Shame, shame, shame on Marie Claire and especially on writer Maura Kelly, who affirmatively answers her own question in her fat-bashing "Should Fatties Get a Room (Even on TV)?" Kelly apparently feels she needs eyeball bleach after watching a show called Mike & Molly, which centers around a couple whose romance blossoms after an encounter at an OA meeting. I myself have never seen the show, but apparently it dares to present these obese people as --- can you believe it --- HAVING LIVES! Being in love! Kissing and stuff! How dare it show fat people as doing anything other than sitting on the couch stuffing their faces, being somebody's funny sidekick, or being rude and mean and miserable!
Kelly writes: "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!"
That's right. According to Kelly, showing fat people living normal lives is promoting obesity. She goes on to admit that it would indeed "gross her out" to see a very, very fat person just walk across the room, let alone make out on TV. But she's not a fat bigot, oh, no. She actually has some fat friends! Lucky them! And she'll even give you some nutrition and exercise advice, because as a recovering anorexic, she knows that "obesity is something most people have a ton of control over" (TON- get it? Ha ha!), and besides, we all know the reason you're fat is because you don't know a thing about dieting and exercise.
Well, Maura Kelly, as someone who was obese and still is overweight by BMI standards, as someone has had a great deal of hot dirty monkey sex while weighing over three hundred pounds, let me tell you what disgusts me. You disgust me, thoroughly. You think you're superior, that you have a better life, that you know more, that you're hipper and cuter and somehow more deserving just because you aren't fat. You think the fact that you aren't fat means that you are somehow qualified to give advice to people who are. You think that people who don't adhere to your own shallow standards should make every effort to live their lives out of your view, so as not to offend your delicate sensibilities. Furthermore, in your sad little Sex in the City sound-bite existence, you thought it was cute to write absolutely hateful words about it in a frothy little magazine article.You, madam, are the very definition of a bigot. An uneducated bigot, at that. But then, most bigots are uneducated about the focus of their bigotry.
Kelly does update her article with what seems to be a heartfelt apology, regretting her insensitivity and admitting that what she said was not productive. But it's too late: she's outed herself as a fat bigot, and an ignorant one at that.
The article has ignited a firestorm of responses, which I haven't the energy to read (I glanced at them; it's the usual mixture of hate mail addressed to the writer, bickering , and plenty more hate from the "Nyah Nyah Fatty" types). This post is my response, but I am also going to write Marie Claire, with which I am thoroughly disgusted. I always thought they were a cut above when it came to women's magazines, and this far from their finest hour.
This type of bigotry and public fat-bashing does a great deal of damage. We must call the bullies and the bigots out. Gay bullying has been in the news a lot lately, and there has been a marvelous campaign supporting GLBT youth, but where is the campaign for all the fat kids made miserable by bullying, which this type of article completely supports? NO bullying is acceptable.
We, who have chosen to battle our demons with food and eating, cannot take it to heart. Yes, call the bigots out, but recognize them for what they are: small people, riddled with their own insecurities and poverty of the soul. We can, quite literally and figuratively, be bigger than they; and one way to do that is to go on with our own lives and live well.
For me, that means pursuing my opera career, writing, and continuing to work hard on my physical fitness and health. I actually enjoy it. I enjoy pushing myself physically and mentally. I think that's one reason I love opera so much; it is an all-encompassing art form that demands everything from you, every last drop of your strength and talent and intelligence and humanity and training; and then it demands that you offer it to other people like some sort of holy sacrifice. But you receive your rewards tenfold.
I wish I had it in me to push myself physically the way my friend Robin Flynn does --- that's my aspiration. One day, I would love to run (or stumble, or crawl) a marathon, just to be able to say I'd done it. Having very concrete goals (and deadlines!) is very useful for --- well, any accomplishment you hope to achieve, but certainly in weight loss and in changing your fitness lifestyle.
I mentioned that there would be another challenge coming up, and so there shall. I'm going to give another couple of days for the 10x10-25 Challengers to report in, and for a roundup and announcement of the winner. Then I'll announce the next challenge. In the meantime, let's all be thinking about our next goals. What do we most need to do? What are the essential little steps to getting ther? What are we willing to do?
And last but not least, here's a challenge we can all undertake right away: give some thought to a bigot or bully you might encounter regularly in your life, or imagine meeting one by chance. How will you call that person out on their bigotry? How will you stand up for yourself, or someone else --- maybe someone you've never met? How will you help make bullying and bigotry of any kind as socially unacceptable as using the "n" word? That's what we have to do, folks, and it's an eminently achievable.