Discussion: Is fat discrimination part of our culture?
A blog post entitled “Should Fatties Get a Room (even on TV)?” that appears on the Marie Claire magazine website
A blog post entitled “Should Fatties Get a Room (even on TV)?” that appears on the Marie Claire magazine website is getting a lot of buzz on the Internet at the moment, so I thought I’d open the topic up for conversation here. In the post, blogger Maura Kelly writes about the TV show Mike and Molly, in which the two title characters meet in an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.
Like many Americans and Canadians, the two title characters are overweight. This is troubling for Kelly, who writes that she would find it repulsive to watch overweight people making out on TV. In fact, she finds it downright gross to watch fat people do anything. As she writes, "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 heroin addict slumping in a chair."
She goes on to say that no one who is the size of the characters on Mike and Molly could possibly be healthy and blames obese people for being a drain on the American healthcare system. Oh, but don’t worry, Kelly claims that she has plenty of "plump" friends (a statement akin to the, "I have lots of black friends," excuse one might make after telling a racist joke).
As you might expect, most of the comments on her post are scathing and she’s updated her writing with an apology to those she may have offended. In the apology, she writes that her attitudes may be a result of her own struggle with anorexia and a "lifelong obsession with being thin."
While Kelly’s post is undoubtedly extreme (and I think vastly unprofessional as it’s not backed up with any real information and Kelly admits she has never even watched the show on which she is commenting), I think it couldn’t have appeared online at a better time. At a time when discussions about bullying are cropping up on websites, social networks and mainstream TV, Kelly’s post brings negative attitudes toward body size into sharp focus.
It’s clear that Kelly has some serious body image issues and obviously didn’t think clearly before clicking the "publish" button. But I suspect she’s not alone in her sentiments. After all, we see negative messages about being overweight everywhere we turn, from TV shows like The Biggest Loser to fashion billboards and ads for the latest diet craze. Did she just publish what many people are already thinking?
Do you think other people share Kelly’s negative attitudes toward people who are overweight?