People often ask me the type of comments that could impact a developing child’s body image…here’s an example.
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. –Maura Kelly, Marie Claire Magazine
Some people press “publish” before they think. Kind of like pressing send on a text or an email that is simply verbal diarrhea, rash or rude reaction, or discriminatory aggression. I think what Maura Kelly of Marie Claire Magazine wrote in her blog post yesterday is all three. Her over 500 commenters really told her to shove it (and worse) after as she gave her two cents about the TV show Mike and Molly, a show about a couple who meet at Overeaters Anonymous.
“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… 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?”
The message that these kinds of comments send is that women and men who don’t fit the stereotypical thin ideal should not be seen. They embody the sentiment that “fat is bad” therefore “they are bad.” It’s what I repeatedly talk about in my new body image book; Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession is Messing Up Our Girls & How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It. Bad, in this case, is an umbrella term for ugly, blameworthy, and gross. (Some of these same themes, but from a very different and empathetic perspective) came up as people discussed ABC Family Channel’s “Huge” this summer)
One commenter puts it well when she writes;
“Real writing is profound without sounding like a ditzy communications major with no real direction in life. The saddest part isn’t that you’re a bully, which you are, it’s that you are obviously very insecure….The real world is about educating others on the various walks of life, not adding to the already alarmingly high amount of prejudice and hate.”
People are entitled to their opinion about weight. But discrimination is simply uncalled for, hurtful, and serves no purpose but to alienate in an attempt to elevate oneself to an “elite group.” (Can you imagine if someone wrote this about any other minority group?) These types of condescending words not only feed our already unbalanced societal view when it comes to people who are plus size, but also are the kinds of insidious messages that plague our young people who continually get confirmation that if they don’t adhere to the thin ideal (and who, “heaven-forbid,” have a medical problem that causes them to put on weight), they should just go into their room, shut the door, and don’t come out until they are acceptable.
I should note that Maura Kelly did issue an apology. But is it too little too late?