Perhaps one day, hopefully before the zombie apocalypse descends upon us, our society will learn that you shouldn’t comment on women’s bodies. But today is not that day.
Melanie Lynskey debuted a new role on the new smash hit zombie show The Last Of Us on Sunday, playing Kathleen, a badass militia leader who’s trying to overthrow the authoritarian government. If you haven’t watched it yet, the show’s awesome and she’s awesome.
Everyone was enjoying themselves until America’s Next Top Model star Adrienne Curry entered the scene with an opinion on Lynskey’s body type that absolutely no one asked for.
“Her body says life of luxury… not post apoolyptic [sic] warlord,” she tweeted. “Where is linda hamilton when you need her,” she continued, referencing Sarah Connor’s buff character in Terminator 2.
She posted her thoughts alongside a curvy picture of Lynskey on the cover of a recent magazine.
Lynskey responded — and with way more measure and grace than she had to.
“Firstly — this is a photo from my cover shoot for InStyle magazine, not a still from HBO’s The Last Of Us,” she began. “And I’m playing a person who meticulously planned & executed an overthrow of FEDRA. I am supposed to be SMART, ma’am. I don’t need to be muscly. That’s what henchmen are for.”
I would have said “Shut your word hole and die,” but that’s why I’m banned from the local PTA and Lynskey is a cultural icon.
Lynskey went on to explain her POV in a way more polite way than she ever needed to.
“Other than getting to work with creative geniuses who I respect and admire (Neil & Craig) the thing that excited me most about doing #TheLastOfUs is that my casting suggested the possibility of a future in which people start listening to the person with the best ideas,” she said in a Twitter thread.
“Not the coolest or the toughest person. The organiser. The person who knows where everything is. The person who is doing the planning. The person who can multitask. The one who’s decisive,” she wrote.
Poised, even-tempered, sensible, hot. The world does not deserve you, Melanie!
“Women, and especially women in leadership positions, are scrutinized incessantly. Her voice is too shrill. Her voice is too quiet. She pays too much attention to how she looks. She doesn’t pay enough attention to how she looks. She’s too angry. She’s not angry enough,” she continued.
“I wanted her to look like she should have a notepad on her at all times,” she said. “I wanted her to be feminine, and soft-voiced, and all the things that we’ve been told are ‘weak’. Because honestly, fuck that.”
“I was excited at the idea of playing a woman who had, in a desperate and tragic time, jumped into a role she had never planned on having and nobody else had planned on her having, and then she actually got shit done.”
“I understand that some people are mad that I’m not the typical casting for this role. That’s thrilling to me. Other than the moments after action is called, when you feel like you’re actually in someone else’s body, the most exciting part of my job is subverting expectations.”
And that is how Melanie Lynskey turned a crappy comment about her body into a masterclass on how storytelling can break down stereotypes and lead us to a more just and equal world.
For her part, Curry deleted her tweet. Although she did continue to criticize, just with more passive aggression. She tried to walk back the idea that she was judging Lynskey’s body — and that she’d say the same to a man. Sure.
“Next up, Jason Mamoa will find my criticism of his portrayal of AQUAMAN and will put me in my place with a strongly worded tweet on why he IS the perfect Arthur Curry.”
The internet quickly came to the aid of the Yellowjackets star — and everyone made good points.
“Imagine being so deeply fatphobic that you would dare speak words against Melanie Lynskey. Goodnight and kiss my fat ass,” one thoughtful person wrote.
This is faaaarrrrrr from the first time Melanie Lynskey has had to deal with criticism about her body, both inside and outside of the industry.
Just for starters, there was the time her Yellowjackets co-stars had to defend her from being body-shamed on set. Or the time she was body-shamed while filming Coyote Ugly.
“It’s hard to be a size 10 next to a size 0,” she told theSkimm’ in 2002. “I spent many years not really eating and being very worried about what I looked like.”
It took a miscarriage — and a lot of reflection — for her to get to where she is today.
“A couple of years ago I had a miscarriage and I just didn’t really recover from it physically and having a very young daughter made me really think about, ‘OK, I need to be kinder to myself and accepting and saying sorry to my body for what it just went through,’” she continued. “And giving my daughter a positive example of what it looks like to have a mother who just is accepting of her body.”
Since then, she’s been incredibly outspoken and candid about what it’s like to be a Hollywood star who is also not tiny. And it’s only made her fanbase and her career skyrocket. Here’s to curvy warlords.