My Take (Marie Claire’s “Fatties” article)

28 Oct

I’m pretty sure you all know the blog entry I’m talking about, but in case you don’t, you can read it here. Essentially, blogger Maura Kelly was asked to write an article about the reactions to the TV show Mike and Molly, which features overweight main characters.

There’s a lot to be said about this article, but I have start with: are you making fun of Sookie? Seriously? Come ON, you just don’t go there. (Yes, I know Gilmore Girls was only a TV show. But I’m still bitter about the last season.)

This is a very real and very important topic, though, so that’s the last joke I’m going to make about it, I promise. I am a huge promoter of health awareness. I believe that eating healthful foods, getting adequate exercise, and taking care of yourself means that the majority of people can be at a healthy weight. I think the trends toward obesity in our country point to huge problems that need to be addressed, and that it would be a mistake to pretend otherwise.

But when it comes down to it, people are people, plain and simple. You don’t have a right to put others down just because you’re not going through the same situation they are. What’s more, belittling them (“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.”) is not helping anyone. Do you really think that it’s healthy to tear into someone’s appearance?

It struck me while reading this article that the actors must have heard about it. And thousands of people reading the article must relate to those characters, and feel the sting of the author’s words just as clearly. No printed apology is going to make up for the disrespectful words they first read that, I imagine, are nearly impossible to forget.

Which brings me to my ultimate point: why has our society drawn sides between the “fat acceptance” camp and the “you must be X size/weight” camp? Why don’t we focus more on education and nutrition, and moving our society away from sedentary activities? Why must everything be cast in a negative light, and people pitted against each other? Because when it comes down to it, there is no us versus them. We all have healthy days and not so healthy days, good months and bad months. I don’t care how thin you are, everyone partakes in destructive behaviors. No one has a right to be self-righteous, and no one should fall to playing the victim either.

Because when it comes right down to it, we are in control. We’re in control of ourselves, whether that means seeking help for depression or other mental struggles, getting involved in exercise or nutrition, educating oneself, or thinking before we speak. In this case, it means thinking before we type. Because what we publish online is permanent. People may not read it today, they may not comment, but it still affects someone. And when has hate ever helped?

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7 Responses to “My Take (Marie Claire’s “Fatties” article)”

  1. Andnowlights (KMSull) October 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

    That essay was UNBELIEVABLY hateful and mean article, and both the writer that wrote it and the editor that allowed it to be published showed extremely, extremely poor judgement. The fact that the writer is a recovering anorexic should have stopped the column from being published to begin with since her view of body types is clearly skewed, never mind the fact that a half-assed apology from both is going to cause major, major problems for a magazine that had previously shown promise in accepting different body types. That being said, the fat acceptance thing is frequently used as an excuse for people to be unhealthy and carrying around a bunch of extra weight causes extreme stress on bones and cartilage. The media and hateful people haven’t figured out the difference, though, between being overweight but healthy and obese.

  2. Steph C. October 29, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    Nice post .. I’m really interested in people’s (intelligent) opinions about this article, outside of the initial comments on the article itself. I agree and understand that it should be more about health than weight, per say, but I do know (from friends and family) that it isn’t as easy as “eat right and excercise and you’ll be good” for some people. For the majority, yes, but to basically say that heavy/obese people are just lazy and gross is severely off-mark.

    That being said, I really appreciated Jen Lancaster’s (www.jennsylvania.com) response to this. I think she took a good approach to countering the article and was able to back it up. A good read, if you’re interested!

  3. Anni October 29, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    KM- I 100% agree with you.

    Steph – My personal opinion is that it can be (mostly) summed up with a lack of education. We have so many “diet” pollutants on the market – from products like diet Coke, Lean Cuisine, etc to actual crash diets that cut out entire food groups – that people can genuinely think they’re being healthy while loading down their body with chemicals or avoiding entire nutrient groups.

    I will say that I also have a very vegetarian/vegan stance on some of this. Years ago vegetables were much cheaper, so meat was rarely the center of the meal except for special occasions. Now, with all the hormone-fed animals, it’s actually cheaper to buy low-quality meats and other mass-produced non-whole foods. So as a country, our interpretation of what a “meal” is has severely changed.

    When it comes down to it, I think the only thing that will work is better education all around. I see my friends and family – skinny, big, and in between – constantly making poor decisions with the best of intentions and struggling way more than is necessary.

  4. Anni October 29, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Oh, and thanks for linking to Jen’s response, going to read it now!

  5. alisha October 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    The title of that blog post was enough to offend me! People of all shapes, sizes, beliefs, and sexual orientations deserve to have positive role models. It would have been much more productive to examine why the show needs to employ fat jokes to be funny. All that does is maintain the notion that overweight people should be self-deprecating!

  6. Hannah November 1, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    I like your point on this. I personally think the article was poorly written and a run-on of the author’s personal insecurities as personal attacks on others.

    I do not, however, think that unhealthy behaviors should be promoted on TV. Snooki is AWESOME and I love her, but at the same time her weight is extremely unhealthy – just as unhealthy as an anorexic model that we are all supposed to be against. Our country already has a problem with unhealthy behaviors, and the MC article and this tv show are both perfect examples.

  7. Christine L November 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more with your take on things. No matter what size we are we all have good and bad days. I think being conscious of good nutrition and overall health is important. I think we need to move past the stereotype that overweight people just eat too many burgers. Nothing in life is that simple no matter what size you are!

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