Melissa McCarthy On The Message About Body Image She Is Teaching Her Daughters

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One of the most important videos Dove released was their “Legacy” feature where they focused on how the self-esteem of a mother greatly impacts her daughter. In the video we see mothers express what they don’t like about their body image, and then we see their daughters explain that they have the same insecurities in separate interviews.

It was a sobering moment for us here at GTHQ, and a reminder of the influence each of us have on the next generation. Someone who knows this all too well is actress Melissa McCarthy, who spoke about the lessons she is teaching her daughters about body image with Redbook Magazine.

She is already the type of celebrity who has had to put up with criticism about her weight from the media, but she is not the type of woman to just let haters have their day. Her major success as a comedian on the big screen for films like ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘Spy’ and the forthcoming ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot have come without her feeling the need to cave into the Hollywood pressure to lose weight.

Melissa tells Redbook there is no way she wants her girls to experience any negativity toward their body growing up.

“Give me your best punch in the face, and I’ll take that punch, rather than have my kid feel bad about herself. There’s an epidemic in our country of girls and women feeling bad about themselves based on what 0.5% of the human race looks like. It starts very young. My message is that as long as everybody’s healthy, enjoy and embrace whatever body type you have,” she said.

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She’s absolutely right, yet we are not quite there sadly. Part of the problem is that we grow up subconsciously being taught to compare and tear each other down, and this has to stop.

“With women, there’s this constant weird cultural thing where we’re always supposed to be comparing ourselves with one another. Who wore it best? Whose butt’s better? Instead, how about if everyone wins? How intensely boring would it be if we were all the same?”

It’s no secret that the media plays a huge role in perpetuating this, where female celebrity’s bodies are constantly splashed across magazine covers, being accused of a number of things including having cellulite, not snapping back to a size 0 the minute after they give birth, and generally not adhering to the status quo. Thankfully it is changing with many women speaking up and using social media and blogging platforms to influence trends within the fashion industry, for instance.

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The plus size industry has become a billion dollar market over the past few years, and it is opened up a more democratic discussion about how we look at women’s bodies, and what should be perceived as “beautiful”, or even healthy. Melissa is one celebrity using her voice not just to speak up, but to also to influence the fashion world.

In an interview with Redbook magazine a couple of years ago, she revealed that a number of designers turned her down when she asked them to dress her for the Oscars. First it made her pissed, then she decided to change the status quo by designing her own range of clothing to cater to all the other women like her who have been shunned in favor of the narrow norms.

Today, she recognizes the need to make ALL bodies feel like they belong in the world, starting with the fashion industry and what is available in clothing stores.

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“A good portion of women in America are size 14 and higher. I just try to make clothing that’ll make all women feel really good. When I feel good about my clothes, I’m more patient with my kids. I don’t beep at the guy in his car texting in front of me. I look at the world a little differently. The small happy moments add up. A little bit of joy goes a long way,” she said, exhibiting some of her signature brand of humor.

Aside from the ever-present body image problem, Melissa is also concerned about the epidemic of women claiming their are not feminists, and here’s why:

“I always think, ‘Oh, that sounds so dumb.’ And I don’t mean that in a hateful way. It just sounds so ill-informed. Do you think women should be paid less? You don’t believe in equality for women? I think people have worked hard to put a negative spin on the word,” she said.

Well we are one platform working to put a positive spin on the word as well as the movement, and people like Melissa who have such badass views make our job pretty easy! This is not about neglecting health, it is about understanding we cannot even begin to know what someone’s health is like simply from judging their appearances. The more we support each other to be happy, healthy and authentic, it will go a long way to undoing the damaging messages many young girls grow up with.

And just because we’re in the spirit of celebrating all things Melissa McCarthy, we figured we’d all fangirl over the new ‘Ghostbusters’ trailer in anticipation for its summer release:


 

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