Recently Madame Noire Magazine asked the question WHY IS MELISSA MCCARTHY THE FACE OF BODY POSITIVITY AND NOT GABOUREY SIDIBE?
It’s a fair question and I’m going to hazard my own guess. Melissa’s good fatty to Gabourey’s unapologetic fatty makes for better Hollywood stories. Society and the media love fat people as long as they’re trying to lose weight and conform to what is considered aesthetically pleasing. Recent articles on Melissa’s new movie, Spy, gushed more about her weight loss than her acting.
Either that or the upcoming clothing line, Melissa McCarthy Seven7, which acknowledges that “people don’t stop at size 12” but apparently believes that we don’t exist at any size past 28. It’s OK to be fat so long as you’re not too fat. Another guess that I’m willing to hazard is that most (if not all) of the tops and dresses will have sleeves. When Bridesmaids came out there was a huge fuss (no pun intended) because Melissa’s character was the only one wearing sleeves. At the time fat acceptance and body positive activists cried fat shaming… how dare you cover up her arms?!!!
However, if you look back at Melissa’s many public appearances, she never, ever bares them.
Go ahead, do a search and please let me know if you find any photo where she’s sleeveless.
Of course, Melissa has the right to dress and change her body as she pleases. However, despite all the sound bites which appear body positive, Melissa seems more resigned to her body than accepting or loving it. In an interview with Good Housekeeping Magazine, she said “Sometimes I wish I were just magically a size 6 and I never had to give [my weight] a single thought. It’s something I’m always working on. I don’t know why I’m not thinner than I am. I don’t really drink soda; I don’t have a sweet tooth, and we eat healthfully at home.”
On the other hand, Gabourey flaunts her size despite all the negativity hurled at her, even by fellow actresses. She said that Joan Cusack once advised “Oh honey, you should really quit the business, it’s so image-conscious.” Her response was “Oh, please don’t tell me to quit my job!”
Gabourey doesn’t hide her body nor what she can do with it. She regularly wears sleeveless dresses that hug her curves and didn’t shy away from a masturbation scene in American Horror Story: Coven, much to the disgust of many of the show’s fans, one of whom wrote “how can gabourey sidibe even reach her vagina to masturbate.”
Gabourey makes no excuses for her weight nor does she wish to change it. In 2010, she turned down weight loss company, AcaiSupply, who offered one year’s worth of their product to “help her maintain a healthy lifestyle… The only way [she] can reach [her] goal of someday winning that Oscar is by being active, fit and most of all, healthy.” When she was criticized for her dress at 2014’s Golden Globe Awards which showed visible belly outline, Gabourey shot back with an awesome response
Instead of wishing that her body were “magically” smaller, Gabourey finds inspiration in the negativity as described in a speech she gave at the Ms Foundation Gala last year.
So why isn’t Gabourey Sidibe the face of body positivity? Because that beautiful face is attached to a body that society and the media would rather she change… as good fatties do.