As “Incredibles 2” packs theaters, Elastigirl is being praised with a word that didn’t exist when we first met the super-mom 14 years ago.
Elastigirl, aka Helen Parr, is “thicc,” say hundreds of fans on social media.
What’s that mean? As “Incredibles 2” producer Nicole Grindle recently found out via her 23-year-old son, the creative spelling of the word “thick” describes Elastigirl as “not a little pencil. She’s attractive as a woman with dimensions.”
Some examples of commentary about Elastigirl in tweets include: “Elastigirl is dumbbbb THICC” (from @sssniperwolf) and “how many squats do i have to do to be as thicc as elastigirl??” (@arose4598). And then there’s this pun from @mirandacann: “elastigirl? more like elasTHICCgirl.”
Indeed, “thicc” has become Internet-speak for having a voluptuous lower body. It’s a word that has been approvingly used to describe Rihanna (“Thiccana”), and stars including Kim Kardashian and Christina Hendricks.
And now it describes an animated mother of three who skillfully drives a motorbike, flies a plane and devotes herself to her family. The capable Elastigirl is notable for being the female protagonist of an action-movie film and yes, for her thighs and booty.
Sure, she does have a minuscule waist as part of her unrealistic, caricatured look. But the fact that Disney has welcomed — and the public has embraced — Elastigirl’s curvy body type and natural-born-leader attitude (there’s even a social-justice “Elastigirl Persists” Twitter account) shows a step in the right direction toward female inclusion onscreen. Elastigirl is a far cry from the rail-thin and one-dimensional Disney princesses of yesteryear that include a “Little Mermaid” who literally gave up her voice and changed her body for a man.
When Grindle was working on the first “Incredibles” film as a simulation manager focusing on the way clothes looked on the characters, she used her own body to inform the character.
One conversation she remembers having about Elastigirl, while making the original “Incredibles,” was about how the character should look when she puts back on her super-suit, years after taking it off and having children.
“I explained to [director Brad Bird] that if I put on the mini-skirt now that I wore [before motherhood] it would show a lot of skin.”
At Grindle’s behest, tights were added to Elastigirl’s suit.
And there was some talk about “when she checks out her butt in the first movie,” Grindle says about Elastigirl, who in a scene is sighing about how her new red suit looks on her mom-bod.
“What I recall is that really most people understood the intention that Brad had, that this was the female version of middle-age angst at what has happened to one’s body while one was busy having and raising children. At the same time, some of us wondered if it diminished her power to look at her own butt, which could also sexualize her when we really wanted to see her at the height of her superhero powers,” says Grindle. “At the end of the day, I appreciated that it makes Helen a better, more interesting character if she is a flawed character, like [Mr. Incredible, Bob Parr], and I think her self-consciousness is really relatable.”
Though the scene showed Elastigirl feeling a bit uncomfortable with her appearance, it has since turned into a popular GIF-able, body positive meme.
“I take that as a resounding success,” Grindle says.