Should Fatties Get A Room?? A Guest Blogger!

Hi, everyone!

I'm Tonya's friend, Julie, from A Life with Walter.  Tonya asked me to be a guest blogger here on The Bee Charmer and I'm happy to oblige!

When I expressed an interest in guest blogging here,  Tonya suggested that I blog about my opinion on a recent article that appeared in Marie Claire Magazine.  

Maura Kelly wrote an article on Monday, October 25 entitled, "Should Fatties Get a Room? (Even on TV?)" and it was so offensive to me...so much so that I couldn't believe what I was reading when I read it.

It's obvious to me that Ms. Kelly has some of her own demons to bear when it comes to weight and weight issues, but it certainly does not excuse her comments about obese individuals. 

Ms. Kelly states, "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."

Excuse me?  She finds it offensive to watch an obese person walk across a room?  Additionally, Ms. Kelly goes on to say that she's got friends who would be considered "plump" and that she's not a "size-ist jerk" but her insensitivity in her article goes against what she says. 

Ms. Kelly reiterates a theme I hear a lot when it comes to various opinions on how to "fix" fat people:  Diet and exercise. She states,  "
(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." 

There are obese people who spend thousands of dollars in diet and exercise programs trying to change their size. Many also spend years in therapy in an attempt to get to the bottom of their inability to lose weight.  Size issues are much more complex than just not enough diet and exercise.  Just like Anorexia and Bulimia, an obese person's relationship with food is usually much more complex than just eating too much and not getting enough exercise. 
As a former obese person, I have been the subject of size discrimination.  I know of at least one job where my qualifications and experience were a fit for the job, but I didn't look like they wanted me to look.  Additionally, there is nothing worse than getting on an airplane, sitting down in the seat and having the person next to you make a derogatory comment about your size under their breath but loud enough for you to hear it.  If Ms. Kelly made derogatory comments about a gay person of color, she would have been summarily fired from her job and the magazine would have issued a formal apology and would be placing Public Service Announcements in their magazine about tolerance. 

Why is the standard of discrimination over people of color and "alternative lifestyle" choices different from a person who weighs more than what the national BMI standards say they should weigh?  How is it different?  Why is size discrimination tolerated? 

There was a meeting about this article, the editor/publisher told Ms. Kelly to voice her opinion on this subject, then reviewed the article and PUBLISHED it.  For a national magazine that has a monthly article about a large woman living in a thin world, it just goes to show me that they don't believe what they are publishing in their magazine.  There were many counterpoint articles all over the internet where the authors bad-mouthed the author.  I go back to what I said earlier.  Her issues surrounding weight are evident in this article.  What I do feel, however, is that in addition to Ms. Kelly, there are many others with similar attitudes about obese people and what I wonder is when size discrimination will no longer be tolerated.  

While I do not begrudge Ms. Kelly her opinion on this subject, I'm not sure why Ms. Kelly and the magazine felt that this was an acceptable topic to write an article about.  While I read the article as a person who used to be fat, I cannot even imagine how terrible it is for a woman who is currently obese felt about having her worst fears recognized. There were woman who read this article and said, "Oh, she's talking about me." And my heart hurts for the women who are having these feelings after reading it.

Image:  Barbie Kitchen by Nicole Houff Photography.

1 comment:

  1. Holy crap that's upsetting. Obesity is not a quick fix. It's a heck of a lot deeper than that. It's not just about diet and exercise. She found it offensive to watch an obese person walk across the room? I find it offensive that people can walk this earth harboring such ill will to perfect strangers.

    Won't be picking up Marie Claire ever again.


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