Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This Fatty Is Not Amused at Ms. Maura Kelly and Marie Claire Magazine

A blog was posted this morning on the Marie Claire website called, Should “Fatties” Get a Room? (Even on TV?) by Maura Kelly, a freelance writer. She wrote this post based on a question her editor asked where: "Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?"

Maura gives her opinion very matter of factly where she says some brutal, insensitive and cruel things about fat people in general:

“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.”

There are now over 600 comments left giving their own personal opinions about the post and the writer herself.

You can read in full by clicking over there. Prepare for your mouth to drop. First of all I can’t believe the powers that be at Marie Claire or Maura’s editor would allow her to spew such hatred and fat bigotry. And really, what was Maura’s point in all of this? To get a rise out of the public at large? Did she not think there wouldn’t be some outcry at her WTFckery diarrhea of the mouth?

You’re probably wondering why I would be so outraged. I’m a fat girl, or perhaps I should say a former fatty, who knows full well what the power of hateful words can do to someone’s psyche.

The first time I was called fat was when I was around 8 or 9. It started when I was in fourth grade. By the time I was 12, I was given the nickname “Chunky Chicken” by a boy and had that nickname until I graduated in eighth grade. For years I would only answer to the “Chunky Chicken” nickname.

All through my teen years I was overweight, and by the time I was in college, I was what you could call obese. By the time I was a senior in college I was close to 245lbs and wore a size 24 pants. I was known as the “cute fat girl”. I hid behind food and big clothes and didn’t do anything about my weight, which was slowly spiraling out of control. Hearing that I was a fat slob, chubby and sloth bounced off of me because I had heard it too many times before. I grew numb to the insults and digs. And then one day, six months before I graduated college, I was in my sorority’s lounge (Surprising for some I guess because I was accepted into a sorority as a fat chick) and a few of our fellow frat brothers were looking through pictures of an event that only my sisters were at. One guy lifted up a picture and said, “Wow, who’s the fat dude in this picture?” When I was handed it, I was stunned. The fat dude was me. I was the fat dude wearing a bulky black sweatpants set and a hat. That day a piece of me died inside.

From that moment on I decided to do something about my weight. I started to exercise, and by the time I graduated, I had lost 40lbs. I was then around 190 pounds, and that still wasn’t good enough for me. I needed to lose more. I had a goal where I would reach 150lbs, which for a woman of 5’10 is an acceptable average weight for that height or I would at least get down to a size 10.

I became obsessed with losing weight. I no longer wanted to be known as the cute fat chick because it wasn’t acceptable by those I knew and surrounded myself with to have these extra pounds. I was sick of getting looks and having people tell me I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was sick of people making comments every time I went for seconds at some event or party. I joined a gym and began to work out.

Soon I was working out 6 days a week, almost 3 hours a day. I would get up at 5am, workout until 6:30am, and the when I got home from work, I would work out for another 60 to 90 minutes. I became so obsessed with losing weight that I join LA Weight Loss, which was really a great weight loss center that taught healthy eating. But I fudged with them. I lied about what I ate. Not only had I cut my calorie content, but I was barely eating 800 calories a day. I was living on egg whites, chicken, lettuce and coffee. At one point I ate prunes and jello to make me go to the bathroom more times than I could count in a day. Also at this time I was taking water pills and any other appetite suppressant pill that would help me take off the weight. I refused to be a fat girl, that tub-a-lub I had been thought of as most of my lfe.

And then something both amazing and disturbing happened, I didn’t only get down to 150lbs, but almost close to 140lbs, and you know what? I wanted to lose more. Gone was the girl who would eat 3 bowls of ice cream before bed and drink a 6 pack of coca cola a day. In her place was a close to skeletal, bone jutting, sickly looking woman who had developed an eating disorder. All because being “fat” and “overweight” was thought of as wrong and disgusting as Maura Kelly thinks it to be.

And then a week after I hit my all-time low, I blacked out in the gym one morning. My head was pounding and I could barely move because my body hurt. Not only was I putting my body through such damage by the amount of exercise I was doing, but I was starving myself and popping pills to keep my weight under control to the point I wondered if I could possibly get down to 100lbs.

