The good news: An unspoken taboo was broken when Elle put a plus-size actress on its November cover. The bad news: The magazine draped Melissa McCarthy in an enormous coat on said cover. (Alternate covers feature slimmer actresses in tight and/or skin-baring outfits; a Go Fug Yourself poll finds McCarthy is by far the favorite cover star.) Critics aren't happy, Fox News reports. "It is sending the psychological message that hiding is what full-figured women should do," says one psychotherapist. Others are complaining on Twitter: "oh look, it's melissa mccarthy on the cover of @ELLEmagazine let's cover her up in the LARGEST COAT POSSIBLE," wrote @roundraglanroad.
Let's not give Elle any credit for this, writes June Thomas at Slate. The coat is so huge that McCarthy could fit her Mike and Molly co-star underneath; plus, her "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." On Bustle, Marie Southard Ospina agrees this is no victory for plus-size women. "McCarthy is a voluptuous and confident plus-size woman, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the cover photo," she writes. But on MamaMia.com, former Cosmo editor Mia Freedman defends the cover: When magazines "take a baby step in the right direction, we need to encourage them," she writes. (Read more Elle Magazine stories.)