FAT TALK BY WAY OF MARIE CLAIRE & MAURA KELLY

28 Oct

Ok, ok so we’ve gotten quite a few emails asking us had we heard about Maura Kelly’s blog post, and if we would even address it.  At first, we were all outraged, but after careful thought we realized that perhaps we were looking at this all wrong.  A lot of times, when you belong in a category (which…we all do so just face it) we tend to jump into the deep end of the emotional pool at the first word of insult.  To me, it seems, Ms. Kelly wasn’t trying to be mean—she was just uneducated on the matter of ‘fatties’ (her word, not ours).  So, Ms. Kelly, we are going to educate you just a tad.  No—we won’t rip you a new one…seems like you got plenty of that in the comments on your blog.

(Maura Kelly’s Post) “The other day, my editor asked me, “Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?”

Because I can be kind of clueless — I’m not much of a TV person — I had no idea what she was talking about, so she steered me to this CNN article, about the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly. As CNN explains, “the show centers around a couple who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous group [and] has drawn complaints for its abundance of fat jokes [as well as] cries from some viewers who aren’t comfortable watching intimacy between two plus-sized actors.”

My initial response was: Hmm, being overweight is one thing — those people are downright obese! And while I think our country’s obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy, I also think it’s at least equally crazy, albeit in the other direction, to be implicitly promoting obesity!”

(Gemini’s Response) We agree with you Ms. Kelly.  Promoting obesity is…well…perhaps crazy is not the proper word. Uh, shall we say irresponsible?  But do you honestly think that the television network put the money into this tv show to say “Hey America!  Look at these two actors who are overweight!  We want you to be overweight too!” That sounds so silly.

(Post) “Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer.”

(Response) Ah, ah, ah Ms. Kelly (by the way—can we call you Maura?  Ms. Kelly seems so informal) we have to stop you right here.  Yes, anorexia is a sickness and yes some slim models are just naturally skinny, however (you knew it was coming right?) there are some obese individuals who are that way by no fault of their own.  We do admit, there are a majority of overweight individuals who are that way simply because they are unable to move in the right direction, but just as you justified some of the super slim models as being ‘naturally skinny’, the same can be said for some overweight people. Now we aren’t the ‘blame it on McDonald’s’ type of publication, but if you want to really get down to the knitty-gritty our food options aren’t exactly excess fat repellant.  Chickens are pumped full of hormones so they can grow bigger, faster.  What do you think happens to us when we ingest it?  That’s just one example—we could run down the various examples of what’s put into our food that shouldn’t be (and possibly lends a helping hand to the obesity issues in our country), but we don’t have all day. Next.

(Post) “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.”

(Response) Most of us find it displeasing to see a ‘very, very fat person simply walk across a room’…wanna know why?  Guess.  Yes Ms. Ke-err, Maura! You got it!  It’s because for years we have been told that if you are not a certain height, skin color, hair color, and size you were…well…displeasing. Most people can look at a tall, size 8, blonde haired, Caucasian woman walk across a room and think ‘She’s pretty’ vs. a short, blonde haired, Caucasian woman walk across the room at 450 lbs.

(Post) “Now, don’t go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I’m not some size-ist jerk.”

(Response) Is this the same thing as “Now don’t get the wrong impression: I have black friends.” Tsk, tsk.

(Post) “And I also know how tough it can be for truly heavy people to psych themselves up for the long process of slimming down. (For instance, the overweight maintenance guy at my gym has talked to me a little bit about how it seems worthless for him to even try working out, because he’s been heavy for as long as he can remember.)”

(Response) Ok, we can agree with you there.  For heavier people it is a very daunting task to even think about working out because they are bombarded with this weight loss product and that weight loss product it’s kind of hard to figure out where to start.  Well, that and (a) they’ve most likely tried everything under the sun, or (b) when they go to the gym to work out people such as yourself who get ‘grossed out’ by ‘watching them do anything’ make deer-in-headlights stares at them.

