"Fatties" and the women who hate them.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

First it’s me dispensing ill-informed Haterade to mothers breast-feeding in public.
Then it’s a rash of suicides by young gays and lesbians caused by the relentless, baseless, hateful bullying of ignorant people. (Thank goodness for purple hats.)
This week?
It’s a blog entry on Marie Claire‘s website, essentially saying fat people are disgusting and shouldn’t be shown on TV making out — or being otherwise happy or in love: Should “Fatties” Get a Room? (Even on TV?)

Palm to my face. Head to my desk.
Our collective cup runneth over with stupidity and hatred. (I’d like to think I am equal parts less stupid and less hateful after my personal episode, though…)

Maura. Kelly.
I know your plight. Obviously. I have been in your position very recently, albeit on a much smaller scale. I feel for you.
It’s a tough spot. But you are so dumb.
You are really dumb.
For real.

I’m sure there were a few commenters who chimed in to support her opinion. (Probably the kind of women who thought it was okay to play “Circle the Fat” with a soul-scarring Sharpie during their sororities’ hazing rituals.)
But most of the people who read the story — and had to sign up for an account, probably with their e-mail addresses, to leave a comment, which I resent — were infuriated. With good reason. And told her so. Some said really awful, equally baseless things about her as a person, which I don’t agree with.
But she wrote a diatribe against fat people, a demographic that’s been growing exponentially (no pun intended, I swear) in the past few years. What did she expect?

Her editors have let this piece run because they knew it would generate page views. They knew the shit storm was a-brewin’. They had to. And they let it explode. They let those words fly to help their publication stay relevant and rise to the top among a bunch of women’s magazines with absolutely no special qualities. (The same five stories run over and over in just about every magazine, with “___ Ways to Please Your Man” in the top position, so to speak.)
Some women have been enraged enough to take action, at least with their purse strings: The e-mail address of Marie Claire’s web editor, Kate Schweitzer, has been made known far and wide, and many women are writing in to let her know that they’ll cancel their subscriptions and stop buying the magazine if something isn’t done here. (To which I said: I had no idea, until yesterday, that Marie Claire was still in print. Which I guess was kind of the editors’ point.)

Maura Kelly is a woman who has dealt with anorexia and clearly has many body-image issues she is NOT OVER — she copped to both in the comments and her half-hearted retraction/apology — and who has been given an uncensored platform to talk about whatever she wants as she copes with them.
Someone who probably still cringes at what she sees when she looks in the mirror got free rein to hurt lord only knows how many other people.
What. POSSESSES. People?
The idea of compassion seems to have been lost on a big percentage of our population.
To spew such utter nonsense, show such complete disregard for fellow human beings… Especially when it comes from a totally uninformed place deep in their hearts or heads…
And people who had the power to stop it didn’t…

But, of course, there are bigger problems here than Marie Claire and its irresponsible editors.
The fact that obesity has actually reached epidemic proportions — the fact that it’s not just about the freshman 15 that never melted off, or eating one too many pints of Ben & Jerry’s but extends to government, education, economics — should be some kind of signal that we need to stop judging people for being fat and look at things a little more broadly. Support those people who are struggling. Try to change the way we all live.

I want a day of good news. Some triumph on a grand scale, the happiness equivalent of a suicide bombing in a crowded market. A day without mud-slinging political advertisements. (November 3, I’m looking at you.) I want to see someone else perform a random act of kindness instead of perpetuating the indifference that seems to rule our everyday lives.
I want a day where I can wake up, look in the mirror and not think to myself, “God, I’m so overweight.”
I weigh 190 pounds. I wear a size 12.
But I’m almost six feet tall. And I’ve been going to the gym almost every day for the past month. I’m running at least five miles every week. And I practically flog myself every time I indulge in something delicious — well, overindulge…it’s what I do. (I’m not made of stone.)
I’m not built to be thin, not genetically disposed to fit into skinny jeans.
But everything I see tells me it’s what I should do: I should be thin. I should wear skinny jeans. I should be able to eat what I want and still lose weight. (Someone should be sued for making those commercials, by the way.)
I put my scale away because those unflinching red numbers were making me hate myself. I refuse to go shopping because something about the mirrors and the lighting make me…well, they make me hate myself.
I’m a fairly proportional woman in her 20s. My body is fine. I know this in my most rational of brains.
If I struggle this much just to get through the day without thinking how awful I must look…

So really? I want a day where any woman can wake up and not think to herself, “God, I’m so overweight.” Or feel at least like she can go out in public without feeling ostracized beyond the self-loathing she likely already feels. To be able to take the steps she needs to start losing the weight, if she wishes, but carry on with her life in the meantime.

We’re all humans. (For God’s sake.) It would behoove us to remember that a lot more often than we do.

Exit soapbox.
Maybe actual writing next time.


