In my Thanksgiving post, “Thanks to all the real girls,” I talked about the fact that The Mindy Project is another example of how the way women look in the media is finally starting to change.
And tonight’s episode of The Mindy Project reminded me yet again how much good work is being done on this one tiny little sitcom.
Tonight Mindy found out—during the office Christmas party no less—that her boyfriend, Jeff, has had another girlfriend the entire time they’ve been dating, making her the detestable other woman.
Not long after she found out, her boyfriend’s first girlfriend (played with appropriate outrage by Ellie Kemper of The Office) showed up at Mindy’s apartment demanding to know what was going on. It didn’t take long for things to devolve from there, and, though the ensuing fight between the two women relied too much on cliches, what was notable was that when Kemper’s character called Kaling’s character “chubby,” Mindy didn’t flinch or act offended. Instead she responded immediately by insisting, “I’m not chubby. I’m average.” And then adding, “This is how the anorexia culture begins.”
It was a shocking moment. A shocking and wonderful moment.
Here was a woman on television—a woman in her prime, no less—with an average body defending her right to be average and not be judged for it. Have we ever seen that before? Have we ever seen a character on television or in a film saying, “I’m average and that’s okay”?
I really don’t think so.
And at the same time, she was making a really important point by adding that calling an average woman “chubby” is the kind of thing that makes people in our society so obsessed with thinness.
Yes, tonight, on American television, Mindy Kaling defended her—and by extension our—right to have an average body, AND she also offered valid argument about why it’s wrong to call people fat.
I think I am in love with The Mindy Project.
So, tell me again, why aren’t you watching this show?
The Mindy Project airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. EST on Fox.