When I opened my Google Reader at work..I mean before work…this morning, I found that the blogging world was set on fire by an article written in Marie Claire’s online magazine.
My initial reaction after reading the post, by Maura Kelly (apparently a person who has overcome anorexia), was that she sounded pretty ignorant.
The fact that she points out that she has some friends who “could be called plump” seemed weird to me. It reminded me of those people who must constantly point out that they have friends who are black, so that you won’t think of them as racist. Additionally, she adds in a little paragraph explaining exactly what one needs to do in order to be thin. As though the only think stopping people from doing so before was a few paragraphs of text. You’d think a person who required psychological help to overcome an eating disorder would realize it’s just not that easy.
After I had time to think about this more, I realized that this article is truly dangerous. Ms. Kelly not only says that she doesn’t want to see fat people kissing, but she doesn’t want to see them do anything. She justifies her claim by saying that this show is “promoting obesity” and that being obese is unhealthy, and costly to the rest of us in terms of insurance costs.
In her article, she draws a clear “us & them” line. She is saying:
Dear Fat People,
Those of us who are thin, and therefore superior, would appreciate it if you could either find a way to lose weight, or disappear from view.
A friend told me that there are probably a lot of people who feel this way, and Ms. Kelly is just voicing their opinion.
I have a few things to say about that. First, where does the “us” (thin people) line end and the “them” (fat people) line begin and end? I’m willing to bet that, at one time or another, we’ve all felt a bit ugly or uncomfortable in our own skin. I’m willing to bet that at some time, we’ve all neglected to take good care of ourselves.
Articles like this one imply that overweight people are less than people, and that they are disgusting. I wonder how many people read this article (normal-sized, fat, thin, “plump” alike) and suddenly became self-conscious about constantly grossing people out. But honestly, why should we worry about whether our appearance makes it OK for us to live life how we want to? Why would someone want to impose that kind of burden on others?
If we are going to stop people from doing things based on their lifestyle choices, then by all means let’s also stop smokers (and anyone else whose lifestyle we disagree with) from making out in public. I’m sure they have bad breath and yellow teeth, and they probably aren’t much healthier than the fat people, either. Perhaps Ms. Kelly could give them some advice for quitting smoking. Actually, I can: Don’t smoke anymore.
My opinion on this and all things is: if people are making a choice that doesn’t please you visually, but otherwise doesn’t directly affect you…simply change the channel (so to speak).