Before I could do anymore damage to my body, I decided I had enough and wouldn’t destroy myself. I began to eat healthier, didn’t exercise as much and tried so very hard to accept the person I had become.

And when all was said and done, I went back up to a healthier 160lbs. And after 13 years of deciding to live a healthier lifestyle, I still remain at that weight. And I’m not only just eating egg whites and lettuce.

But I still think of myself as a fat girl. I will always have body image issues, as well as issues with food. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t eat, but know I have to, although there are days I don’t want to. There are days I want to spend hours at the gym because I’m so afraid I will balloon back up to 240lbs. There are days I’m afraid someone will call me fat and that I will have a relapse and begin to starve myself again.

When I read the heartless opinions of Maura Kelly, I feel sad. Not only for those she has callously put down, but for Maura herself. She has then apologized for her post and states that that she has a history as an anorexic and her obsession with being thin. She should understand very well then what every overweight person goes through. Being overweight may be a choice for some, but it’s bad enough that we have to go through life with people snickering behind their hands or making cruel comments. I know this all too well as a former fat girl on the outside, but very much still a fat minded girl on the inside.

I no longer look at fashion magazines where this supposed perfect looking woman will stare back at me with her very flat, praying mantis type body with no tits and ass to speak of. I look away because I feel so bad for that emaciated woman, as well as those men with the oiled, 8 pack abs and legs of steel who are killing themselves just because of what we think society accepts as right or normal.

Even after losing close to 90lbs, I have a bulging stomach, jiggly arms, hips and cellute. I have stretch marks that I once thought was the bane of my existence. To me those marks were a sign of failure, or being fat. They aren’t a sign of failure; they are a sign of accomplishment, at least for me. And when I stand naked in front of a mirror and look over my body and see those marks, I think of them as old friends.

The world is not meant to be perfect. People are not meant to fit into one type of mold. There are supposed to be all different sizes, small, big or large.

Marie Claire shame on you for allowing this bigotry to be posted, and Maura Kelly should be ashamed and embarrassed for her bias. The one positive thing that has come out of this is the amount of people who have been very vocal and happy with the way they look and feel.

I am one of them, with my stretch marks and all.

Also check out Insame Hussein's post as well in regards to Marie Claire and Ms. Kelly's post.

UPDATE: Marie Claire Editor-In-Chief Joanna Coles has responded to Maura Kelly's Fat Bigotry post:

“Maura Kelly is a very provocative blogger,” Coles told us. “She was an anorexic herself and this is a subject she feels very strongly about.”
Coles said the mag has received over 28,000 email responses to the piece, and that Kelly was “excited and moved by their responses.”

While Coles made clear that she hasn’t actually seen Mike & Molly, she added “I’m concerned about a show that makes fun of large people.”

So, if 28,000 readers cancelled their subscriptions soley based on Ms. Kelly's blog post, would Marie Claire still be excited and moved?

Yeah, some WTFckery right here...



Janicu said...

You should be very proud for stopping when you realized what you were doing was destroying yourself. I think there are many, many people who don't have this realization. As for Maura Kelly.. well, I think her reaction (overly negative, overreaction) speaks a little bit to her not completely being over her problems, and I feel a little sorry for her.

Farrah Rochon said...

How powerful is this post! Wow. You are full of awesome for putting it all out there, Katie! Bravo!

Gwen said...

YEAH! What she said! Take that Marie Claire! [waves a special finger at them]

amyt865 said...

Awesome post Katie! :)

sonomalass said...

Marie Claire, the same magazine that got ripped a new one by angry readers for an article about how "healthy living" diet and exercise blogs contributed to eating and exercise disorders. I wonder if the publicity from that made them decide that stirring people up about body image issues was good for circulation.

Thanks for sharing your story. Our society's mixed messages about body image and physical attractiveness, particularly for women, have messed up many lives.

Shiloh Walker said...

Awesome post, Kate.

There is NO denying, at least not for the majority of people, that morbid obesity isn't exactly a healthy way of life.

but it's not like it's something we choose it-for most of us, like me, it creeps up slowly, a few pounds here, a few pounds there, and by the time the problem isn't a small problem, fighting it isn't just fighting the weight, it's fighting everything that goes along with it.