23 Responses to “"Fatties" and the women who hate them.”

  1. wafelenbak Says:

    Marie Claire had another major kerfuffle a couple weeks ago when it accused some of the “Big 6” healthy living bloggers (who I didn’t know until I read the article) of exhibiting signs of eating disorders. (link here: http://www.marieclaire.com/health-fitness/news/articles/health-blogger-controversy) My understanding is a lot of the information in the article was taken out of context and poorly researched. To wit: I’ve started reading two of the bloggers regularly since then and think the MC article was way off the mark.
    To sum up, Marie Claire seems to staff a lot of idiot writers who are willing to take the fall for sensationalist “journalism”.

  2. lloyd traven Says:

    Nicely said, Paige.

  3. Maggie Koerth Says:

    As a 160 pound, 5’10”, size 10 lady who is, like you, proportional but very much not built to be a teeny, little bird-boned girl … I say, “Feel free to wear the skinny jeans. They look good, actually. Especially with boots.”

    And, also, this is why I hate women’s magazines. Not the “fatty” thing specifically. But the brainlessness it represents. I would kill…KILL, like, with blood…to get a women’s magazine that understood that women give a shit about things other than fashion, hair, weight issues, and fuckin’ dudes. Some of us, in fact, don’t give a shit about the first three and are only half concerned with that last one. Some of us would like to talk about politics (and not just politics-of-the-hooha), science (and not just science-of-the-hooha, or science of weight loss), history, culture, art. I could go on.

    Some of us don’t have any problem understanding men and don’t need boring, repetitive article after boring, repetitive article trying to explain them to us. (And inaccurately, I might add.)

    Some of us have a harder time understanding the kind of woman women’s magazines think women are.

    And don’t get all high and mighty on this, Jezebel.com. I’m talkin’ to you, too.

  4. JayCeeEm Says:

    major win Paige. as someone who’s struggled with weight issues his whole life (one point about 265– now minus more than 100 of those) I’m not one of those people who wants to blame genetics or big bones or bad luck– pure laziness, too much beer, and a love of all things drive-thru are purely at fault. i can own that…

    but, “articles” (used in the loosest form) by Maura Kelly are nothing but senseless, demoralizing garbage posted online purely for the “buzz”. it’s one thing to post something like that as an entry on a personal blog– entirely another for a nationally distributed publication.

    kudos, again.

  5. ruthan Says:

    I’d recommend, half in earnest, taking up social dance, if only because it often leads to skinny dipping.

    Finding myself in an environment where it seemed perfectly sensible to strip naked and jump in a hot tub with half a dozen people I barely knew, but who’d had their hands all over me all night, made it pretty clear that my level of body-consciousness was way out of proportion (insert your favorite “terrible pun” noise here.)

    Uh. ahem. I’ve been made aware of a bunch of bloggers who write about sizeism (along, usually, with feminism and/or other cultural criticism); would be glad to compile and direct interested parties towards them …

  6. MeredithFB Says:

    Lots of thoughts!

    1.) What an idiot. She wrote “heroine addict” — a title she’ll never inspire, clearly — instead of “heroin.” Big difference. Use freaking spell check, Maura!

    2.) Word, Paige, for printing your weight, height, size, whatever. It’s about time women were honest about these things and not make such a big deal about it. Why DO we keep this info hidden and/or lie about it? I’m so freaking sick of interviews with actresses citing false numbers, all the while saying, “I eat what I want!” bull. shit. Just say it. Own it. Eat it. Who gives a crap!?

    For the record, I’m 5’6″, 145, size 6, 8, 10, and 12, thanks to our glorious sizing standards.

    I am holding out with this massive hope that at some point you, me, hell, all other women will be able to write things like this and not have to qualify it with a statement like, “But I’m almost six feet tall” and then list all the things you’re doing that prove you lead a healthy lifestyle. You’re smart. Funny. Pretty. Talented. Goofy. Witty. Driven. Thoughtful. Inquisitive. Educated. Connected. Compassionate. Involved. Conscientious. Loved. That’s what matters.

    3.) I read Glamour, not Marie Claire, but they seem to have similar problems. Glamour started including “plus size” models in their pages a few months ago, but that has turned out to mean one spread including the same model each month — and she’s about a size 12 — NOT plus size, last time I checked. For all their “Fun, fearless, woman” crap, this hardly promotes self esteem, self love, a culture of sisterhood, whatever you want to call it. We’ve got a long way to go.

    Also, @Maggie, I concur! And to add to your list, some of us don’t even give a shit about fuckin’ dudes — we fuck women, and would prefer not to have to seek a specialty magazine to get to read about it!

    4.) I agree, Paige, that we need a paradigm shift in this country with regard to how we view, treat, and talk about obesity. However, I think we also need to start realizing that fat doesn’t necessarily equal unhappy, unhealthy, or struggling. Yes, it often may. No, it doesn’t always. I know plenty of full-figured women who (gasp!) aren’t even TRYING to lose weight! (how DARE they?!) They love their bodies. They respect them for what they do. Full stop. Dare I ask what is so wrong about fat acceptance, especially when ignoRants like this are at the other end of the spectrum?

