Last Night’s Mindy Project Episode Was Perfect Timing

It was the ideal inadvertent, high-road response to the 'racist, fat-ist' Elle magazine cover controversy.


February covers of Elle magazine. From left: Mindy Kaling, Allison Williams, Amy Poehler, and Zooey Deschanel.

Earlier this week, Elle magazine revealed four different covers for their February issue, each starring a different actress, for their “Women in TV” issue.

The Internet was quick to jump on the fact that while three of the four women—Amy Poehler, Zooey Deschanel, and Allison Williams—were cropped at the knees, Mindy Kaling’s cover was cropped much closer and appeared in black and white. Double shame! people cried out. Racist! Fat-ist! they shouted.

Well, here’s the thing. If the offendee isn’t offended, then is the cover offensive? The “size 8 for now” Kaling responded to the controversy on Twitter, defending her Elle cover and also promoting the return of her successful FOX comedy, The Mindy Project:

Then there was last night’s episode of The Mindy Project. For those who missed it, Kaling’s and costar Chris Messina’s characters did get naked in an episode that centers around the main character Mindy Lahiri’s efforts to lose weight (she asks Messina’s character, Danny Castellano, to be her personal trainer).

Post-workout montage, the episode concludes with Mindy feeling much more confident in her own skin, and Danny telling Mindy:

OK, I get it, you’re self-conscious, I understand. But you have no reason to be. All I was gonna say is: don’t suck in your stomach so much. It makes you look nervous and frankly a little constipated … You’re a woman and that’s good—look like a woman.

The episode was perfectly timed—if not inadvertently—to put a nail in the coffin of Elle’s PR problem… Well, at least in the case of this particular cover blunder.

As other sites have pointed out, this is hardly the first time Elle and other fashion magazines have come under fire for portraying minority women and/or “fat” women differently, and unfortunately, you don’t need to be a psychic to know that this wasn’t the last time it’ll happen either.

But lucky you, Elle magazine, for singling out an actress who is confident enough to put out a media-storm fire for you.

Now tell us what you think.

POLL: Is Elle magazine’s Mindy Kaling cover racist or ‘fat-ist’?