Marie Claire Writer Wants Fat People to 'Get a Room'

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This week, the world of online women's forums and daytime television was rocked by a provocative article in Marie Claire titled Should 'Fatties' Get a Room? (Even on TV?). The article's author Maura Kelly isn't a big fan of watching fat people on TV—a subject brought to her attention by the CBS sitcom "Mike and Molly," which revolves around a heavy-set couple. See if you can see why people are upset with her column:

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.

Now, don't go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I'm not some size-ist jerk... But ... I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It's something they can change, if only they put their minds to it. (I'm happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them...

Since the article hit the Web, over 1,700 commenters (mostly furious) have weighed in. On CBS's "The Talk" Sharon Osbourne said Maura Kelly "is a bitch and I want her arse here"—a unique booking technique. CNN aired a condemnatory segment on it featuring one of the network's plus-sized writers, and an incredulous Sadie Stein at Jezebel grimaced: "how could she not know this would happen? How could she think this was acceptable?"

Thus far, the most acerbic reaction to the controversy comes from the article's very own comments section. With a cunning flair for satire, reader Beth writes:

Dear Maura Kelly, I sincerely apologize for my disgusting body and all the various rolls of fat on my person. When I married my fat husband back in June I didn't realize it would offend anyone when we got to that "you may kiss the bride" moment, or we would have skipped it. If I'd realized how unacceptable it is for me to have love or happiness, I would have called the wedding off entirely, of course. I have told my husband that there will be no more kissing or cuddling or FATTY SEX until we both lose some weight. I hope he understands... I really am so sorry for being so fat and happy all this time! In your very honest and sensitively written article "should fatties get a room?" you write that fat people should walk more, yet you also write that fat people walking across a room is something you find disgusting. I take long walks around my neighbourhood most days, is this too much? I want to find the correct balance between getting thin and not upsetting anyone with my jiggling body parts. I also swim twice a week and go to the gym once a week, are these activities also disgusting to you? Perhaps I should start doing these activities at night so nobody has to be offended by them. Do you think that would be best? I don't own a television so I haven't seen Mike and Molly. But I do hope they take garbage like off the television soon. As you say, it's implicitly promoting obesity. Surely anyone who watches it will see the yucky fat people making out and suddenly think to themselves "I should gain some weight, that looks like fun." And then where would we be? By the way, I haven't ever had any health problems before but if anything does come up I'll be sure to stay away from the doctor so as not to be a drain on anyone's health costs. Thank you for writing this meticulously well researched, world-changing article. I really think you are going to cure obesity with this! Yay! Your plump friends are very lucky to have a friend like you who is in no way a hateful bully or an ignorant sizeist jerk. Best wishes, Beth

While Marie Claire's editor-in-chief seems to be shrugging off the controversy, the backlash provoked an earnest apology from the writer who asked for forgiveness for the "insensitive things I've said in this post." Getting personal, Kelly wrote:

A few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that's an accurate insight.

Will Marie Claire subscribers care?

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