It's What's Inside That Counts, Unless You're Really Pretty

Sometimes I think the Universe goes out of it’s way to push me up on my soapbox. Like when I’m at CVS and I see this:

“It’s cool,” I try to tell myself. “I’m sure Melissa McCarthy wanted to hold a giant box in front of her at just the right angle so 40% of her body is covered. Good Housekeeping isn’t Maxim, after all: it’s only appropriate that her chest be completely covered and de-sexualized. And I’m sure that Jennifer Lawrence requested ELLE make her look as little like herself as possible. Anyway, it’s the holidays and complaining about stuff like this is at least 40% of why people don’t like me, so I’m going to just let it go.”

And so, with those understandings, I earnestly tried to move on towards the cashier…after obsessively comparing both covers’ headlines:

Jennifer Lawrence: Hunger Games Bombshell
Melissa McCarthy: “It’s What’s Inside That Counts!”

I’m so sorry, 60% percent of me, but the Universe is calling. Where’s my soapbox? It calls to me.

First off – and I might as well start with the bar set annoyingly high – why is Melissa McCarthy constantly being described as a “girl”, “gal” or “wheelbarrow”? Yes, de-sexualization is common across the board for funny folk, but there’s a certain type of status that comes with being called a “woman” that she keeps being denied. Melissa McCarthy is a married mother of two in her 40s. The woman has daughters that are “girls”; how in the world has she not earned a “lady” here and there?

While we’re on the subject of earning things, I must note that Melissa McCarthy has worked long and hard to get where she is, so how about we stop calling her “new”,  as if she’s JUST hit the Hollywood scene? Did America collectively forget about Gilmore Girls? I didn’t even watch Gilmore Girls and I know that Melissa McCarthy was on all seven seasons of it.

But enough about word choice – though that should have been picky enough to sift out the usual eye rollers. Let’s talk about the whole statement. I mean, I get it: “It’s What’s Inside That Counts” is meant to be empowering, but I’m fairly certain that anyone old enough to watch Mike & Molly sees the implied remainder of the sentiment as “Because You Have A Great Personality Despite Being Exterior-ly Repulsive”. What it’s meant to be a lead-in for is great: McCarthy talks about raising strong daughters. So if that’s the point, could they really have not reached it sans a ceremonial fat girl line? Or do we need that to explain why we’re supposed to be SHOCKED that she has confidence? The headline could have just as easily read: “Christmas With McCarthy! How America’s Favorite Funnywoman Plans to Raise Strong Daughters.” If you’re so set on using “It’s What’s Inside That Counts!”, just go all the way and print: “Fatty Fatty Two by Four, Can’t Fit Through The Kitchen Door! Strong Daughters!”

Speaking of strong daughters: Jennifer Lawrence can do a bit more than look like she’s about to lip sync for her life on the cover of ELLE. She spent months training for The Hunger Games, getting into peak physical condition to run/jump/climb/not piss off millions of obsessed fans on the silver screen. Khatuna Lorig, Olympic Archer, had to freakin’ train J-Law in archery. I’d more easily compare her to C-4 than to a Bombshell.

You know who I envied most while watching The Hunger Games? Elizabeth Banks. Because she got to be hilarious and wear pretty dresses and NOT crawl through the mud for weeks at a time while pretending to get stung by CGI bees. While this franchise has earned and will earn Jennifer Lawrence a substantial career, the filming process probably sucked/sucks/will increasingly suck beyond belief, and for that reason I feel like calling her a “bombshell” is a bit of a cop-out.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with “bombshell”. I’m sure J-Law loved being called one. The word is easily associated with Marilyn Monroe, so that’s a supposed to be a huge compliment in itself, but considering that Marilyn Monroe’s greatest feats of on-set physical endurance involved remembering handfuls of lines at the time while remaining incomprehensibly intoxicated, couldn’t Jennifer Lawrence be referred to as more than a sexy baby pretty package? How about “Tough Motherf***er”? How about “Bad-Ass Chick Who Probably Has More Upper Body Strength Than You”? Or how about “Sure She Looks Pretty, But Let’s Really Look At How Accomplished She Is. Wow, I Guess IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS.”

But then again, that headline would never work. Everyone would think ELLE was calling her fat. So… Happy Holidays!

