A woman who writes a blog for the magazine Marie Claire is facing criticism over an article she wrote that criticizes overweight people.
The post from Maura Kelly on the magazine's web site starts out with this:
The other day, my editor asked me, "Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?"
The editor was referring to the television show "Mike & Molly," which is about an overweight couple who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous group.
Kelly called the characters (pictured above) "downright obese," and questioned whether it was right to "implicitly promote obesity," writing, "No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy."
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.
Kelly writes that she understands how hard it is to lose weight, and that she's not "some size-ist jerk."
However, it doesn't seem readers agree with Kelly's assessment of overweight people or of herself. Most of the comments to the article are critical of Kelly's stance. Since the blog was posted on Sunday, more than a thousand people have posted replies. It should be noted that each of Kelly's previous posts garnered just a handful of comments.
Kelly seems to have gotten the message, and posted an update to her original article. It reads in part:
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 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.