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Fatphobia Alert: Fatties should not be allowed to kiss, apparently!


Two fat people sharing a moment together. How DARE they! And right in front of us, too!

Holy fatphobia, Bitch readers! Marie Claire blogger Maura Kelly had some very uncool and uninformed things to say about fat folks yesterday, starting with her belief that they should not be shown kissing on television. (Y'know, because eeewww!) Since we try to combat this type of size-based vitriol around here, I thought we might as well take a look at her "arguments" against ever seeing fat people do anything ever.

Kelly was responding to this CNN article that points out that fat characters on television rarely get any storylines that aren't about being fat. We knew that already, but still, it's nice that CNN is covering it and shedding light on this issue for those outside of the feminist/fat acceptance communities. You know who disagrees? That's right, Maura Kelly and Marie Claire! Says Kelly:

The other day, my editor asked me, "Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?" ... 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 [sic] addict slumping in a chair.

Well shield your eyes, Kelly, because fat people are making out all over the place! They're also going to work, raising families, exercising, watching TV, going out to dinner, reading, and doing EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HUMANS DO. BECAUSE THEY ARE HUMANS. JUST LIKE YOU ARE.

I know that someone having an "eww gross" response to fat people "doing anything" is not new. I am, however, majorly disappointed to see this coming from a women's magazine—haven't we moved past the whole "fat people need to get their shit together and/or get out of my face" attitude? (No, we haven't.)

Kelly's article is not only full of nastiness, it's also full of fallacies (you know, like fat people need to lose weight because they are clearly unhealthy and unhappy no matter who they are or what their histories are, and that being fat is equivalent to being hooked on heroin). AND, she even deigns to give nutrition and health advice to obese people:

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.

Well THANKS Kelly! Fat people are unable to access this kind of information EVERYWHERE THEY GO, so it's nice that you're putting it out there!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this, but I'd honestly expect this response to be from somewhere like AskMen.com, not Marie Claire. It's immature, misinformed, offensive, and downright disappointing. If you don't want to see fat people on TV because your delicate thin-privileged eyes can't handle it, Maura Kelly, then change the channel. But cut the fat-shaming crap because we don't need any more of it, especially not from you and Marie Claire.

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Comments

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We're not alone...

in being pissed off about this article. The comments section (enter at your own risk: http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/dating-blog/overweight-couples-on-te...) is full of responses to Maura Kelly expressing disgust and hurt at her article. Looks like it's not just Bitch readers who are tired of bullshit fatphobia! Marie Claire readers, you're welcome here! We won't shame you and tell you not to walk around in front of us!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

"Now, don't go getting the wrong idea...

I'm not a size-ist jerk." She's even got a few self-loathing, cowering fatty friends. See? She's totally progressive.

What a joker.

Wow.

I read this in complete utter shock. I can't believe someone would publish this. I am a heavy girl myself and having to deal with the social stigma is enough, let alone have some wing nut lady publish since an discriminatory article such as this. Who is this lady? and what the hell gives her the right to say such things?
I emailed the head of Marie Claire saying they lost a customer, and what a moron this Maura Kelly is. I suggest you all do the same if you feel so strongly against this. Lets get our point across, and unite as women as a hole no matter what we look like! This ideation that there is only one type of beauty is bullshit.

Here is the email to the head honcho over at Marie Claire.
[email protected]

How can the author say, "I

How can the author say, "I think anything you do is disgusting." And then say in her apology, "I didn't intend to be hurtful ..." Seriously? What's the point of even apologizing? Well one thing this author will never see me doing is reading Marie Claire, after all, it might gross her out.

OK, we need a link to this stupidity- NOW!

All of us luscious phatties need to work the marketing pressure magic here. Other maligned groups ban together and stop the prejudice (and out right hate speech) piled on against their communities. Are we too ashamed of who we are to do that? I'm not.

I believe we absolutely need to stand up for ourselves and post comments on the Marie Claire site, write letters to the editor and to other news outlets. The woman who authored that piece is spreading hatred and once again illustrating that fatism is an acceptable form of prejudice in this country.

And what the hell kind of Editor lets that run?UGH.

