Melissa McCarthy Rejects Term ‘Plus-Size’ For Her Clothing Line
Melissa McCarthy is not only a comedian and glamorous movie star, but she’s a passionate social crusader and a fashion designer to boot. On August 13, 2015, McCarthy debuted her fashion line, Melissa McCarthy Seven7, at HSN Studios in Florida. Among other things, the line will include sizes 4 through 28, and McCarthy says we won’t see any “segregation” of sizes in her chosen retailers.
Speaking to Refinery29, McCarthy expressed disapproval of the term “plus-size,” used to describe clothing — and women — larger than a certain size. The term “plus-size” has no standard, and in the high fashion industry, is used to describe women larger than a slim size 6. For obvious reasons, McCarthy takes issue with this term. She said:
“Women come in all sizes. Seventy percent of women in the United States are a size 14 or above, and that’s technically ‘plus-size,’ so you’re taking your biggest category of people and telling them, ‘You’re not really worthy.’ I find that very strange.”
This move could potentially result in a drastic reconsideration of women’s clothing sizes. McCarthy is correct when she says the term “plus-size” is degrading — the subtext is that there is normal size and then there’s plus size, as if most women are a size 2. (Hint: they’re not.) McCarthy is influential enough as a pop culture figure to put this issue at the forefront, and if it’s a popular choice, it may not be long before we see other designers and stores follow suit.
If McCarthy’s words are taken at face value, she’s already got some support on that front. She’s hinted that some “very big retailers” are ready to help her “chip away” the norms of how plus-size clothes are placed in stores.
McCarthy also expressed how difficult it still is for her to find clothing in stores, and told an anecdote about how she was rejected by six designers whom she asked to make a dress for the Oscars two years ago. Clearly, if a star as big as Melissa can’t find clothing, this issue must be near and dear to her heart. I can only imagine how humiliating and painful it must have been to know that high-fashion, prestigious designers refuse to make a gown for an A-list star just because of her size.
Above all, McCarthy is advocating to eliminate the plus-size section of the store that relegates 70% of women to a separate section with subpar designs and ill-fitting clothing. McCarthy thinks women’s clothing could be a lot less complicated, and a lot more body positive:
“I just think, if you’re going to make women’s clothing, make women’s clothing. Designers that put everyone in categories are over-complicating something that should be easy.”
Why label yourself? Why stand for it when others label you? If you assume the label plus-size and wear it proudly, a la Tess Holliday, that’s wonderful. But it’s when those labels consume and define you as a consumer and as a person that problems arise. Luckily for us, we have a body-positive crusader in the lovely Melissa McCarthy.