This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.
In recent days, the significant girth of two prominent people has been a weighty issue in the news. The controversy that has been stirred up reflects much about Americans’ conflicted thoughts on body image and personal worth.
In a Feb. 5 review of the new movie, “Identity Thief,” critic Rex Reed refers to actress Melissa McCarthy as “tractor-sized” and goes on to use such terms as “humongous” and “hippo” to describe the character she plays.
Reed has been roundly criticized for his ungraceful comments, and many have come to McCarthy’s defense, citing her comedic talent as being more important than her appearance. Yet it’s widely acknowledged that actresses, models and women in other professions feel pressured to be slender to the point that many resort to dangerous diets, drugs and surgical procedures. The average American woman is a size 12; in Hollywood, a size 6 is considered chubby. Read more »