels. Two years ago, after approaching several designers to create a custom Oscars dress for her, McCarthy encountered unexpected resistance. She told IndieWire, "I couldn't find anybody to do a dress for me. I asked five or six designers--very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people-- and they all said no." Since attending awards ceremonies is required of many actresses, a lack of outfit choices is a pretty big problem. You can't exactly walk down the red carpet naked (although that depends on who you ask).
For millions of women, the struggle to find proper fitting clothes isn't limited to glamorous events or Hollywood parties. The questionable niche market for "plus-size" clothing often falls short on construction and fabric quality. Any woman, regardless of her measurements, knows how much it sucks to try on pair after pair of pants/shirts/skirts/jackets that just don't fall right on her body, even if the tag claims it's made for a woman her size. And in many stores, if the sizing goes up, the availability goes down. We all need to be able to try and rock the harem pants trend, okay?!
So Melissa McCarthy, being the rad, empowered chick that she is, has teamed up with designer Daniella Pearl, who designed her 2011 Emmy dress (seen above), to create a line of plus-size clothing for the mainstream market. I hope that the high fashion world will get a clue and realize that shunning women of a certain size is both disrespectful and idiotic, especially considering the average waist of their potential customer is 37.5 inches. A size two is 25 inches. That's a pretty big gap between the reality of American women's bodies and what is readily available to purchase. More women need to follow McCarthy's lead and speak up about discrimination in the fashion world, so that everyone can dress herself with confidence and style.
And keep in mind, dear designers, that dressing the fabulous Melissa McCarthy is a privilege, not a chore. You should be so lucky that she chooses you to wear to her next premiere.
Images c/o: The Washington Post, GQ, biggirlrunway.com