C'mon ladies, join me in sending a message that this kind of behavior is NOT OK.

wow

Did she really write that? Why would anyone even write that? I know that people say this kind of thing all the time, but it still kind of shocks me..... wait, people are that boring and uninformed that that's all they can think of to say? Why are there people out there so stupid that they think all fat people are unhealthy idiots who shouldn't be able to live normal lives and are only fat because they don't know that they should exercise and eat right? I really want to go punch this woman now.

I would say "unbelievable,"

I would say "unbelievable," but unfortunately it's not. Although I'm not a regular reader of Marie Claire, I'll be sure never to buy another issue. Great coverage by Bitch, as always. Yet another piece of evidence as to why we need this independent, feminist publication!

it's america

Americans seem to be the ones obsessed with weight as defining a person. I've been watching the show "Gavin & Stacy" and two of the main characters, Nessa and Smithy, are overweight and it's not an issue to the show. I'm also a huge fan of "Shameless" and one of the central characters, "Monika," is no skinny mini, yet she wears tight clothes and no one thinks anything of it - in fact, she is viewed as sexy (to certain people, Frank being one of them). Be it religion, race or weight, we Americans are sure judgemental of other people - but don't you say anything bad about me!!

Gavin & Stacey

I agree. I love that show. The woman who plays Nessa is one of the writers, and I think the character's attitude about her weight (brought across with subtlety, instead of as a response to fat jokes by the characters around her) is much more true to life than the way most "fat people" are portrayed on TV.

It's disgusting to me that this is still an issue. Reading her ignorant, hateful speech burns my eyes the way the movement of a fat person offends hers.

tell me more!

tell me more about this "gavin and stacey" show, please! where is it from, and where can i find it?

Gavin & Stacey

Re: Amanda: I agree. I love how Stacey's mom agrees to let Stacey go to London because Nessa is a "big girl" and will take care of Stacey.

Re: Katie: It's from the UK and I got it off of Netflix. You could probably torrent it, too. Here's more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavin_%26_Stacey. But don't read too far if you plan on watching it - spoilers!

Ugh

I saw red when I read this article. I commented on the site and hammered out a quick blog post about it. What she wrote is hate-filled crap.

:(

Hmm... Wouldn't it be great if everyone had access to high quality foods and leisure time for personal trainers? Kelly is obviously ignorant of the effects of economic stratification on health. It's no accident that low income correlates to obesity. Kelly has an obvious class bias, which is especially apparent in her Marie Claire bio. She carefully constructs her identity in terms of who she knows and what they do. It is important for her to define herself by her elite affiliations with her "tight circle" of magazine editors, fashion designers, and professors. Clearly Maura would not deign to befriend any waitresses or store clerks because they would do nothing to elevate her social standing.

Agree with you, Stefa.knee

I agree with you completely.

Now, I guess everyone is

Now, I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I will defend her for being able to say what she has to say--no matter how hurtful or malicious it is. But I am saddened. Saddened because, like so many young women, I am overweight with PCOS and I struggle every single day. I am someone after many many years became happier in my own skin, in my own body, while realizing changes still need to be made. It's about progress. It's amazing how the opinions and words of one person can make me feel like *that* girl again--that shy, unconfident, embarrased girl that I have tried for so many years to change.

I also work in public health and so many don't understand that there are so many people that like in food deserts and unsafe neighborhoods, where they cannot get healthy food or exercise. Maybe Maura has the luxury of shopping a Whole Foods, but I know many--including me--don't.

I think it even saddens me more because my brother died of a heroin overdose last year. She has no clue.

But the damage is done. To those that struggle for acceptance. To a magazine that will lose subscriptions, and to a young freelance writer who wrote those malicious, stupid words. Unfortunately for Maura, the internet doesn't forget and nor do readers.

I love this magazine, and to everyone--you are beautiful, no matter what your size. Try not to let her hateful words ruin your day or ruin who you are inside.

Wow. This is the worst.

"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."

OMG, everybody, it's ok!! She knows fat people, so this article can't possibly be offensive! We've all just got the wrooooong impression.

but but but

But I thought that if you know a member of a marginalized group, you earn your Totally Not A Bigot card! You know, because you can't have size-ist thoughts and opinions if you deign associate with fat people. /sarcasm

I really don't know what parallel universe that people live in where this is an acceptable defense. Lookin' at you, Dr. Laura.

