Cosmopolitan, that magazine loaded with tons of fat acceptance, on June 4th had a piece on their website that just reeked of complete crap, or at least crap of the disingenuous kind.
In a discussion about Melissa McCarthy’s Oscar attire from last year, they expressed outrage that no prominent designers wanted to design her attire for the occasion.
In the new issue of Redbook, however, McCarthy explains that finding her Oscars look was not easy. Despite the opportunity to have their work worn by a presenter and, you know, also a beautiful, talented, and hilarious actress, “five or six designers, very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people, all said no” to her requests for a gown. She does not name names, which is polite — designers who don’t want to show off their work on a fuller-figured woman are, in fact, only showing off their own limitations, and probably deserve to be called out for it. It’s not that much more difficult to produce stunning, red carpet-worthy gowns for women with curves than it is for those without; really, it isn’t. So what gives, fashion people? Sort it out, please. And soon.
You get all that? It’s wrong, damn wrong, that she couldn’t find a designer to do the deed and Cosmo is not happy about it. It makes me wonder, however, if Cosmo has ever looked inside its own pages.
Here’s July 2014’s cover featuring Katy Perry.
I’m glad they chose plus-sized icon Katy Perry for the cover so they could teach you her trick for “flat abs.” When was the last time they even had a “woman with curves,” as they referred to McCarthy, on their cover? In fact, during a cursory look at their last 20 or so covers, Adele is the only one in the group.
Most of the cover models look a lot more like Katy Perry than Melissa McCarthy. And by most, I mean nearly all.
And every issue is loaded with tricks on how to lose weight, how to “look better,” how to “have a bikini body” and other euphemisms for “get slim so you aren’t fat.” Nearly all of the ads are for companies that don’t even make clothing for plus-sized women and when criticism has been lobbed toward media outlets for the pressure they put on young girls, it’s almost always directed at Cosmo primarily because of their reputation of glamorizing thin women, thin clothing designers, and “looking good” (losing weight, etc).
If Cosmo truly felt that what happened to Melissa McCarthy was worthy of scorn, it could be easily fixed and it wouldn’t even take a whole ton on their part to do so considering their clout in the publishing business.
- They could refuse to accept advertisements from companies that don’t make clothing that fits all sizes of women. If the clothing line isn’t diverse enough to fit everyone, then they aren’t a good fit for the glossy interior of Cosmo.
- They could put more plus-sized women on the cover, and I don’t mean plus-sized by the ridiculous definition of what has come to mean plus-sized. I mean large curvy women of the size that they’ve shunned for years and years.
- They could actually make an effort to stop running ads with cut up and chiseled guys as well and maybe feature a regular guy or two. I mean, if you’re going to pretend body image diversity matters, then it should matter for men and women, not just women.
There’s one problem with all of those things, however, and the problem is that they all would actually mean changing their business model, potentially angering advertisers, and maybe losing readers who find plus-sizes disgusting. They can’t have that, can they?
It’s easy for Cosmo to pontificate on what’s wrong with the world and how everyone else needs to fix it. It’s much harder when you turn that microscope inward and have to figure out ways that you can help fix it.
Now I should be really clear; I don’t care what Cosmo prints. I don’t care if they only have the thinnest of thin anorexic-looking celebrities on their cover and run article after article on how important it is to have a 6-pack bikini body and a perfect ass. My issue with them isn’t the trash they choose to publish on a month-to-month basis because I believe that people have a right to say what they want, publish what they want, and run their business as they see fit.
My problem is when an icon of everything that’s considered “the problem” starts lecturing others on their contribution to it. It would be the equivalent of someone standing their with a blow torch bitching that people keep starting fires with matches. It’s all well and good that Cosmo has jumped in the corner of Melissa McCarthy, but that’s a pretty damn hollow gesture, and unless I miss my guess, that plea for designers to get their crap together never even appeared in the magazine, proving that their commitment to this “issue” is as thin as the paper it could potentially be printed on.
Once Cosmo starts walking the walk, I’ll take them a lot more seriously. For now, it’s just blather and politically correct outrage and as long as they have such a great platform upon which to actually do something and they don’t, you’ll never convince me they mean the words that were printed.
Header via Mingle Media TV on Flickr