All of my life I’ve sort of been that perfectly average, middle-of-the-road girl. I don’t tend to stand out or get noticed in any way, good or bad. Being insanely introverted, I’ve always sort of preferred it that way—plus I think it would make me a really great spy. But I’ve always been disappointed by not seeing anyone like me reflected on television and in the movies. And I think there must be a lot of us because I swear, I can never find my size on a sale rack.
I am a petite woman to be sure, but I have the furthest thing from a typical actor’s body. I am not stick-thin, but I’m also not big. I am athletic but refuse to give up pasta to get down to 18% body fat. True to my nature, I am in between.
I used to scrutinize actresses on TV to find one single person I could relate to. Was that a hint of a roll when she sat down? No, just a bunched shirt. Did her legs just touch as she walked? No, just the angle from the camera. Not that I wanted these ladies to be anything but who they were, I just wanted to find some similarities to me in at least some of them. And on the other hand were woman who owned their curves and were proud of being full-figured. Another trait I couldn’t relate to. I was smack dab in the middle with nobody who represented me.
So when I started watching the show “Girls,” I was so happy to see women who resembled me and made no big deal of it. There was no commentary on size, just an understanding that these actors represent real people; short, tall, thin, large, and, for once, everything in-between.
Then this article was sent to me and it commented on this very phenomena. Women actors are beginning to break free of the perfectly skinny or fabulously full-bodied dichotomy and owning their own shape without ever even making a point of it. This new breed of female entertainer doesn’t feel the need to fit into the increasingly unattainable Hollywood standards of beauty or spend nearly all their time explaining why they don’t. They are funny, witty, and talented, irrespective of shape or size. Some fit into the molds we are used to and some don’t. It’s a refreshing change of pace to see women accepting themselves without addressing it, instead showing through their actions that how they look is the least of their defining characteristics.
For all of us who live our lives between the two extremes, who haven’t “pick[ed] a lane” as Mindy Kaling puts it, it’s empowering to finally see people who resemble us on the big screen and maybe more so to realize that it almost doesn’t even matter at all. It’s no longer the butt of the joke not to fit in or to be different; the joke is on those who think that’s still a selling point.
Brandi is a lawyer in Denver who spends very little time actually lawyering. She can usually be found working for free at a non-profit, hiking up mountains, or bossing her husband around because he made the mistake of asking her for help with his business one time. She’s horribly technologically inept (unless people still use AIM in which case she’s a genius) and takes one bite out of every donut instead of finishing a single donut in its entirety, which is probably a metaphor for something but she hasn’t figured out what it is yet. You can read more from Brandi on her blog, Randi Nickle.