Viewpoints

First off, I'd like to say that this article was totally rude and completely uncalled for, however I understand what she's saying in that article because I know where she's coming from, although she should just keep her stupid mouth shut and get some real friends besides her uberhip stick crowd. She's anorexic, or at least was, and I've struggled with eating disorders as well. For people like us who view fat as the ultimate evil, it is displeasing to see obese people, but the problem is from OUR fucked up view of things, not from obese people. She needs to see a therapist to start dealing with the fact that she obviously has some issues going on because having such a nasty view of people bigger than her is going to poison her life. My best friend and her husband are bigger than the people on this show and I love them with all my heart and would flip out if I ever heard someone make comments about them like this bimbo did about "Mike and Molly." If she wanted to talk about health issues concerning obesity fine (even though others far more educated about the subject have done so) but saying that obese people expressing love for one another is gross, well that is the truly gross thing about that article.

Just to Clarify....

And when I said "however I understand what she's saying in that article because I know where's she's coming from" I am NOT condoning what she's writing. I was trying to point out that the problem is in her/my mind based on our issues with food/fat that are unhealthy and need to be addressed in therapy. It sounds too much like I'm making excuses for her which was not my intent at all.

And to think, my sweet,

And to think, my sweet, progressively-minded mother bought me a subscription to Marie Claire for Christmas last year... I'm glad that gift is running out. (I usually toss it in the recycling as soon as I get it)

Reactions are strong on this one

I agree. This is a pretty poorly thought-out article, insensitive, and it stinks of small-minded prejudice.

I have one thing to say in its defense, though, and it's a very small point, a tiny thing, and I hope that this doesn't bring the vultures down upon me...

In the Marie Clare comments, there are a many people [women, I presume] that talk about their problems with weight, detailing their diet and exercise routines, and they say that they have issues, hormonal or otherwise, that contribute to their weight problems. Others rightly point out that obesity is often a problem that has roots in psychological trauma, image issues, socio-economic factors, and other deeper etiologies.

That being said, the author (whose name I choose not to type) says that "obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over." Although generalizations are dangerous, I have to agree with her on this one small point.

There are counterexamples everywhere you look, that is a given with an issue this complex. BUT the basic biological principle is that if you consume more calories than you expend, you gain weight.

Now this is not to say that I think fat people are gross, and it's not to say that I think they shouldn't kiss on TV, and it's not to say that obese people are sub-human. It's also not to say that every single fat person is entirely to blame for his or her obesity, and that they are all lazy and useless, or that all people have lives that are similarly easy, and have easy access to better food or an active lifestyle. It's also not to say that people are not victims of the Great Metabolic Roulette Wheel of Life.

It's just that this ill-informed and insensitive blog writer was right about that one point - MOST people can do something about their weight.

The outrage we are seeing, however, is quite justified, in that the writer in question really made herself look like a total fucking jerk, and I think she probably knows that by now.

But why should we?

First, as a person with a graduate degree in public health focusing on the myth you've promoted here, I must say you have a lot to learn about weight and it's "control." 95% of people who try to lose weight will regain - even if they "stick to the plan." Our bodies are not made for longterm weight loss. I spent an entire graduate career looking for one single study that showed "success" in producing long term weight loss for even half its participants. Couldn't find a single one.

Second, even if it were true that most people can "control" their weight, why would we want to? The attempts to control weight have been shown to be the cause of the problems often attributed to high weight itself! (Look at the studies of hypertension, for example. When we find the rare fatties who don't try to control their weight, we see no increased risk of hypertension. It is the weight control attempts that CAUSE it for many of us fat people!) Also, what about all the health benefits of being fat and health risks of being "normal" weight? Why would we want to take on such risks to please people?

Finally, why would we want to waste all that energy - physical and mental and spiritual - just to perpetuate an idea that some body sizes are better than others? Makes no sense to me at all.

All bases covered in several short paragraphs

Then again, I guess these characters are in Overeaters Anonymous. So ... points for trying?

Pardon me as I say, "Er...wut?" "Points for trying" to do WHAT, express the view that fatness is never okay or natural? I'm pretty sure many have successfully "tried" that already. The fact that Maura Kelly hears of a show about two fat people and assumes that must be its objective or the only idea it could contribute says more about her than the show. (No surprise, since the total lack of info indicates she has not even seen the show this piece is posited as being about; the topic is just a vehicle for her fatphobia.) It's also telling that she starts the piece by saying she doesn't like seeing fat people because it's not "aesthetically pleasing" (safe excuse to hate on a lot of groups) and then regresses into "Also! By the way! It's unhealthy!"-type excuses.

