Curvy women make a comeback in Hollywood

By Katy Kelly
Staff writer

Curvy is back. Women are tired of the inaccurate and disproportionate representation of females in Hollywood and want to see a wider representation of body types. Typically, if a woman wants to score a leading role in film, prerequisites for a role are youth, attractiveness and slenderness. However, the frustrated voices regarding this trend have been heard all over Hollywood, and audiences are starting to see the slow progression of a more truthful, realistic portrayal of “real women” on the big screen.

Nearly everyone has seen the iconic picture of Marilyn Monroe in her 1954 film, “The Seven Year Itch.” You know the one. Marilyn standing over a New York City storm drain, white dress whisking up by her sides, looking sexier than, well everyone actually. Marilyn Monroe is regarded as one of the sexiest women of all time. And the thing is, Marilyn was not a petite, skinny woman. Marilyn had some serious curves. The sexiest woman from the 50s, a woman who charmed businessmen and politicians alike—a woman who ran the Hollywood scene was curvy. It makes one wonder what has happened in the past 60 years that a woman with the figure of Marilyn Monroe is now considered “too hefty” to play lead roles in Hollywood.

“I think there is more celebration of curviness with this recent ‘mainstreamization’ of butts and hips,” said sophomore theater major Monica Albizo. “You can see this trend more so in television. Mindy Kaling and Christina Hendricks come to mind. They are powerful female leads and they don’t have super skinny bodies.”

Albizo observation brings up the realization that television series tends to be more lenient when hiring curvier women to play lead characters. With television, there is less focus on one main character, but rather it follows the lives of all the characters together and focuses on a collective cast. People watch shows like “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office” because they enjoy watching the ensemble cast, regardless of the fact that some of the cast has curvier bodies than others.

Female comedian Amy Schumer, who jokingly announced last summer in a statement that went viral saying “I’m 160 pounds and can catch dick whenever I want,” constantly makes jokes at her own expense about her physical appearance. While her jokes are hilarious, they often point out the absurd beauty expectations there are for women, especially in Hollywood. As she said on “Ellen,, “Like in L.A. my arms register as legs and it’s like, ‘Why is that octopus on Sunset?’”

Females like Schumer who are making a huge splash in Hollywood despite their size does offer hope that this trend of “real-looking women” is one that will continue on our screens, but there is still much more to do. “I feel like movies and TV shows are almost a reflection of society itself, and what society desires, which is thin women,” input senior public relations major Samara Tu.  “However, I think what a woman doesn’t have in physical attractiveness, she can make up for in personality and being a comedic figure.”

Albizo supports Tu’s observation when she said, “I feel like women who are heavier are still typecast in these comedic roles. Women like Amy Schumer, Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson are always the ‘funny girls.’”

Even though curvier women are getting more recognition in film, they are not put into serious leading roles. Hollywood seems to only hire beautiful, thin women for leading roles because those are the types of women that can be taken seriously. Sex appeal is still a major requirement for actors in Hollywood, and it seems curvier women are still not seen as sexual in film.

“I think this trend is great, and I that Ashley Graham is especially stunning, said senior communication major Nicole Ruderman. “She is the perfect body size for anyone who defines themselves as ‘curvy.’ Ashley Graham is someone who is an amazing role model because she is modeling next to someone like Gigi Hadid, who is stunning and perfect, but so is Ashley.”

Ruderman thought models like Ashley Graham show off another type of stunning and perfect, and that is exactly what our society needs more of. The modeling world is slowly beginning to accept more curvier female models;  brands like Aerie and Dove have launched very popular campaigns using ‘real women’ who actually have curves to model for their products. This slow progression toward acceptance of curvier women, in both Hollywood and the modeling world, is a long time coming.

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