Tweet Do you know who Maura Kelly is? You will.
Go read this article she wrote for Marie Claire: Should "Fatties" Get a Room? (Even on TV?)
Go ahead. I'll wait.
I'll wait for you to read it, and then I'll wait for you to call all your friends and exclaim you have just experienced the most ridiculous attitude towards overweight people ever.
And I'll wait while you update your twitter account with Maura Kelly really IS a size-ist jerk.
Maura Kelly writes, "So anyway, yes, 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."
Actually, beyond ouch. I think I'm just dumbfounded. I mean, she gets paid, right? Marie Claire pays her to write. She writes articles and has to update her blog and they actually hand her a paycheck to write whatever she wants. Even if it is incredibly insensitive and hurtful. And mean. She actually gets a paycheck to be mean. The only people I thought got paid to be mean to other human beings were Drill Sergeants. Which, incidentally, I thought would be a very cool gig up until the time I joined the Army and actually came face-to-face with a Drill Sergeant and then I was all these people are just so mean and I couldn't see myself making that many people feel like dirt for that many hours in a day. Also, I couldn't see myself wearing those hats.
Maybe I was just brought up differently. I was brought up that you accept people for who they are. You don't judge. You don't say things that unnecessarily hurt people's feelings. You don't speak hateful comments. You don't purposely try to make people feel less than. Ms. Kelly obviously did not have my mother.
I grew up skinny. Stick skinny. If you drew a picture of a stick person and put a potato on as a head, that'd be me. I could eat absolutely anything I ever wanted and not gain an ounce. At one point in high school I was put on special watch with the school nurse who watched me eat carefully measured out portions of the school's hot lunch and then time me for exactly one half hour to make sure I kept it all down. They were concerned I might be anorexic. I'd finish the watched over meal absolutely famished, drive down to McDonald's and get a Big Mac, french fries and mayonnaise. (Yes, fries dipped in mayo is glorious. You will not be disappointed.) The point is, I had no control over how my body responded to the food I ate.
I've now got two decades and three pregnancies behind me and my body certainly does not look like it did in high school. I don't eat the fries dipped in mayo as often as I used to, I drink too much soda and I don't eat enough vegetables. I've got cellulite, stretch marks and some bright red sspidery blood vessels that burst by my ankle - none of which is going away anytime soon. I suppose it could be said that I should watch what I eat and exercise more and get this body into tip-top shape.
But through all those years and all those pregnancies I've learned some very valuable lessons. I've learned that the kindness of a person's heart is not based on their waist size. I've learned that good friends don't just come in a size 2. I've learned that laughter and good times can be had with people who are medically defined as morbidly obese.
I've learned that everyone has a story and that story deserves to be heard by people who genuinely care. A person's story isn't less important because of their size.
I've learned that our time here on earth is fleeting. That our lives can change in the blink of an eye: a routine ultrasound suddenly reveals severe debilitating defects, a child doesn't return from the park he was playing at keeping a mother waiting until the day she dies, a sister singing along to the radio on her way to work is killed instantanly. Life is hard for all of us. It shouldn't be extra hard for anyone... especially those we think ought to be slimmer.
I've learned that some of the best people in my life have been the largest. People that I learn from, that I look up to, that I wish I could be more like them. More caring. More aware. More generous. More accepting. More vibrant. More full of life. More genuinely good at heart.
I feel bad for Ms. Kelly. She's missing out on a lot of really great people just because they don't fit her particular size requirements. Also, she's getting a lot of hate mail right now which totally sucks.
I question what Ms. Kelly's aversion truly is: the public display of affection (which the article was supposedly about) or her personal disdain for fat people. For the record, I do happen to get grossed out when I see people making out in public -- people of any size, shape, color or sexual orientation. It's just not my thing. Hand holding, I'm cool with. A kiss here or there - fine. A groping make-out session? Ew. Take it to your bedroom. Trust me, there's no size restriction to the heebie jeebies I get when I'm sitting behind the PDA Guru's at the movies and I can't hear over their moaning. I don't care how cute and in shape you are, either.
Update: Wendi Aarons weighs in with her article Should "brunettes" get a room? (Even on TV?) ... and you should, too, because it's awesome. And it'll make you laugh. And laughter always makes the world a better place.