Elsewhere: referring to the flagrantly fallible BMI; claiming that seeing one fat person in the media promotes obesity, but seeing nothing but thin people does not promote anorexia because no one is "naturally" fat (based on her endless knowledge of disease side effects, or what?) All the fatphobia bases are covered, I think. She has previously written about suffering from anorexia herself, and I understand if she has some work to do re: body positivity, but to assume this prejudice is legitimate enough to flaunt is, well...maybe she knows what it is:

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?

Yes and yes.

I just can't wait to SEE how

I just can't wait to SEE how Marie Claire responds.

I was to see some new shapes in their magazine and a 180 degree turn around.

Else if their readership doesn't demand change, then this doesn't bode well.

Yea!

"Well shield your eyes, Kelly, because fat people are making out all over the place! They're also going to work, raising families, exercising, watching TV, going out to dinner, reading, and doing EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HUMANS DO. BECAUSE THEY ARE HUMANS. JUST LIKE YOU ARE"

I love this.

The show has problems, but

The show has problems, but ive been watching it because its available and has fat people on it and theyre actually talking about dating and shit.
But this article by that person is completely fucked. The mere existence of fatties is traumatizing to this person, and people wonder where this attitude comes from? Why fat people are treated this way?

Well, this fatty is gonna go make out with another fatty very soon, and will feel great about it, and then will be making out with even MORE fatties later in the week! And doing positively unspeakable things with other fatties!

Fatty love!

fatty love

Yes! We need to videotape ourselves making out with our fat sweeties/make-out buddies/whatever and send them to her until she runs screaming into a convent.

*****************************************************************
"Oh don't the days seem lank and long
When all goes right and nothing goes wrong
And isn't your life extremely flat
When you've nothing whatever to grumble at?"

--W.S. Gilber

i started making avatars of

i started making avatars of pics of my sweetie and i kissing, with the text "ZOMG! FAT PEOPLE KISSING!!!"
Every little bit helps!!!

I Will No Longer Buy Marie Claire

To the powers that be at Marie Claire, You better wake up and realize WHO your market really is. We are not all size 2 models. I bet MOST of us would be considered plus size by your standards. This article is fully offensive and the person who wrote it should be fired. It's hate speech and I don't know how it slipped by as ok to publish. It is everything that is wrong with fashion today. It's why we have so many eating disorders in this country. You should be ashamed of this and quickly respond with a sincere apology. If not, prepare to lose MANY readers. I know you lost me, even after so many years.

The issue isn't whether fat

The issue isn't whether fat is healthy or ok. The issue is having such contempt for a large group of people based on prejudice. We are all different. Why can't we accept that? What does this sense of superiority accomplish? It's hateful and harmful. This is the same as online bullying. Bashing people because you don't like they way they look is childish and if you don't get that you are ignorant.

Fatness

To be honest, I personally find it a little gross when I see ultra-slim/borderline anorexic people swapping the spit. (There's a scene in, I believe the second Matrix movie, where Neo & Trinity are having sex & I remember turning to my then-current boyfriend at the time & saying quite loudly in the movie theater "How can people find THAT attractive?!? She's just as bony & lean as he is!")

I'm know I have curves, bends and twists to my body, because, well, duh, I'm female and for the most part, um it's supposed to be there to help me when I have children. Now granted right now, I have a few too many bends & curves, but, I'm working on it, very grudgingly, but I am doing because I personally don't like what I see in the mirror and I want to have children in the next few years before I'm 40 (granted if you saw me on the street I look closer to 21 than my mid-30's - one of the "benefits" of being rolly-polly, thank you fatness!) and a whole other slew of things to worry about besides my health & the health of my future children. But, I hate it when my skinny relatives & friends point out I could stand to lose a few pounds - I literally have almost bitten my tongue off because I have a tendency to shoot my mouth off when I feel I am "under attack". (A few times I've even been sarcastic & mean right back and have stated "You know, they can do wonders now with ______..." (insert your choice comment, I've used the following: face lifts/dye jobs/waxing) It's one thing when the media tells you "YOU ARE FAT!" But, it's really hurtful when it comes from your own inner circle, when these are supposed to be the folks who got your back through thick and thin.

everyone's rushing to defend

everyone's rushing to defend the fat chick on this show, but no one defends the fat guy? Typical fat women, supporting each other but doing nothing on men's behalf.

