Home » Gender and Sex » A flaw in the Melissa McCarthy body positive story could kill me. And you

A flaw in the Melissa McCarthy body positive story could kill me. And you

Durga M Sengupta | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 6:08 IST

Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Or maybe I'm completely missing the point. But for a second, consider that I'm right, and you'll see why this is a subject that needs to be discussed urgently.

Don't get me wrong. If you are a large, muscular woman, you have a huge thumbs up from me. While the flawed notion that fat people are unattractive has been proved oh-so-wrong by the slew of recent body-positive photoshoots, the real issue here is that these people riding on a positivity wave are probably unhealthy.

While I have absolutely no idea about how healthy the likes of Melissa McCarthy and Adele are, (and it really is none of my business), their everyday awesomeness and sass has somehow convinced me to believe that I'm great the way I am. While the truth is quite the opposite.

The excess of adipose tissues that rest so comfortably on me are doing nothing to help my sloth-level, sleepy thyroid gland. The more sluggish my gland feels, the faster I get tired and breathless. And the faster I get tired, the less I want to move. And the lesser I move, the more my bones hurt. And that makes me want to sleep all day. When all of this happens in tandem, I get fatter.

No, this is not attractive fat. This is the kind of fat that could very well cut down on my lifespan.

So when McCarthy is asked about the weight she lost recently and she says, "I have, but I'll be back again. I'll be up, I'll be down, probably for the rest of my life", I desperately want to cheer for her. Hell, everyone on the internet already is. And when Adele says, "There's only one of you, so why would you want to look like everyone else?" I lie to myself that the weight I've gained is my armour against the haters.


Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP

And while such honesty with oneself and the media is good for these celebrities, it gives me a false sense of security about my body-weight. Weight that my Calcium-deficient bones cannot support for too long.

Yes, the world needs body positivity. But that cannot be divorced from the internal health and working of the human body.

While extremely-thin models - who make magazine covers and walk the ramps - are slammed for being unhealthy, when a plus-sized model gets into the same space, she is celebrated for her courage. I understand that this has to do with dispelling the notion of the "ideal body shape" and encouraging people to embrace their bodies as they are. But doesn't this also reinforce the fact that the lifestyle of the plump model is probably better than that of her skinnier counterpart?

We don't need body shaming. Every woman should be accepted the way she is, beyond her body, because that isn't all of her. It isn't for you to judge her, fat or thin, but please don't celebrate her for the wrong reasons.

If fat women want to show off their bodies on Instagram, good for them. If bony-thin women want to show off their bodies on Instagram, good for them too. Let us not have double standards about the whole matter. Let us not allow healthy lifestyles to take a backseat to superficiality.

-- Edited by Blassy Boben

First published: 4 April 2016, 17:22 IST
Durga M Sengupta @the_bongrel

Feminist and culturally displaced, Durga tries her best to live up to her overpowering name. She speaks four languages, by default, and has an unhealthy love for cheesy foods. Assistant Editor at Catch, Durga hopes to bring in a focus on gender politics and the role it plays in all our interactions.