From My Soapbox to Yours,
Misha D Fisher

“Barbie Anatomical Model” by Jason Freeny; Image via

  • Yaya Castillo

    I’ve gotta say, those two covers side by side like that are nothing short of hilarious. I personally feel Melissa has never looked better, and we don’t need to be sold on her inner beauty because she radiates plenty outwardly. These two covers have a different target audience, but the smoldering temptress look has made Jennifer virtually unrecognizable! Yikes.

  • Tamara Lynn Peart

    I like you on your soap box. More people should be speaking out load on this, and perhaps young women will start to have a better body image, while realising they can be a lot more than their appearance.

  • Laura Allen

    Both are equally gorgeous women, it’s just a shame society tries to convince us otherwise.

    • Mary McKenney

      Laura, why do women have to be “gorgeous”?

  • Rachel Barth

    I love everything about this article, including your mention of Melissa McCarthy on Gilmore Girls. I loved her in Bridesmaids but I feel like she’s playing that same character in every movie now even though she’s capable of so much more, as we saw during her time on GG.

  • Hilary Hall

    I loved this article and that you actually did write this. Melissa McCarthy is hilarious and someone that I look up to as a young woman. I love that you mention Jennifer’s ridiculous training regime. Both these ladies are admirable and have qualities that I look up to. I wish there were more celebrities that look more like Melissa, and a sense of humor and realness like Jennifer, than the dullness of most of the others, like the Khardashians. haha

  • Colleen Sweeney

    I didn’t even realize that was Jennifer Lawrence in that photo. It looked like Rosie Huntington-Whitley. They photoshopped her so much in that photo.

  • Beth Hannah

    And this article shows what is truly wrong with society. We are suppose to care about what is in our insides, but Elle doesn’t have a pic of Jennifer Lawrence all sweaty, beat up and bruised from training. Or in her sweatpants on the first day of her period. So most men assume that her looks are natural and every woman should easily attain that level of attraction.

  • Tameka Mullins

    I wonder if the person who shelved these magazines wasn’t silently on his/her soapbox too. It just seems too perfect for both of these zines to be co-existing next to each other. I agree with your stance and take on both of these beautiful ladies.

  • Ivan Remtoula

    I loved Melissa McCarthy on “Gilmore Girls”, it was one of my favorite series. Although I haven’t watched her movies, I’m sure she did a hell of a performance in each of her movies.
    I haven’t watched “The Hunger Games” either, and I’ve heard that Jennifer Lawrence did a great work.

    Now, when it comes to society, I hate how it tells us how to think. I hate hearing girls that they’re fat, and if they get thinner, society will accept them. You are who you are, and God made you that way for a reason. You can change, yes you can, but if you do decide to change, change for yourself. Don’t change to please others, or because people told you that you’re not thin enough, or too fat. We all have high standards, let’s not lower them for people who don’t know what they’re talking about and told that just to hurt you.

    I’ve recently read a quote that said: “good looks fade, but a good heart keeps you beautiful forever”. So, yes, it’s the inside that counts. Be nice to people, be polite, smile at them, make people days’ better, do good things, and I truly do hope someone will love you for who you are, no matter what you look like.
    We are all beautiful, and we shouldn’t let people tell us otherwise

  • Laura Levatino

    I thought the same thing when I saw that cover. I was in Shop Rite, not CVS, but weirdly next to a CVS, and I thought it was outrageous. I’m glad somebody else thought the same thing and did such a great job bringing attention to it.

  • Margaret Murrell

    Women will have a better body image when we stop having to hear that men are “just wired to wanting 16 to 18 yr olds”. No you aren’t wired for it you have a choice!

  • Devlyn Fennell

    I have to admit I’m disappointed. I clicked on this article all excited that it was a link to where I could buy a cool skeleton barbie like in the picture, but alas. No cool skeleton barbie. This has created a hole in my life that wasn’t their prior to my viewing of this image and now I mourn what never existed.

    If cool skeleton barbie did exist she’d look great hanging out on my dresser next to my jewelry box, her bare bones flattered by the dark stained wood background. She’d ride with me in my purse on many exciting adventures, and all would marvel at the gleam reflecting off her skull. So many adventures that we will now never have. I miss you, non-existent skeleton barbie.

    • Mary McKenney

      I love this.

  • Hans Johan Svensson

    There is what people will look at.
    There is what people want to live with.
    There is what people want.
    There is what people decide that they want.
    There is what people will kill for.
    There is what people pay for.
    There is what people steal for.
    There is what people die for.
    And then.. there is people who will welcomme you.

  • Ali Mitchell

    I’m I the only one offended by the fact that housekeeping is in the women’s section?

    Thanks for the article. :)

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