Did you even read the

Did you even read the comments? Nobody is strictly defending the actress of size at the expense of the actor--the comments and the article target the fat shaming on the whole, not constrained to gender. Though it is worth pointing out women of size are generally excluded from sitcoms, while several in recent memory ("King of Queens," "Still Standing") have employed men of size in lead roles. Those roles have showcased a depth beyond cracking a fat joke, or indicating that their only responsibility is to be the comic relief based on their size.

Fat women and men!

Hi Anonymous,

I'm wondering where exactly you're seeing evidence for this? I have read through the comments and don't see any "typical fat women supporting each other but doing nothing on men's behalf." This article is about fat people on television, and that includes women AND men. If you have evidence to back up your claims though, please share it!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

LOLZ. Oh come on. Evidence,

LOLZ. Oh come on. Evidence, plz.

i'm not a fat woman, but a fat genderqueer dude type person. We're not all fat men or fat women here. And it's no one's job, least of all women, to do something "on men's behalf".

Get over it

It's sad to see that there are still people like this out there, publishing their hateful bullshit!
An article like that isn't helping anyone, it only makes people feel bad about themselves. And weather they can or want to change the way they look is beside the point. We should focus more on building healthy body image. Not everyone is tiny or big. And most woman in America, I'm sure even the average reader of Marie Claire, are "plus size".
It may not seem like a big deal to some people, but this kind of behavior doesn't do anything positive. In general those kind of magazines promote eating disorders. I know from experience that the media can really hurt your body image. It takes a lot of courage to be comfortable with yourself today, and it shouldn't. It should be ok to be who you are.
Woman's magazines should focus more on things like that. More on beauty in all forms, focusing more on health, not size.

Love yourself, no matter what the media tells you. You are beautiful.

Marie Claire is responsible - fire Kate Schweitzer

Maura Kelly, is absolutely is entitled to harbour mean, judgemental opinions... Marie Claire as a part of Hearst publications condoned and endorsed her ignorance by paying her and publishing her vapid, shallow bullshit. It's Senior Web Editor Kate Schweitzer that should lose her job.

If you find simply looking at someone in a specific demographic 'disgusting', there is no argument I will ever make that will put a dent in your attitude - but if you decide to act on your ignorance and willfully inflict hurt on someone because of their appearance, that's when anyone with an ounce of humanity should stand up and say 'enough'. It's not a 'health' issue - it's a dignity issue. Even if all morbidly obese people were unhealthy, unhappy and a 'drain on the health care system', that's no excuse to dehumanize and humiliate them with this type of flippant cruelty.

Agreed! The buck stops not

Agreed! The buck stops not with the fatphobic freelancer, but with the fatphobic editor who thought this piece was appropriate for Marie Claire. I've seen a lot of speculation in the blogosphere about what's wrong with with Maura Kelly, that she would write a piece like this. I want to know what's wrong with her editor, that she would publish it.

Every time I saw this post I

Every time I saw this post I caught only a thumbnail of the photo and presumed it was Rosanne Barr and John Goodman on the set of Roseanne. Heh.

I don't have anything else to add; I'm in agreement that this was a ridiculous article for Marie Claire to run.

Obesity is a drain on they

Obesity is a drain on they health care system? Oh, of course, right along with all those sick kids (kids are just germ factories, aren't they?) And what about those several hundred thousand people with cancer, sucking down all the healthcare with their chemo and surgeries all because they smoked or drank or ate food hopped up with hormones or walked in the sunshine or had a genetic predisposition? I mean, really! And those car accident victims -- damn them, needing health care! And should we talk about all those people with eating disorders, most of whom are "skinny", who require therapy and medical intervention while their minds are distorted by this kind of hateful talk?

Yeah, it really sounds stupid when you go beyond regurgitating the soundbite and, oh, I dunno, attempting a logical thought. But don't strain yourself or anything.

Many people here have spoken to the issue that fat is not a monolithic issue with a single cause. Sure, in the most simple terms it comes down to eating more than your body burns off (although that isn't the only reason people become fat) but that's like saying people die because they stop breathing. There's a lot more going on that speaking in soundbites skips right past, ignorance flapping in the breeze.

