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Marie Claire and Overweight Couples


There are some questions that shouldn’t be asked – and there are some statements that should never be made. They perpetuate a culture of derogatory, derisive bullying. Unfortunately, our culture (the American culture) is founded on a fast-food, take-no-prisoners, shock-jock method of thinking. Don’t believe me? Just take a gander at reality tv, a so-called guilty pleasure.

As a society, it seems we’ve lost the idea of quality over quantity. We’ve also given up on the idea of right and wrong – and focus on what sells. Sex sells. Sarcasm sells. And being offensive sells. (If it didn’t, Howard Stern wouldn’t have a career.)

 Which brings us to Marie Claire. As a teenager, I used to love that magazine. I read it religiously. It had substance. It talked about makeup. There were tips about boys. It usually featured someone I liked on the cover. I was an easy sell.

 On the Magazine’s front page, there’s an article that makes me angry. I don’t get angry very often – and when I do, I don’t turn green. Most of the time. But this? This is beyond unacceptable. The article reads, “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?).” Take a moment. Absorb that. (Yes, the first part of title implies that overweight people aren’t deserving of relationships. The second part focuses the particular medium in question.)

The article centers on the tv show Mike and Molly, who are a couple that met at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. It’s a comedy. (I haven’t watched it, but not because it offends me – there’s other programming on that I watch.) The basic premise of the piece is that the show promotes obesity and is offensive to persons watching it, because seeing “two characters with rolls and rolls of fat” in a relationship (doing anything as banal as kissing) is gross. She then qualifies this as an “aesthetic” problem, likening it to the uncomfortable feeling that one might have watching a drunk person stumbling around. (Hello, apples – meet oranges. You two are nothing alike.)

Wait, there’s more. At one point, this statement is made, “Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny.” What does an eating disorder have to do with this discussion? And unless I’m totally crazy (that has been said before) that almost seems like a justification for super skinny models on the runaway. (Let me ask you this: can the opposite be true? Aren’t some people just naturally heavy? And can’t eating disorders occupy both ends of the spectrum: those who eat too much and those who eat too little?)

An entire aside is filled with tips on how to be a better, slimmer you (had this been a post directed solely at health, and not the fact that heavy people are offensive and gross, this might not have been so horrifying). This is preceded by the claim “I am not a size-ist jerk.” (If you have to say that, chances are you are. Shakespeare said it best: methinks the lady doth protest too much.)

An apology has been added to the end of the post. By the time I got to it, though, I was already seething with total rage. As I person, I find the entire diatribe unproductive, largely full of acrimonious points that only serve to belittle, mock, and condemn. Blatant insensitivity never helps a situation – and neither does a vitriol-filled attack. Having an opinion is one thing. Everyone is entitled to that. But this goes beyond an opinion. It’s not simply a statement made between friends. This article in Marie Claire is a very public, very shameful occurrence.

I, for one, will never buy an issue of Marie Claire, again. I don’t care if Johnny Depp somehow lands on the cover. If an entity saw fit to publish that tirade, I question their standards. More over, I worry for teenage girls who read that magazine and suffer for it. If the author didn’t know better, then the editors certainly should have.

  1. Andrea
    October 27, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Wow. I am appalled. And they wonder why teenage girls have body issues? I haven’t actually read the article you’re talking about, and I won’t now out of protest. But it appears like they left out an important part of their discussion of Mike & Molly – the whole premise of the show is that these two people meet at a group designed to help give support to those seeking a healthier lifestyle. Yes, the two title characters are overweight. But they’re seeking to be healthy. They’re dieting. They’re exercising. They’re working to better their habits. That article sounds like it’s all kinds of ridiculous and I can’t believe it ever got published.

    • Ali
      October 28, 2010 at 2:17 pm

      The author, sarcastically, wrote “Points for trying…?” in regard to the Overeaters Anonymous meeting the two characters met at. The protagonists are seeking to be healthy. You are right. I can’t believe it was published, either.

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