Marie Claire magazine has caused quite a bit of uproar today. Or more to the point one of their columnists, Maura Kelly, caused a bit of an uproar. Her article entitled "Should fatties get a room?" gave Ms. Kelly more attention than she probably ever thought she would get. The "fatties" in question of her blog are the stars of CBS's new comedy "Mike and Molly" about two overweight people that meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and fall in love.
Ms. Kelly takes exception to the fact that two "fatties" have a show. Her thoughts on the subject? "So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair."
She goes on to note that she is not a "size-ist" (what a clever play of racist, right? Yes, that was sarcasm) because she does have friends that could be considered plump. And Kelly is so concerned about the fatties of the country that she offers weight loss tips because, ya know, none of us have ever tried to lose weight. She notes, furthermore, that she has not even see the TV show because she finds most television to be "junk food". She concludes with "Am I being an insensitive jerk?"
Naturally, she got piled on by people outraged by her ignorant and yes, insensitive article. It prompted an apology from her, which she revealed that she has suffered from anorexia, and that she never meant to come off as rude or a bully. Of course, then she takes the time to then get in a few more digs about the overweight population.
When I first saw the hoopla start up over the Marie Claire post, I wasn't going to read it because I personally didn't care to see what I knew would be insulting words. But I gave in and read it. And the first thing I felt was instant shame. Oh my God, here is this woman saying how repulsed she would be to see an overweight person. Not only repulsed by it but she takes the time to compare fat people to alcoholics and drug addicts. Author Stacey Ballis blogged a fabulous response where she does mention the fact that overeating is an addiction, just like alcoholism, gambling, drug use, and any number of addictions out there. I felt ashamed that yes, I am a "fat girl" and that here was this woman, who does not know me, writing bullying words that made me cringe. Then I got angry at her. Who does Maura Kelly think she is? She, in fact, does not know me. She doesn't know the person that I am. I happen to like the person I am. Yes, I do need to lose weight. Yes it has been a constant battle that I have fought and have yet to conquer. But her little opinion is insulting. Of course, she is welcome to her opinion, just like I am welcome to my opinion. She is stating that just because I am overweight, I should be hidden away and ignored? That I have no rights to a life or love because I am not a size 6? To that I have to say the one that should feel ashamed is Maura Kelly for being so narrow minded. I hope in her little world, she finds happiness. In this great big world, she is going to be the one that has to stay hidden away in a bubble to avoid seeing all the things that turn her off.
For the record, I like Mike & Molly. I think the show is funny and I love the stars. Yes, they do go a bit overboard with the fat jokes, but they also are showing a bit of reality. There are people of all shapes and sizes in this world and they all deserve to have someone love them.
("Mike & Molly" producer Mark Roberts replied to the article here.)