Talk like Maura Kelly's doesn't just damage people of size. It damages anyone with an eating disorder, with a self esteem problem because of body image, with depression, or with a physical ailment that prevents them from doing all they could otherwise do to stay at this arbitrary and ever changing standard of "thin". It does damage to people who don't think about their weight but find themselves, as many of us do, getting a little fatter as the years go by because they don't want to live to be thin. It does damage to EVERYONE, not just the people blatantly targetted.

And if you are the least bit uncertain that Kelly's words are bigoted, prejudiced, cruel, and mean, replace "fat" with the group of your choice. Muslims. Blacks. Asians. French. Short people. People with Freckles. Take your pick. It would never sound good.

appropriate comeback

"I'm not here to decorate your world."

(That's a quote from a magnet on my fridge. Unfortunately, I don't remember where it came from!)

yes!

that's beautiful, that is a sentence that rocks my world.

It shouldn't surprise me anymore...

It shouldn't surprise me anymore how insensitive and hateful people are, but this one was really horrible.

Moderatin'

Hi everyone,

I've deleted a few choice comments from this thread because thing were getting a little hateful and rage-y towards fat folks. We practice (or at least try to practice) fat acceptance around here, and that means saying things like "put down the McDonald's and get off the couch" is NOT going to fly. Fat is an adjective like any other adjective, and fat people are people who deserve respect. No concern trolling! No trolling!

Thanks!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

what a tragic blunder

Kelly's blog was just tragic. I really feel for her. As she has already admitted, her blog clearly reflects more about herself than anything she sees in the world (which inherently has also been proven to be a rather limited ability in itself). I think bashing her into a bloody pulp really isn't going to help anyone be any more enlightened and hope people will give her the benefit of the doubt.... to learn, mature and grow from this experience.

That said, I really think Marie Claire itself is sending out a big finger to the public if they do not relieve her of her job. I blame MC much more for hiring someone that grossly ignorant of women's concerns and then being so negligent as to let something like that blog go to the public through their name. It really says SO MUCH about what's going on inside MC. I will definitely NOT open one of their magazines anytime soon.

So it looks like Maura Kelly

So it looks like Maura Kelly updated the article (don't know what time) and basically apologized for coming off rude:

"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% 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."

And as of 6:12 pm PST there are 617 comments on her article. Wow.

p.s. Kelsey, it was nice meeting you yesterday!

Mixed apology

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% 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.

Oh my, where to start? She wants to remind people that she's only dissing people "who are not simply a little overweight, but appear to be morbidly obese." She only hates more-than-a-little fat people, y'all, so it's okay! We misunderstood! *face/palm*

So she feels "just as uncomfortable when [she] see[s] an anorexic person"...has no one ever told her you can't just visually identify people suffering from eating disorders?? Anorexics and bulimics often fall into this little thing called famine mode, and they do not always have the stereotypical skeletal-looking figures. Not to mention, this idea that she can spot anorexics at a glance is in complete contradiction with the original article, in which she excused the media's endless sea of very thin people by saying they could naturally be that way.

And then, by describing a "spectrum" with the obese on one end and anorexics on the other, she explicitly equates fatness with those suffering from overeating disorder. Not only are fat people not necessarily overeaters, but plenty of overeaters are not fat!

Oh, and she assumes that the poor obese folks "are unhappy." Maura Kelly presents: "I'm just worried about your health!" 2.0, in which "health" is substituted out for "mental well-being." Silly us! Why get angry at someone who is just WORRIED about people?!

Yes, it's better than nothing. But it's not nearly enough.

a soothing note

I want to add a soothing note to this maelstrom. When crap like this comes down and we all get in a (completely appropriate) dither I like to break away for a bit and watch "The Vicar of Dibley." Especially the episodes where the star (whom I am completely sure Maura Kelly would label "morbidly obese" and concern troll) has steamy romances with movie-star good-looks hunks who are desperately in love with her. And it's amazingly funny!

