With workouts, diets, and magazine tips, women almost everywhere are striving to improve their body image. Our society regards being thin as the desired body type for women, which often results in unrealistic photoshopped pictures of celebrities and models that are meant to set the standard for beauty. On the other end of the spectrum, whirlwind sensations such as Beyonce, Sofia Vegara, and Kim Kardashian are giving curves positive attention.
Unfortunately, if you are a woman that does not fall into the “skinny” or “curvy” categories, your weight and self confidence are still challenged by our societal expectations of beauty. We are so quick to shame heavier bodies and pass it off as a genuine concern for women that we do not even know, with comments such as, “Poor thing, she has really let herself go,” and, “She cannot possibly be healthy or happy with that kind of lifestyle!” Why does a woman’s weight have to dictate her beauty and contentment, and are we, as a society, Fat-Phobic?
Amanda Duberman, at the Huffington Post, shed some light on actress Mindy Kaling, dealing with this exact issue. It is easier for us to judge and criticize celebrities because we do not personally know them, and they are often objectified beyond the point of being human. Duberman writes about the “12 Things We Can Learn From Mindy Kaling”, highlighting quotes from Kaling pertaining to her weight and astounding assurance. She writes:
“In an interview with Parade magazine last September, Kaling called out those who seem to think that women must overcome some tremendous hurdle in order to feel confident:
I always get asked, “Where do you get your confidence?” I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, “You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth do you feel like you’re worth anything?”
Perhaps her worth comes from the fact that Kaling is a successful actor, producer, director, and New York Times best-selling author. It has nothing to do with her physical appearance. She does not feel the need to justify her body image, and will often be blunt about her body and love of eating in her popular television show, The Mindy Project. Her positive outlook empowers women of all body types, and she acts as a positive role model to young, Indian girls.
Kaling also made the point that women can wear whatever they wish, despite their weight. Duberman makes note that during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Kaling made fun of the fact that heavier women are often praised and seen as “brave” for wearing revealing clothes on television. After wearing a cropped top to an event, Kaling recollected that “Some people were like, “She’s just so courageous!” She then said to Kimmel, “Aren’t surgeons courageous?’”
Regrettably, heavier celebrities have to bravely embrace the fact that ignorant commentary will come with the cropped tops and tight dresses. They must be comfortable with their bodies to be able to let the negativity not affect them, or keep them from dressing and looking how they want. Women like Kaling are completely inspiring, but should also not be telling us these things that seem so obvious. Her statements should not be an epiphany to us all, but instead, common sense. When we see an average or larger sized woman in the spotlight, we are either relieved by her optimism, or disgusted by her weight. Why can’t we see her for what she is: a talented woman?
Kaling is not the only actress that refuses to let societal pressures sway her self-esteem. Recently interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine, Melissa McCarthy seemed mostly content with her life, saying:
“I could eat healthier, I could drink less. I should be learning another language and working out more, but I’m just always saying, ‘Ah, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.’”
Thankfully, she has not. Until we stop looking at heavier female celebrities like they are heroes for merely existing, or being completely turned off by their appearance, we need women like McCarthy and Kaling to keep making a difference and reminding us that “fat” can also be synonymous with success and beauty.
Stay lovely poopies,