(Post) “But … I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It’s something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.”

(Response) Ok, we can agree with you here too…well…sorta.  With a lot of control, a lot of healthy choices, and a lot of support excess weight can be overcome.  However, when people make rude statements or write blogs about fat people disgusting them just by walking into a room…that’s not really helping the problem. Is it?

(Post) “(I’m happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it’s cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you’re getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there’s plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you’ll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can’t afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)”

(Response) That’s great advice, too bad it was overshadowed by the rest of what you said.

(Post) “Then again, I guess these characters are in Overeaters Anonymous. So … points for trying?

Then again, I tend to think most television shows are a kind of junk food for the mind and body. The boob tube gives us an excuse to turn off both our brains and our bodies and probably does a helluva lot to contribute to the obesity problem, over all. So … I don’t know.”

(Response) Yea, we could agree with that as well.  Watching Project Runway is way more exciting than sweating on an elliptical machine or catching some rays.

(Post) “What do you guys think? Fat people making out on TV — are you cool with it? Do you think I’m being an insensitive jerk?”

“UPDATE: I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I’ve said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn’t productive, either.

I know a lot of people truly struggle to lose weight — for medical and psychological reasons — and that many people have an incredibly difficult time getting to a healthy size. I feel for those people and I’m truly sorry I added to the unhappiness and pain they feel with my post.

I would like to reiterate that I think it’s great to have people of all shapes and healthy sizes represented in magazines (as, it bears mentioning here, they are in Marie Claire) and on TV shows — and that in my post, I was talking about a TV show that features people who are not simply a little overweight, but appear to be morbidly obese. (Morbid obesity is defined as 100 percent more than their ideal weight.)  And for whatever it’s worth, I feel just as uncomfortable when I see an anorexic person as I do when I see someone who is morbidly obese, because I assume people suffering from eating disorders on either end of the spectrum are doing damage to their bodies, and that they are unhappy. But perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge based on superficial observations.

To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that’s an accurate insight.

People have accused me of being a bully in my post. I never intended to be that — it’s actually the very last thing I want to be, as a writer or a person. But I know that I came off that way, and I really cannot apologize enough to the people whom I upset.”

(Response) Thanks, Maura, for your apology.  It was nice to read (especially the Marie Claire plug) and we truly hope that you meant what you said.  We also hope that the 15 year old obese girl who spends most of her time surfing the internet looking for fashion and beauty tips she can actually use doesn’t get a whiff of your post.  The post will cut her deep and the apology won’t quite serve as a proper bandage.  For the adults the post may sting and we’ll forget about it after a week or so, but we have to remember as writers, bloggers, editors, and so on we do have a responsibility to give our opinions in a more tasteful manner.

Now, to you–the overweight men and women of the world…we have said this time and time again so one more time won’t really hurt.  You can’t always be what the ideal body weight charts say you must be.  You just simply have to be a healthier version of you.  No, there is nothing wrong with the plus size movement.  No there is nothing wrong with seeing gorgeous women with a little meat on their bones in a fashion magazine, but please don’t let that make you comfy.  There is still a battle that needs to be fought and it is our responsibility to fight it with our healthy choices and our sweat.  If you want to stand up and speak out, do it with your tennis shoes and your wallets.  Don’t buy crappy foods to put into your bodies. Don’t forgo the gym just because you don’t feel like it.  No one will ever be a perfect size–that’s not what God made us to be, but everyone can strive to live healthy.  We promise, you won’t be alone. We are right here with you.

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3 Responses to “FAT TALK BY WAY OF MARIE CLAIRE & MAURA KELLY”

  1. perfectperfectionist October 28, 2010 at 11:24 PM #

    Great response to a horrible article.

  2. rosalyn October 28, 2010 at 11:51 PM #

    thanks gmag! 🙂

  3. The Curvy Socialite October 29, 2010 at 4:57 PM #

    Humorous but very real response to a very shameful article. Amazing job ladies!

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