It's a real shame that this

It's a real shame that this happened. I'm not terribly familiar with Marie Claire, but the few issues I've flipped through I didn't mind. I'm disappointed to see such mean things are allowed to be published over there. I'm glad to see that Maura Kelly apologized, but still, I wish an editor had caught her article instead of enabling that kind of behavior. I think it's pretty telling that Kelly likens fat people to drunks or heroin addicts--it shows me that she has latched on to the idea of being fat as being a victim of substance. I'm not about to pull the old armchair-analysis on her, but the violence of her response does seem to suggest a deeply personal issue with weight and appearance. Again, my real shock lies in that someone else okayed it for publication.

p.s.

And yes, "The Vicar of Dibley" is a great show!

an alternative to Maura Kelly's fatbashing

Hi all. At the risk of looking like an opportunistic huckster, I wanted to let all of you know about my new documentary film titled Weightless. The film is about a scuba-diving camp for larger women, started by a larger woman who's a California-based psychologist and scuba diver.

I made the film in part precisely because of the f-d up worldview of people like Maura Kelly. What she wrote offended me on levels I can't even articulate. I wanted Weightless to show plus-size women who are living their lives to the fullest; who do not let their size define who they are. So if you're interested in checking it out, go to www.orgchaos.com/weightless.

Thanks y'all!

I cannot believe that Marie

I cannot believe that Marie Claire would actually publish something so outrageous. If the comment had been made about a minority group, the woman would have been fired. It just proves that the media is only too happy to publish garbage.

Joanna Coles responds

Marie Claire EIC Joanna Coles responded (sort of) to the post yesterday: http://bit.ly/aagqGu. I thought her apology was a little lacking, since it was basically not an apology, but it's interesting to see how many people have responded to Marie Claire on this issue at least.

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

In her defense.

She has the right to write about whatever she wants. And obviously there is a market for this type of media, seeing as how the editors let that fly. That isn't to say I agree with her. If you don't agree with it, refrain from reading that material, but what do you plan to gain from that? No matter how much it sucks that she said it, you can't take away her right- or anyone else's right to say it. Your argument is for nothing. Look at it from her perspective- she was simply stating her opinion. Some poeple may agree and you may disagree, but she isn't Making fun of your article defending the 'fatties'. Yes, she's a bitch. A skinny bitch. I get it, but why are you getting so butt hurt over an uniformed, badly written piece of trash mag? And majority of them are just that. You come off crazy picking a fight over spilled milk. Sour spilled milk.

well that's the point

People respond because this is "Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Bitch Media’s mission is to provide and encourage an empowered, feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture." It's the whole point.

so if a racist wanted to have

so if a racist wanted to have an articule in a magazine about how their superior because of their race/looks, that is okay? No, she should lose her job...and maybe she can learn sensitivity, or even what us humans call emotion!

The Big Fat Kiss-In, 10/29 NYC

For fatties and fatty-smoochers who'd like to show Marie Claire how you feel in a more puckered up manner, we've organized The Big Fat Kiss-In, Friday at 6pm in front of Marie Claire's headquarters, 300 West 57th, NYC. Bring your chapstick.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164609923568922&notif_t=event_wall...

Yeah but....

I was pretty pissed by reading this article. She was mean, hurtful, and insensitive. HOWEVER, I don't feel that her apology was insincere.
I had been teased in school by more than one female (i wasn't even really that big!) whom i would later find out had either anorexia or bulimia. THEY ARE AFRAID OF FAT. Fear can turn to hatred pretty quickly. That was the root of their bullying. I forgave the ones who realized what they were doing later on.

I didn't know anything about Maura Kelly before i read this article, but before she even issued her apology, i knew she had issues concerning under eating. I think maybe she saw through her delusional thinking when it was pointed out though. Maybe this been a good learning experience for her.

Oh and by the way, I think its real nice of everyone on here to keep demonizing her despite her obvious mental illness concerning her body. Do you want her to write her apology in blood? Forgiveness really isn't that bad.

Larger Than Life Character

Its kind of amazing to me that America still has these prejudices against fatness and what it means about a person considering our increasing majority of less than skinny people. I won't say I'm completely free of guilt in some judgmental areas, unfortunately, but I know enough to recognize my misplaced, media-directed prejudice and think through it logically until I come out the other end breathing a cleaner, freer air, and feeling decidedly less self-loathing. For some hilarious, and inspiring, less than skinny folk on the telly check out the "Vicar of Dibley" with the lovely Dawn French, as well as all of her work with the equally hilarious Jennifer Saunders.