    I think we just need to open our minds, not only to stop such hateful posts (like Miss Kelly’s), but also to get to more understanding and acceptance of what the entire experience of obesity entails — as with most things, I think we’ll find that it doesn’t just mean one thing. The judging goes beyond the physical, and it all needs to stop.

    5.) Keep your soapbox handy, at least. You’re on a roll. 🙂

    • Paige Says:

      You’re FABULOUS, Miss Meredith.

      I got really…tired of writing, or I might have touched on this: There’s a huge difference between obese people who ARE struggling, are in terrible health and do need help, and full-figured women who are empowered and fabulous. Obviously. Fat acceptance is one thing, and…the other thing is another.


      I don’t blog often about current events, because current events upset me. And when I’m upset, I…trail off.

  7. eD Says:

    What a Nitwit she is, back handed apologies are the best!

  8. Adrienne Says:

    Well, I won’t be publishing my size/weight here, but…well done. *clap*
    (I’m bad at commenting online but this was great and you need to know that. You NEED to know that).

  9. Brian Says:

    Thanks Paige…I love this, you, and all that stuff…
    Thanks, truly.

  10. Tweets that mention “Fatties” and the women who hate them. | paigeworthy.com -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paige Worthy and Paige Worthy, Lauren Kaminsky. Lauren Kaminsky said: RT @paigeworthy: Hey #latenightcrowd! You been following this Marie Claire thing? Read my blog about it. http://bit.ly/cP6vak […]

  11. Angela Says:

    @MeredithFB – Spell check can’t fix stupid. 🙂

  12. Gabriel Says:

    If this wasn’t “real writing,” then I’m pretty keyed up for tomorrow’s post.

    By the way– I think everybody pretty much needs to get a room. I don’t need to see that. That’s why God invented internet porn, and that’s why I love Him.

  13. Sam Sarbinson Says:

  14. Erini CS Says:

    @MeredithFB – Women’s sizing is obnoxiously frustrating. I’m a 4 through a 10. Sometimes with the same brand! (H&M, I love you, but seriously, this is stupid.)

    Paige, thanks for sharing and for being strong enough to be honest about yourself. It’s a hard thing to do. It really makes me sick that so many women have issues with their bodies — I know I do! I think I’m 5’4″-ish and between 140-145lbs. And thanks to some health issues I’m going through, I feel bloated almost constantly — so that’s taken a huge toll on my self esteem regarding body image lately.
    Anyway. Here’s hoping we can continue making steps forward.

  15. Ashley Says:

    You know, what bothered me more than anything her post was her half-hearted, “Oh, if you just do these things, you’ll turn your life around. You only have to try!” as though a) every fat girl ever has not heard that advice and b) if we’re overweight/obese we obviously aren’t trying.

    I know next to nothing about Marie Claire — I read the article on health bloggers a couple weeks ago — and absolutely Maura Kelly, and I certainly hope to keep it that way in the future.

  16. Peter Says:

    Here’s the only thing I want to say. And it relates to this:

    “But everything I see tells me it’s what I should do: I should be thin. I should wear skinny jeans. I should be able to eat what I want and still lose weight. (Someone should be sued for making those commercials, by the way.)”

    Relating to, “someone should be sued…”

    I get what you’re saying, Paige, in this post. And I agree with almost all of it. But I tire of people blaming TV commercials and the like for their problems. Those ads will not change. It’s up to the individual to not play the victim. It’s kind of like someone thinking they should sue Marlboro when they get throat cancer. With what we know these days about smoking and cancer, and fatty foods and health problems …

    I realize this might be a little nit-picky but I don’t blame Hostess for making Ding Dongs. I just don’t eat them.

    • Paige Says:

      Hi Peter.

      I know you may not be speaking directly to my point here, but I wasn’t referring to commercials for fatty food. I was referring to the commercials for diet programs that suggest you can eat what you want and still lose weight. Ads that DIRECTLY MISLEAD consumers should have direct action taken against them. But also? Read for tone. And don’t take shit so seriously, especially on my blog.

      Anyway, because you DO agree with me on most points (even if you were a bit nit-picky), I guess you can stay and keep leaving comments. One final point: I happen to love Ding-Dongs. And would like to hug Hostess for making them.

  17. Sam Sarbinson Says:

  18. jocelyn Says:

    and i have to say … what frustrates me is that all women have been messed up so much in the head that i all i can see in your post is … that you’re 6 feet tall and wear a size 12 and seem to be lamenting that. i’m 5’3″ and wearing a size 16 right now and want to curl up into a ball. i’d be doing good if i could do size 12 right now. i’d be down quite a few pounds.

    so … yeah. it drives me nuts when ladies are lamenting about their size and they’re so much thinner than i am. and it drives me nuts that i can’t stop hating my body. and it drives me nuts that the media doesn’t care and just keeps propagating fat hate and love of skeletons. 😦

  19. Birth of Venus. Says:

    […] fitting into the goal jeans. And it’s not about new year’s resolutions either. This is not that. […]

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