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The Shaming of Fat People

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It's not like fat people or people struggling with weight issues need anything else in life to make us feel like crap, but not surprisingly, it's been done. The one overweight couple on TV (since Huge has been canceled) has been called out not just for being fat but for being too fat.

The current brouhaha was inadvertently (I hope) created by Marie Claire blogger Maura Kelly who blogged about the characters on the hit sitcom Mike and Molly and ignited a firestorm with several statements including saying that she would 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.

First thought: Fat=drunk=drug addict. Way to go Maura.

Second thought: that's the thing you find most offensive on TV? Not the fact that women are mutilated on shows daily for story fodder. Or the fact that girls are being sexualized so early. Or the fact that most people's faces are shot up with so much poison that they can no longer express themselves. Or the fact that most of the women on TV look so skinny that there is no way they are eating enough food to get them through the day.

Yes, the truth is both characters on Mike and Molly are obese. And I can pretty much guarantee as a person who thinks about what food I would love to eat all day long and expends much energy resisting that same food, that those actors would love to lose weight. But what happened here is that these people were shamed for being fat just like people are shamed for being gay.

This shaming comes at a moment when we as a culture are thinking about bullying and the tragic deaths of several young gay men who took their lives because they were bullied and shamed.

While this has clearly not been a good couple of days for Maura Kelly, this conversation, while difficult, is important. Bullying and shaming is wrong even when it is done inadvertently and makes us realize how easy it is to fall into that type of thinking.

And this has also been a good lesson for us bloggers. 1- think before you hit publish. Think about the power you have. 2- Editors think twice about having a person who has struggled with anorexia write about fat issues. What the hell were you thinking? Yeah you've gotten a lot of page views and stirred up a controversy but this should get filed under the not all publicity is good publicity.

Last thought: Can't there be a happy middle? TV is full of only very skinny people, there aren't any actors who look like regular every day citizens. Why can't there be shows with people of all body types? Why are our only choices too skinny or too fat? We should be able to have one or two or five or ten shows with people of different sizes on TV so that no couple can be called out as "the only fat couple on TV."

So now I'm taking my muffin top and fat roll that lives above that down to the kitchen to make some lunch cause all this talk about fat people on TV has made me hungry.

Should "Fatties" Get a Room? (Even on TV?) (Marie Claire)

Marie Claire blog on TV "fatties" provokes uproar (Reuters)

Originally posted on Women & Hollywood