And sadly, some of that fight includes the mess society throws at us, including hateful commentary like what comes from people like Ms. Kelly.

The fact that she doesn't realize her commentary is hateful is part of the problem.

Personally, I don't care what she thinks-she can kiss my tail-a tail that's sixty pounds lighter than it was a year a ago, a tail that can now run four miles when I'm not dealing with asthma flares-YES, we realize, Ms. Kelly, we CAN lose weight.

But bitchy attitudes like the ones displayed in MC or Maura Kelly aren't the motivator. The motivators tend to come from within us or the ones we see around us who have also done it.

I mentioned it over at Jezebel, but if it was easy as Kelly makes it seem? There wouldn't be an overweight person on earth.

But then, heaven forbid, somebody might decide to start attacking the physically unappealing, or those who wear glasses, or those who don't have perfect dental hygiene...the list could go on and on.

Susan said...

I am still morbidly obese. I have kept 10 lbs off for about 10 years, but I have gained back most of the other weight I have lost. When I got pregnant, I was considered overweight. By the end of my pregnancy, I was considered obese. Then after a lazy thyroid diagnoses, I am morbidly obese. However, my blood pressure and sugar levels are fine. Probably the reason we cost more medically is because the doctors check our hearts and sugar levels more than they would a normal weight person. I seriously had one doctor who tested my blood levels every 3 months! I found a new doctor who was comfortable treating a heavy person.

Ms. Kelly's words HURT. I am already aware of people checking out my shopping cart, but I had no clue there were certain people that may loathe seeing me in public.

I am a married, 35 year old adult. I should be too old for having my feelings hurt by someone I don't know.

Thanks for sharing your diet story with us all. It gives me hope that someday I may be able to lose 90 lbs and be back into the overweight category instead of the morbidly obese.

Michele Lee said...

I've blogged about this before (and I'm trying to remain positive) but I can't let this go. The core of my problems come from 10 years of the dreaded clean plate club under one parent, then 10 years under the other parent that was quite neglectful where despite money not being a problem, food, especially healthy food, simply was NOT provided for me. In my middle school and high school years some really crappy things happened regularly, like a complete lack of access to food (when you're 10-15 or so you're pretty much dependent on your parents to provide food, and if they don't there's not a whole lot you can do). In the end I had to get a job at Subway just to get regular food. By that point all those nifty chemical and biological safeguards that keep you from dying in a famine had been triggered for years.

When I finally broke free of that situation and amazingly suddenly lived where food didn't vanish overnight or was forbidden to me of course I ballooned up because I had really really bad panic eating habits. Seeing other people made me scared that there'd be no food for me. My body was wired to go for the heaviest, high calorie food because for years I hadn't known when I'd eat next.

So I tried the exercise and diet thing, like you Katie, with similar results. I lost a little weight and it wasn't enough. I lost almost 50 lbs and it still wasn't enough. I caught myself playing the "How little can I eat" game and taking diet pills that made me shaky and sick-stomached, some while I was nursing my daughter and I broke down.

I decided I'd rather be fat than go down that path, and for years that's all I thought there was. Then I got tired of feeling like crap about myself no matter what I did, so I resolved to find some better way. Exercise, and eating and most of all, self esteem wise.

It was not easy. It was not fast. I had to face some really bad stuff in my past (that began with admitting how bad things had been, where my habits were coming from). It is and never has been just a matter of eating less or stopping being overweight. It's not being lazy, it's spending years being hopeless, trying to fight your biology and your depression and the whole world at one time. Because it isn't about the food it's about my relationship with it, my perceptions of it, which have been influenced by the media (which is why losing 50 lbs sent me spinning into a bad place too).

In the last two years I've come a long way. And the biggest step has been allowing myself to be imperfect, no longer having the goal being some impossible media-improved number or shape.

By the way, even at my highest weight (around 260) my doctor says I had perfect blood work and fantastic blood pressure. She reinforced over and over that I was healthy, just overweight. (She is overweight too, and she goes to twice a week Jazzercise classes and does a marathon a year.)

The blog was horribly insensitive, but honestly I think the show is too. The people in it are little more than stereotypes mined for laughs after the success of shows like The Biggest Loser (which is also really unhealthly, but I suppose that's a rant for another time.)

