This past week held a lot of great news for women — and a lot of news that made me want to tear my hair out! I can’t understand how people don’t see that they’re belittling a whole sect of the population and that they don’t see anything wrong with that!
Yup, I’m on my soap box. Watch out.
First up, the lovely Melissa McCarthy. She earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week, and I was so happy for her! I was definitely distracted by the beauty of her dress at the event — she looked gorgeous!But when I started reading articles about the honor she earned, I started getting angry that all the sources wanted to talk about is that it looks like she’s lost weight. Wait … what? Why is that important? Why is it that no accomplishment in this life seems as important to some people as losing weight? If she had accepted the star and she was the same weight or, God forbid, had gained weight, would the honor be any less cool? No.
Sadly, the headlines in the British tabloids were the worst, as they usually are.Look at the words they use — “shrinking,” “one of the biggest female stars in show business … even if there is less of her.” And I love that they say she’s hiding her figure “in an unflattering billowing frock.” Really?
It’s time people got recognized for more than just their size.
Which moves me to my next issue — Tess Holliday. I think it is so, so awesome that People Magazine put her on the cover. Her accomplishments in bridging the gap between straight-size and plus-size models are so admirable, and now she’s on the cover of a magazine that usually touts weight-loss, bikini bodies and moms “getting their body back.”
But why do they have to call out her size, as if this number is the only thing that can describe her?
As Lesley said in her great piece at XOJane.com, her name almost always comes with the descriptor “size 22.” It’s kind of a shame that we can’t just call her model Tess Holliday. Do I need to start introducing myself with my size? Or my SAT score?
I don’t think we should be ashamed of the size we wear or the number on the scale, but I also feel this shouldn’t be THE THING that’s used to describe a person. Not to mention, as Lesley points out in the article, this also invites unfair comparisons. And we all need to stop comparing ourselves to others.
The third piece of news that had me raging this past week had to do with another number — age. Apparently Maggie Gyllenhaal was passed up for a role because she wasn’t young enough to play a 55-year-old’s girlfriend. And she’s 37. Um … what?
As someone who just realized that this year’s high school graduating class was born the year I graduated high school, I may be a bit age-sensitive right now (ha!). But I just think this is ridiculous. I am grateful to work in an industry where age doesn’t seem to be an issue … but sometimes it is a “perceived” issue — that somehow if you’re younger, your ideas are fresher. Not to mention your salary can be lower, so you’re cheaper to have on staff. But Hollywood seems to have ageism locked up — especially when it comes to women — and it’s sad. Gyllenhaal is a talented actress, and saying she can’t play a 55-year-old’s girlfriend is completely ridiculous.
Finally, I had to address the high-heel fiasco at Cannes. As someone who has a lot of problems with my feet, sometimes heels just aren’t an option for me. And to turn away a whole group of women for not wearing heels seems ludicrous.
Apparently the dress code also includes “black tie” for men, and I know wearing a tie isn’t necessarily comfortable either. There must be a way for Cannes to evoke an air of glamour without having all of their attendees forced to wear what a certain group of people deem is “acceptable.”
It’s amazing to me that with all the strides we make — plus-size models on major runways and in ad campaigns, women like Mindy Kaling running and starring in her own show, are just two examples — that we still beat women down a lot more than we build them up. And the worst thing, in my opinion, is when other women do it to each other. I’m a firm believer in celebrating other people’s successes. And maybe if we concentrate on doing that more, news like this past week won’t be “news” anymore!