Maura Kelly, a popular blogger, posted an article in Marie Claire about whether America is uncomfortable watching overweight people show PDA on television. The article centers on the CBS show Molly and Mike, a sitcom about a couple who met in Overeater’s Anonymous. The former anorexic lashed out at her fleshier counterparts, pronouncing her disgust with seeing people with fat rolls kiss. She even admitted to being disgusted by seeing an overweight person walk across the room! Just who does this blogger think makes up her audience? According to a CBS health article, 66 percent of Americans are overweight and 30 percent are obese. This could account for some of the 28,000 complaints Marie Claire received as a result of this bloggers big fat mouth. Tsk, tsk, tsk Maura Kelly.
When complaints surfaced, Maura Kelly tried to backpedal her, what must be a, skinny ass out of her fat-hatred, stating that her bias and bigotry stems from her own issues with being anorexic in the past. She went as far as to say that anorexic people would sicken her too, knowing how miserable and unhealthy they must be. Oh boy.
Where do I begin? As an ED in recovery, social worker, and woman who lives in Western society, there are so many angles to take. I guess I’ll start with some of the points she made that has some validity to them. First, our country is obsessed with physical perfection, and that needs to change. Second, obesity and the physical health consequences that result do cost our country a lot of money. However, from a sociocultural perspective, this is a complex issue. I work with as a psychotherapist in NYC with a population of low-income substance abusers, most of whom are African American and Hispanic. At least 90 percent of my clients are overweight or obese, and have a collection of health consequences, like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, etc. Many are under the age of 35.
While there are psychological and medical reasons for obesity, many people from low-income or rural areas don’t have the nutritional education, let alone the financial means to buy healthy food. Moreover, fast food restaurants hover in every corner of these areas. If people want to help this epidemic, and I believe it is one, than why don’t people (right wing conservatives, Daddy, I’m talking to you) put some money into helping people, instead of complaining how healthcare costs are affecting your tax dollars and driving up your insurance premiums? With that said, not all overweight and obese people are poor.
Another point she made is that we have a lot of control over our weight. For people who know what to eat and have the financial means to buy healthy food, I have to agree. For many, not all, it’s about caloric intake versus energy burned. Period. I will probably get some flack for my opinion, but that’s how I feel.
Now to the ugly. Her lame attempt to use her past anorexia as a crutch for her verbal vomit was just that, a lame attempt. Are you really still using your ED as a crutch? Take responsibility for yourself. And to say that she feels just as disgusted seeing an anorexic walking around as an overweight person — right. Yes, a recovering ED might have sympathy for both people, but I wouldn’t say the majority of recovering eating disordered persons feel disgust for the still-suffering anorexic. More like envy. I think that, more times than not, there’s a part of an ED in recovery that looks at the anorexic and feels a tinge of envy, as she remembers the security anorexia once brought, only if just a facade.
Getting back to the show that inspired the article, I think it’s healthier to show people who represent their audience, not just an unattainable ideal that would make most of us head for Ben and Jerry’s.