Thursday, 7 November, 2013 - 04:56

Magazine cover drama: 'plus-size' problems

by AbbeyH

The November issue of Elle magazine focused on Women in Hollywood, and chose to photograph Melissa McCarthy for the cover spread. McCarthy is plus-size, forty-three and fabulous. Having previously starred in TV series such as the Gilmore Girls, Samantha Who and most recently the hilarious Mike and Molly, this year McCarthy has been taking over Hollywood. In 2013, she has starred in Identity Thief, The Heat and the much-anticipated Hangover III.

Despite her sky-rocketing achievements, her inclusion in the fashion magazine’s Women in Hollywood issue caused controversy rather than congratulations.

Slate magazine accused Elle of intentionally hiding McCarthy’s curves by dressing her in a huge winter coat. June Thomas from Slate, started the drama:

“This year, Elle’s token plus-size cover girl is McCarthy, who was photographed in a Marina Rinaldi coat so huge that she could hide her Mike and Molly co-star Billy Gardel underneath . . . Perhaps photographer Thomas Whiteside only knows how to photograph the usual stick insect models, because he clearly has no clue how to highlight McCarthy’s curves.”

The Marina Rinaldi coat in question was actually hand-picked by McCarthy herself, who saw it for the beautiful work of design that it is. Regardless of, or perhaps because of her size, McCarthy looks completely stunning in the oversized jacket. Though a smaller model may also look good such a beautifully designed coat, this should not – and does not – take away from how great McCarthy looks in the Elle shoot.

It is ridiculous to criticize a magazine for dressing its model in a large, woollen coat – especially when the issue comes out in November! It would be neither relevant nor appropriate! Sadly, the cover has caused arguments simply because it features a plus-size woman, rather than the usual size-zero waifs that the fashion world is accustomed to. By criticizing Elle magazine for what would otherwise be a great autumn look, Slate has made a mountain out of a molehill – creating a size issue where none should have existed. Elle magazine has featured many covered-up models, particularly in their autumn editions, and none were criticized for not showing enough skin.

Does size really detract from beauty? This story has spread across every news channel and across the internet. The entire argument is unnecessary and redundant. Size does not decide; a woman can be tall, small, fat, thin, square, round and still be both beautiful and talented. Melissa McCarthy is both a beautiful woman and a woman at the height of her career. Beauty aside, it’s her success that we’re celebrating, not her size. To one of Hollywood’s favourite comedic actresses, I say CONGRATULATIONS.

Note from Editor: The model in the picture is not Melissa McCarthy. If you want to see a picture of the magazine cover that Abbey is talking about, click here

Language level

Should plus-size models be treated differently from other models? 

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