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Will Marie Claire Pay for the Room it Wants ‘Fatties’ to Get? (Cause I Could Use a Vacation)

October 28, 2010

The ladyrag Marie Claire – you know one that’s the magazine equivalent of putting glasses on Stallone to make audience forget he mostly grunts and blasts his way through films (I see you, Tango and Cash) – done stepped in it with a post by a blogger named Maura Kelly called Should “Fatties” Get a Room? (Even on TV?) and damn near broke the internets!

Maura says:

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.

Oh snap! She wasn’t joshing when she said, “brutally honest”.

Maura says:

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. 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.)

We got the right impression. Don’t get shy now. Tell us what you really think of the fatties. You’ve got the floor! Also, do people in your life have real names or are they just identified by what you happen to think is wrong with them?

Maura says:

(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.)

Um, I do not take eating advice from someone who ADMITS to having a disordered relationship with food – Kelly admitted to having such a relationship. Also, you realize fatties done did all the legwork on that, right?

Naturally the post touched off a firestorm in the blogosphere with all the usual outfits weighing in with their opinions. Of the many blistering critiques the two I found the most useful were from Fatshionista and Womanist Musings. Both articles offered well-reasoned, compassionate and intelligent discourse, which frankly was quite rare on both sides. Now I know I ain’t the general store for all your compassion needs, but I gotta tell you, I became increasingly tired of the gotcha ladybloggers picking at Marie Claire like a bunch of freaking jackals. beams and motes, folks. Kthx! It was amusing to see the nice white lady blogsosphere mobilize so fast! Man, we sure could have used your page view seeking outrage when that cop sucker punched that black chick in the face.


Now Maura Kelly did eventually offer an apology:

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.

But it’s basically a long-winded, “I’m sorry that you’re offended/I got caught” type of apology with no value or sincerity. All in all, this is just par for the course for an industry whose sole business plan is to make you feel like shit. So for me it’s not shock or outrage, but more, “What took you so long?” Overt -ism fuckery is generally a train that is never late.

So for showing your true colors, Marie Claire, here’s a song for you. Sung beautifully by the kind person your site thinks shouldn’t even be allowed walk across the street:

Get it girl!


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