Marie Claire's "Fatties" Counterpoint: "Yes, Fat People Exist"

Illustration for article titled Marie Claire's "Fatties" Counterpoint: "Yes, Fat People Exist"

The Marie Claire mishigas continues. Now, the mag is running a "counterpoint" series to Maura Kelly's initial "provocative" article. The first one's title? "Yes, Fat People Exist: A Vote in Favor of More Diverse Bodies on TV."


The writer, Lesley Kinzel, is a well-known voice who blogs over at the estimable And she deftly dismantles some of the primary fallacies of Kelly's initial "opinion piece."

Now, Mike & Molly is not a great TV show. In fact I would call it a terrible TV show, but I have this annoying habit of expecting sitcoms to be funny. That said, Mike & Molly is important because it is currently the only series on television featuring characters and actors who look like me, and like people I know and love. Oh, but this is not a matter of "glorifying" obesity. Glorifying obesity would take multiple TV shows depicting fat folks riding unicorns and devouring warm pies whilst counting the bags of money they've gained from being fat. Indeed, if simply putting fat people on television was enough to "glorify" obesity, then The Biggest Loser should have done the trick years ago. It hasn't, because The Biggest Loser is a show built on the humiliation and punishment (self-inflicted or otherwise) of fat people. When we say that putting fat people on television will "glorify" their bodies, what we really mean is that we are uncomfortable giving fat people any attention that is not overtly negative. Because fat people need to be told: don't be fat. Being fat means you are not entitled to a normal life. Being fat means you are not entitled to love. Being fat means you are not entitled to humanity, much less dignity.

She adds,

Arguing that fat characters should not be seen on television is making the statement that fat people do not have a right to be seen — or even to exist — in media or in life. It suggests that fat people should hide themselves away in shame and not burden the public with having to look at them; by extension, it suggests that fat people are less valuable individuals than thin people
. This idea harms everyone: it makes fat people feel terrible about themselves, and it makes thin people terrified of becoming one of those disgusting fatties. Everyone's humanity is lost in the equation.


This is good writing and a great counterpoint: it's too bad it took the initial piece to prompt it. Now, I think we can all agree that whatever the reason, seeing a range of well-argued viewpoints (as opposed to the initial fiasco) is a Good Thing. If it will serve the nullifying purpose Marie Claire hopes is another question; whether you want to give the mag props for learning from mistakes, or simply condemn them for covering their asses, is up to you. But one thing's for sure: if we're going to criticize the editors for using their platform to promote something ugly, we have to be glad that the same platform will now expose a ton of readers to Kinzel's piece. Was Kelly's apology half-assed? Yup. (And her finding the response volume "exciting" was just weird.) Was the magazine's response tepid? Indeed. But in any case, based on the quality of this I'm looking forward to seeing what follows.

Yes, Fat People Exist: A Vote in Favor Of More Diverse Bodies On TV [Marie-Claire]



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I don't understand the responses here that are happy about this counterpoint because now some conversation has been started.

Are people actually buying this bullshit?

Marie Claire is laughing all the way to the bank from the extra click-thrus you gave them and the extra moolah they can now charge for ad-rates.

Maura Kelly now has the moniker of "Provocative Blogger" which is EXACTLY what every online magazine is looking for because see above. She's even more hireable now than ever.

The biggest losers are you the readers who got slapped in the face and are now grateful that some inane, pointless conversation got started about whether fat people are really people.

Mmmm, conversations. They solve EVERYTHING.

Please lets have a debate and maybe a townhall meeting. How about a round of conferences and symposiums? Imagine the great, long, long, endless conversations we could have. We should have a conversation right now about whether it's wrong to kill hookers or when it's ok to use the n-word. Oh wait, we know that those things are wrong already.

But somehow when it's about fat ladies, nothing is just plain old WRONG. It's all very hazy and ill-defined. And they can all be resolved by having conversations.

You don't have conversations when gay kids kill themselves. You don't have conversations when someone uses the n-word. You don't have conversations when people are assholes. You hit them where it hurts. You don't swallow some idiot media company's mendacity and converse with them politely about how you're entitled to courtesy.

Jesus. Stop buying Marie Claire's bullshit, will you? Organize a boycott, protest outside their offices, something.

Stop talking and do something. We've had enough fucking conversations already.