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Public Bodies

I’m grateful to Maura Kelly for her piece yesterday on Marie Claire Magazine’s website.


For one thing, the response to her piece from the blogosphere and the twitterverse have been balm for my soul. The pleas for acceptance, kindness, understanding, and love give me new hope.

For another thing, I am reminded to re-engage in this conversation, this discussion of bodies and weight and the acceptance or judgment of them.

I am fat. Obese. Not plump or overweight; I’m not plus-size or a big girl, but genuinely fat. The body I live in, this person who I am, this body that is me, takes up a lot of space.

The jumping-off place for Ms. Kelly’s piece is the sitcom Mike & Molly and whether or not it is distasteful for fat people – “[B]eing overweight is one thing — those people are downright obese!” – to kiss each other on television.

I’ve only watched a few minutes of the show and those few minutes were full enough of fat jokes to turn me off for good (“It’s like hugging a futon!”), but whether or not public kissing by obese people is OK never crossed my mind. It begs a whole lot of questions about who should kiss on television. Should middle-aged or elderly people kiss? What about non-white or interracial couples? How about gay men, lesbians, or trans people? Is it OK for people with disabilities to kiss?

Whose sexuality is acceptable? Whose bodies are worthy to be seen in public and who among us should stay home and hide? Whose personal ick factor should we not cross?

Read the rest at Blogger Body Calendar.

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13 comments to Public Bodies

  • Yowza! I had no idea this shitstorm was going on. What was Marie Claire thinking in publishing that bigoted, insensitive piece? Editors asleep at the wheel, much? That line about “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.” is so ill informed and judgmental and just plain… wrong. “Naturally thin” people have no clue that they have won the metabolism lottery. Can you imagine a tall person saying “Short people can grow if they really try, there is no reason for them to stay short and stumpy.”?

    OK, thanks for delivering up my morning serving of blood boil.
    Varda (SquashedMom) recently posted..A Double Blessing

  • I seriously thought that blog was a joke or something, but it turns out she’s serious! Incredible… I actually do like Mike & Molly. It’s sweet & funny, imo. But people kissing is gross? Grow up Maura, right? ow old are we – 7?
    Ruby recently posted..Were Moving

  • I had somehow missed that particular controversy until I read your blog post last night.

    People are more than a number — more than a size, more than the readout on the scale. I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. Every person deserves the right to be seen for who they are, not what they weigh, not who they love, not where they were born or how much money they have.

    Maura Kelly is at best an insensitive idiot, at worst a crass example of bullying crossed with a serious case of prejudice.

    As always, Adrienne, you write beautifully and say the things that need to be said.
    Barnmaven recently posted..Boat…missed

  • I thought your post over BeautifulBody was eloquent, patient, and forgiving.

    I love how you said, “who deems what is acceptable love?”

    Loved that.
    Alexandra recently posted..What’s The Square Root of 54 or the Winner Of The UberChocolates

  • That article is appalling! i am seriously in shock. SHOCK.
    your response is so gentle and kind. I am impressed.
    Grace @ Arms Wide Open recently like monday- take 2

  • CDG

    Thank you, Adrienne, for never flinching in face of what needs to be said.

    I’d never heard of the sitcom until I read the Kelly blog, via the Toy With Me ladies.

    I could have screamed.

    Maybe I’ll get to a point where I can blog objectively about it. I hope to be able to be as kind as you have been.

  • I hadn’t heard of this either. Personally I’m a fan of things that are real and authentic. Like this blog and your writing. 🙂
    Kristy recently posted..A Friendship is Born

  • […] I read a blog entry by No Points for Style. Today, I read about all the backlash. Tonight, I was inspired to write an email. Because honestly, […]

  • I’m glad you wrote about this. You gave me food for thought, and reminded me just how much I appreciate a natural, authentic human body. Pieces like Maura Kelly’s remind me how much I still have left to teach my daughter. If I’m lucky? She’ll grow up to be the right kind of person. Cause I would be embarrassed to have a Maura Kelly as my own daughter, ha!
    Steph recently posted..Marie Claire

  • **ahem…**

    Dear Marie Claire,

    Hi. I’m 5 foot 1, 110 pounds soaking wet, have good waist-to-hip proportions, and have busted my ass over the last ten years to teach myself how to stop obsessively maintaining all those statistics by failing to eat. I love dancing because when I dance my body is simply a place in which to experience and from which to manifest joy, and nothing more or less. Hondas irrationally irritate me. Like most people, I love kittens. I studied Anglo-Saxon literature in college. I have scars from surviving a car accident that should have killed me, and in all the time I had after that accident to try to figure out how to recover from it with grace, I never once thought to myself, “Aha! How have I been so blind? I’m a thin person! My size automatically generates compassion for my caretakers and deep gratitude for this desperate pain I’m in that means that I’m still alive! Hooray for thin!”

    Nope. That didn’t happen.

    This is my friend Adrienne. She writes an awesome blog called No Points for Style. She says she’s a fat person, but she rarely writes about that, probably because she’s much busier writing about things like compassion and grace and how we can manage to experience them in a world full of pain. I like her blog because I’ve spent some time trying to figure those answers out, too. Like I said above, there. The part where I mentioned that being thin didn’t help me answer them? Yeah, there.

    I gotta tell you, Marie Claire … her blog is awesome. It’s way, way awesomer than any of your blogs. You wanna know why? Huh, do you? You wanna know the secret to my friend Adrienne’s awesomesauce bloggerosity? You might wanna listen up, because it looks like not too many people are fans of your blogging these days, Marie Claire. So lean in close. The secret is …

    … thinner columns, of course! Marie Claire, your pagination blows. Switch to WordPress. Neat, streamlined, orderly columns are the secret to a happy blog! So go on, get on that! Start today! You can do it if you really try!

    With warmest regards,

    Brooke Baker

    **ahem. /rant. **

  • Where the hell have I been? I missed ALL of this!

    This kind of behavior? This is why I blog every Monday about being healthy NOT thin… THIS is why I stopped weighing myself. I believe that society today places far too much importance on the number on the scale or the tag on the inside of your jeans. I am “done with the guilt” as Elizabeth Gilbert so beautifully stated in “Eat Pray Love”. I. Am. Done.

    People come in all shapes and sizes, and love is beautiful no matter who you are – even if it is only acting for your television screen. For those of you out there who don’t want to watch it, change the channel or look away – however I advise you to remember that you’re not perfect either so you should probably avoid mirrors as well so your precious eyes don’t have to stare at imperfections!

    Besides, in my experience – fat people have the most beautiful souls!
    Heidi-D recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Halloween

  • Ok what the farking hell? Did this happen back when Rosanne was on the air? She and Dan were fat and they kissed all the time. Did anyone care? And there are fat guys on TV ALL THE TIME who have skinny ladies (King of Queens, anyone?) and that is ok, but this is not?

    This entire thing is ridiculous to me. People are people. Who cares what they look like or what religion they are or what sexual “preference” they have.

    Shit, American Media. Leave people the fark alone.
    Katie recently posted..Back to The Flip List…

  • Laura

    I am a 5 foot 10 inch, 144 pound fattie. I have always been thin, and at times underweight an have always recognized that my thinness comes from heredity and metabolism–not something I did or didn’t do, or any type of morality or superiority. I am not sure what offended me most about the Marie Claire piece because all of it was awful. I thought her apology was insincere–she had to have known how offensive she was being.

    The question I am left with now is, what did she hope to achieve? Did she think that her simplistic advise was going to revolutionize the world? Did she think her narrowmindedness was going to make people accept one another more? I’m scracthing my head still.

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