I'm striving to improve my health, mental and physical. In the last year my self esteem has soared and I've lost 20 lbs in the last year. Diet and exercise didn't stick, it didn't solve my issues. Support, understanding and encouragement made the difference for me.

Kudos to you Katie for standing up for us fatties. *hugs*

Stacy~ said...

First off, major hugs Kate. You've never shied away from telling it like it is, even sharing your own personal experiences. You're the real deal, always sticking up for a good cause. You are wonderful.

I didn't read the entire article, and since then there's been a bit of a retraction, yet I think people like her awaken every single ounce of low self-esteem I possess. People like her seem to think it's okay to rip people apart and make them feel low and meaningless. It's wrong that such an article even got published. Whatever the motivation of the magazine, it wasn't smart in any way. I'm glad so many people spoke up. How dare someone try to make people feel ugly and worthless and state that they should stay out of sight. That just sickens me.

Big hugs to Susan & Michele Lee who shared their stories as well. You ladies are brave, WONDERFUL people, and don't let this harpy let you think otherwise. Don't let her have that kind of power.

Katiebabs/ KB said...

Janicu: That's a good way of looking at Maura's words. But for the life of me. I don't understand why a magazine would allow it.

Farrah: Thanks. I hope my experience can help others.

Gwen: :)

Amy: Thanks

Sonomalass: I really feel so teens that look at these magazine and think they need to be this so-called perfect size. Sickens me.

Shiloh: There are so many who get fed up with their weight that they take some extreme and very scary measures. I'd rather be consider overweight than having to stick my finger down my throat so I can be a size 2, but not a size 8 or 10, because that's still considered to be "fat" by some.

At least Maura's post got people, especially women to stand up and say they are proud of their bodies.

Katiebabs/ KB said...

Susan: ((HUGS)) If you are comfortable with the way you are, that's all that matters, especially if you have no health problems at all. People will see what they want to see and assume things based on the outside package a person wears.

Michele: Hugs back! You should be so proud to lose that weight on your own terms. 50lbs plus another 20 is something not many people can do, including coming to terms with things that happen in our past. Every time I hear the word fat, I cringe.

Stacy: :) I try. I think Maura post her apology because I have no doubt she received some very passionate emails.

I'm so happy to be surrounded by some incredible and beautiful people here in out corner of the blog world. :)

tradermare said...

I found this post from a link Shiloh tweeted, and I'm glad I did. Thanks for sharing your story. It has always bothered me that it is acceptable to treat the overweight with such discrimination. It is downright ugly.

Hugs to everyone sharing their story, and for standing up against this type of discrimination.

DawnG said...

First, fantastic post.

I have always been 'weight challenged.' My weight has gone up and down like a yo-yo ever since high school and I had my 35th reunion last year. I found myself getting extremely angry at Maura Kelly as I read her article. How dare she? How dare she tromp all over anyone's self-esteem like that? It isn't just about weight. Its also about the fact that many, many of us (women, not necessarily fat ones) have no real concept of what a good body image is, but manage to bumble along anyway until the Maura Kellys of the world come along and tell us in no uncertain terms that we are wrong and bad and a bad influence, etc., etc., etc.

It seems to be politically correct to be bigoted against fat people. It is not a good thing as everyone seems to have a different idea of what a fat person is and which ones need to be singled out about it. To some people, I am incredibly obese. To others, not so much. My doctor hasn't said anything, and I'm medically healthy. And I wear a size 20.

So it comes down to people needing a scapegoat for all the icky stuff. Can't single out a race or a nationality -- that's just wrong. Can't make jokes about the mentally or physically handicapped, that's cruel. Hey, guys, lets poke fun at fat people! Who could possibly get offended by that? Ummm, the fat person could. But that doesn't seem to matter because for all of our size, the person inside is invisible. I truly believe that many don't see the overweight, the obese, the fatties as PEOPLE. We are simply something to make fun of, to rag on and to denigrate.

robsad79 said...

Here we are talking about bullying with the kids and as you can see it still happens as we get older.

