Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's important to make fun of fat people! -- because they're aesthetically displeasing; or, hatred on the Marie Claire website

A jackass called Maura Kelly wrote an astonishingly mean-spirited, ill-informed, condescending and illogical blog post at Marie Claire entitled, I am not kidding, Should "Fatties" Get a Room? (Even on TV?), in which, as you can probably guess from the title, she makes fun of fatties. She uses the television show Mike & Molly -- a show I confess I have not seen (regular readers know of my aversion to ampersands; I won't go into it again) about two overweight people who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, or something, and start dating -- as a springboard for vituperation.

Witness, for instance:
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! Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer.
Note how thoughtful Ms. Kelly is, inserting that "Hmm" right there at the beginning of her insightful musing. In which she states that a program that features overweight people is "implicitly promoting obesity!" (With an exclamation point, even!) That is then followed immediately with the statement that anorexia is sick, but some of the slim models are naturally skinny. There are all types of body types. It takes a completely rotten person with no empathy whatsoever to not see that, just as some people are naturally underweight, some people are naturally overweight.

She then states that no one as fat as the characters on this program with the ampersand in the title can be healthy. That of course is not true.

Oh, but the fatties are costing all of us money! Because they're fat! There are far too many variables to make a statement like that, and without linking to any sources, besides. Ms. Kelly simply presents this as fact when it's not settled, not at all -- there are some studies that show that overweight people have higher annual health care costs, but
the fact that obese people have higher annual health care costs does not mean they have higher lifetime costs. It therefore does not follow that reducing obesity would reduce total medical spending in the long run.
(and what about the fact that people who are slightly underweight actually die earlier than those who are slightly overweight? skinny people are unhealthy and harming America!)

But then, Ms. Kelly is just a nasty little twit who hates fat people. She admits as much in her blog post. Next amazing paragraph:
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.
Emphasis added because that is what this is really all about for Ms. Kelly. She finds them "aesthetically displeasing." You remember all that nonsense in her previous paragraph, in which she implied she was genuinely concerned about the health of overweight people. Not true. Not a bit of it. Maura Kelly, a blogger at Marie Claire, thinks that fat people look ugly, and she doesn't want to have to look at them, not under any circumstances, not at all -- not even to watch them walk across a room.

Oh, but she's not all bad. She says so herself. Next paragraph:
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.)
Are you kidding me? How completely lacking in self-awareness do you have to be to write that it makes you sick to look at fatties, even if they're only just walking across a room, compare that walking across the room to the stumblings of a (average-weight, presumably) drunk, and then insist that you're not a "size-ist jerk"?

And for crying out loud, can you imagine being one of Ms. Kelly's "plump" "friends"? What a burden that must be! (Actually, why would anyone be friends with such a nasty, hate-filled human being anyway?)

Well, she's not done yet:
But ... I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It's something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.
Yes, did you catch that "ton of control" bit? She's making a fat joke! You see how clever she is. Hmm. If only those fatties had more self control. Like Ms. Kelly.

Anyway, this is tedious. Ms. Kelly is a complete and utter jackass. She is a rotten person. She is despicable and hate-filled.

But Ricky, you are protesting, she probably feels bad about writing all that hateful stuff. It's just a blog post; she probably fired it off in a few minutes, hit the PUBLISH button and went to Pinkberry, not meaning to hurt any of those fatties that she finds  aesthetically displeasing.

If you still don't think that Ms. Kelly is rotten to the core of her no doubt aesthetically pleasing body, please take a look at the condescending, nasty "apology" she appended to her post:

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% 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.
She didn't want people to feel ashamed after reading her post? Are you kidding? The entire point of the post was to make aesthetically displeasing people feel ashamed. The point of the post was that she hates fat people.

And, she feels for the people who struggle to get themselves to a "healthy weight" (you know, a weight that she won't find aesthetically displeasing). She does not, however, mention those people who are satisfied with themselves as they are, regardless of how "aesthetically displeasing" someone like Ms. Kelly might find them.

Oh, and she thinks it's great to have people of all shapes and healthy sizes represented in magazines and on TV. That's right, she said "healthy sizes." Those sizes that she finds "aesthetically pleasing."

