"McCarthy’s hair covers a quarter of her gorgeous face, and with her hands stuffed deep into her coat pockets, the only visible flesh is a tiny triangle between the coat’s lapels and the briefest glimpse of calf."

This quote from Slate culture editor June Thomas is the shot heard 'round the web and has been repeated by almost every news outlet that has covered this topic. It's meant to provide a written affirmation of the injustice. However, in my case, it tossed me out of the herd. 

Is this what plus-sized acceptance is supposed to mean? The willingness of magazines to expose more skin on the cover? Are we saying that being covered up and classy isn't sexy? Because that's how it sounds to me. If you look at Melissa McCarthy's cover the way it was intended and then do a general google search of fashion magazines, the unnecessary flashes of skin and provocative poses become ever more apparent in comparison. In this era of sex tape fame and established actresses posing almost naked for mainstream publications just for exposure, shouldn't we be applauding Melissa for showing us what sexy really is?

Because sexy is not always exposing every ounce of your body. Sometimes, it's in a look. Like a single eye peeking out from expertly tousled hair. Sometimes it's the idea of what's hidden underneath an article of clothing, like a chic menswear-inspired coat. And sometimes it's just in a face. Adele'sVogue UK cover was one of the magazine's bestsellers that year.

So here's what I think. Instead of asking us to define what is sexy for a plus-sized woman. Maybe we should look to them for inspiration instead…as well as our dignity.

 

 

See also: "The H&M Mannequin Hoax Has Us Wondering; Is the Fashion Industry or the Consumer to Blame for Our Body Image Issues"