As a writer, I know we can have our opinions and I'm sure I'm guilty of saying something negative but what she did was wrong. How could Marie Claire let that be published?

Kim in Hawaii said...

Mahalo, Katie, for speaking out about the ridiculous article. I barely have time for books so I don't bother with magazines, especially fashion ones as Hawaii does not require fashion (even Tim Gunn acknowledged that Hawaii has its own beat on a recent visit). And Hawaii has all shapes and sizes on the beach, in the malls, and playing bit parts on Hawaii Five O. Perhaps that is one benefit to Paradise - Hang Loose!

Anny Cook said...

You made me cry. I'm a sixty year old woman carrying around far too much weight and dealing with diabetes, asthma, and the entire roll call of illnesses overweight people deal with.

Being fat is the loneliest thing in the world.

Like Shiloh said, weight creeps on one pound at a time. It happens when you skip that walk because you're bone tired from taking care of four kids after working all day. It happens when you have that peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast instead of oatmeal and fruit because time has run out.

People who are skinnier assume you got that way through self-indulgence or greed. They assume you live on potato chips and ice cream.

I don't remember the last time I had either. I eat healthy meals. I go swimming almost every day. But I suspect I'll be this size until I die.

I would give almost anything to lose five pounds...not because I would be more attractive but because I would feel that much better.

Thank you for sharing. I appreciate it. I know it had to be hard.

Janicu said...

Kate - Well I was looking at it that way because I have someone in my life that has body image issues and she's said things about my body and hers and I've realized that her mind skews how she sees the human body.

The first time I read the post I didn't realize it was on Marie Claire. Is this just on the blog or is it actually IN the magazine?! Anyway, she is wrong, although I did suspect that this would be the reaction from certain people about the Mike and Molly show (which I LIKE for having protagonists that are different, and who can joke and laugh about their size, not be embarrassed about it, and are trying to be healthier). The reaction Maura Kelly had is less than enlightened.

mynfel said...

Brilliant post.

This is why I don't read "fashion" magazines anymore. They've got their heads so far up their asses as far as what reality is that there really isn't any point.

I don't need that kind of negativity in my life...I certainly manage to do enough of that to myself without reading about it.

Blodeuedd said...

Wonderful post, and yes my jaw did drop when reading that article and it made me so mad.

I am so proud that you stopped when you did, that takes courage, because yes there is that voice that says a little bit more

Mollie said...

What a dispicable article there are a whole slew of issues in that article. It boggles the mind! Thank you for sharing your story Katie!!!!

Carolyn said...

That marie Claire blog post was just hateful and I was sorry that the magazine thought it was appropriate for them to publish.

Thanks for sharing your story. It's inspiring and important for people to hear.

Mollie said...

Guess I should proof read. "despicable".

Eva said...

During my work as a case manager for unemployed people I`m often confronted with a lot of problems (e.g. anorexia, drugs,rape or overweight). A main part of my work is to stabilize/to motivate my clients to solve/tackle their problems, so they can (someday) start working again. - It is not always easy, to build up a broken self-confidence/self-perception. It is hard work for the affected people and they need a strong stamina.

Katiebabs you´ve my full respect! Thank you for sharing your story.

Louisa Edwards said...

Katie, your post totally choked me up. Thank you for sharing, and I have to say, having met you in person--I never once thought about your weight or considered it when realizing what a genuinely lovely person you are.

KL said...

I second Shiloh's remarks. Obesity is an issue that must be faced tactfully. There's "provocative," and there's just plain cruel. If Maura Kelly genuinely wished to encourage overweight people toward a healthier way of life, she shouldn't have used the word "Fattie" in her headline.

Matter of fact, there's a lot in her blog she should have kept to herself.

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I've been overweight forever and it's harder then people think to lose weight once you've gained it. I was once a reader of Marie Claire, but no more.

Jess Haines said...

Katie, I'm always astonished when I see one of these posts. Not just because of the WTFery, but because of how quick you are to take a stand and point out the douche-baggery on the parts of people who really should know better, and to defend those whose trials are often overlooked or unspoken. It's more inspirational than you can imagine.

You are amazin', darlin'. Inside and out, you're beautiful, and don't ever forget it!