I shall refrain from making any comments about Ms. Kelly's anorexia. That is a serious problem and I hope that she is able to completely overcome it. However, anorexia is no excuse for being a complete and utter asshole.

As for Ms. Kelly: Here is some information from her Marie Claire biography:
Maura Kelly is a freelance writer who is working on a novel. She rides her vintage Raleigh as often as possible - usually wearing heels, and always wearing her helmet. (She will not be a fashion victim!) Some of the things she loves: indie rock, peanut butter, Fellini films, the Brooklyn Bridge, running (slowly) in Prospect Park (always wearing New Balance sneakers) and The Brothers Karamazov. And definitely her friends, too; her tight circle includes a fashion designer, a hard news journalist, a couple magazine editors, a bike messenger-turned-lawyer, a professor of philosophy and an aspiring screenwriter. On her dating resume, there's an unusual number of visual artists, a couple of jazz musicians, and one guy named Thor. Though she's in her thirties, she's never been in love before - and has started to wonder if she ever will be. She's decided she has to start making dating her job if it's ever going to happen. Hence, this blog. Her personal essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Times, The New York Observer, The Washington Post, New York Press, Glamour, Salon, "Before and After: Stories from New York," and "Going Hungry: Writers on Desire, Denial and Overcoming Anorexia," to name a few.
Aw, ain't that just so dang cute! She wears heels on her vintage Raleigh (it's like she's multi-faceted)! She loves indie rock and peanut butter (just not too much PB, right -- she doesn't want to become aesthetically displeasing or anything)! Hey, do you think New Balance gave her a kickback for that cutesy-poo product placement? (I happen to be an Asics man, myself.) And she loves The Brothers Karamazov? Whoa, she must be really, really smart to love Fyodor Dostoyevsky's worst book! And check out all the friends she has -- I bet those magazine editor friends come in really handy for a smart writer like her! Oh, and she's dated so many interesting and unique people -- you can tell just how interesting and unique they are by their jobs -- oh, and one of them was named "Thor"! That's a really interesting name, isn't it? I bet he wasn't even born in America! Oh, but, boo hoo, she's never been in love before (perhaps the hate-filled bigot is incapable of love?) -- this, even though she's dated so many interesting visual artists and jazz musicians! And she has a dating blog!

Geezus Goddam Christ can you imagine a more vacuous "writer's bio"? I mean, this is a joke, right? That stuff is a parody of a bio, it can't be real.

Anyway, why didn't she mention anything about her aesthetics?

Aesthetically displeasing.

I have written about this before. Remember the odious Debbie Schussel review of the television show "More to Love," in which overweight people dared to show themselves on television, looking for love? (Follow that link for more information on obesity.) Here is a quote from Ms. Schussel's review of that show:
And while the headlines scream that, tonight FOX is debuting a show that screams something else: that it’s okay for these fatties to wear a size 24 and cost Americans gazillions in extra medical bills.

I nickname the show, “The Fat-chelor.” But, in PC-victimhood style, it has a far more sympathetic, compassionate, sensitive name: “More to Love.” More like, More to Laugh At. ABC’s “The Bachelor” is bad enough. But now the producer of that show, Mike Fleiss (cousin of hooker Heidi) brings us this “bigger” version. A guy who weighs 330 pounds “dates” several women, all of whom are fat, er . . . “plus-sized”–and all but two of whom weigh over 200 pounds. (The show would be far more interesting if they made the Fat-chelor and his weighty concubines get in an elevator to see if they exceed capacity and find out what happens. )
You can see, this could have been written by Ms. Kelly. It's just that easy to pick on overweight people. Hell, even the first lady of the United States is doing her best to help stigmatize overweight kids. A rich woman in Oregon is blackmailing some college administrators in Missouri to lose a few pounds, in exchange for a million dollars (how fun it is for wealthy people to humiliate everyone else!). But it is tedious, based on false assumptions, and seems to be motivated by a genuine hatred of people deemed to be "aesthetically displeasing."

Can we please stop meddling in other peoples' private lives? Women used to want to be in control of their own bodies, for crying out loud. Now it seems like there are some women who want to tell everyone else what to do with their bodies.

1 comment:

Spassvogel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.