P.S. I'll still fight you to the death for Ryan Reynolds. <3

orannia said...


You're truely an inspiration. For standing up and speaking out, for writing something so personal....and for going through all that you did and coming out the other side. It can't have been easy - the journey or the words. Thank you SO much for sharing, for putting a little piece of you out here.

And I know sometimes compliments can be like water off a duck's back, because 'inside you know the truth' (and I mean you generally rather than specifically, because I fall into this trap ), but...I looked at your photo yesterday and thought how beautiful you looked. And not just on the outside. I've never met you, but I imagine you're just as warm in person as you are in writing :)

And I went and read Maura Kelly's blog post. It is not ever acceptable to be maliciously cruel. If that's journalism according to Marie Claire, then I want no part of it. I noticed that Maura Kelly has added an update to her article, which includes:

A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn't productive, either.

Exactly. It wasn't necessary or productive. So why did she do it and why did Marie Claire let her?

Lindsay said...

Three words for you Katie: YOU ARE AMAZING
I hate how culture and society make people feel awful about themselves and there bodies. I used to have an eating disorder to but thankfully I got over it as well -cause we're all fighters ;D - and now I completely love my body, because its the body I was given. This post was so inspiring and just know that you are so strong for putting this out there, so all of your followers can read this and see that they're not alone. Thank You :)

heidenkind said...

Wow, the people from The Devil Wears Prada actually exist in RL and think they're reasonable human beings. D:

~Jennifer~ said...

I'm appalled at the hate some people spread, especially when they seem surprised that this kind of behavior is completely unacceptable.

Because really, if the sight of two overweight people kissing upsets your delicate sensibilities, that says more about who you are than who they are. People, whether they be overweight, old, ugly, homosexual, interracial or any other bias someone might have, have every right to show affection to one another. That isn't a privileged that young, skinny, hot, heterosexual white people are allowed. And to think otherwise is horrible. To voice it makes you even worse.

I'm a 30 year old obese anorexic. How's that for ridiculous. I've been considered obese for years. I've also been considered very healthy and told I didn't have to lose weight. Due to massive stress, my mind decided to grab control of the one thing it could, my eating habits. I wasn't hungry, food made me nauseous, and I dropped over 30 pounds in less than 6 weeks. Apparently losing almost 14% of your body weight in less than 2 months is frowned upon in the medical community.

So now, the first time in my life, my doctors are concerned about my weight. And my health. I have to force feed myself even though every single impulse I have makes me want to not eat. I'm obese and trying to stop losing weight for my health.

Funniest thing is, I never cared how much I weighed. I still don't. I was as happy at 130 as I was at 190 as I was at 250. But my happiness is not the issue according to Maura Kelly. Only the fact that she has to look at me.

MsM (Elizabeth Jules Mason) said...

Great post response to this topic KB. I don't subscribe to this magazine and clearly I am not missing anything of any worth.


MicheleKS said...

I've watched every episode of 'Mike and Molly' so far and yeah there have been some jokes about weight but it's not all about that. It's about two people finding love who don't happen to be a single-digit size. It's sweet and funny and I'm glad it got picked up for the season.

And as for Ms. Kelly, well I think she's a narrow-minded snob with some serious issues of her own. But she's definitely not someone I'd pay attention to. I think one of the best things in life people can do is embrace happiness and work to find their happiness and share with others like you do.

Eileen Andrews said...

Thank you so much for your bravery in sharing this. I studied obesity bias in college and it's one of the most socially acceptable forms of bias around. Maybe someday we'll get to the place where, as a people, we can cease causing each other pain. We probably won't see it in our lifetime, but it's something to hope for.

Sorrel said...

Maura Kelly's comments were insensitive, but how is it okay to describe skinny people as having a "flat, praying mantis type body with no tits and ass to speak of"? I find that to be a completely disgusting and hateful comment. It's no better than people who say "REAL women have curves", which is in essence putting down someone else to make yourself feel better. Your comment makes you no better than Maura Kelly.

And for the record, I too am a "former fatty", and while I think that no-one has the right to be cruel about a person's weight, we shouldn't go in the complete opposite direction and perpetuate the myth that it's okay either. It's not okay. It's unhealthy, and it kills people.