While diddling away the random hour on Twitter I ran across a link to the Marie Claire blog post Should Fatties Get a Room (Even on TV?) I was amazed to find nearly 4,000 comments weighing in-sorry-on the debate about whether or not overweight people should a) have their own TV show, or b) be allowed out in public where anyone can see them. The post was kind of a silly bit of business, which I’m sure author Maura Kelly thought she was writing a bit of fluff. Think again.
The topic of Mike & Molly soon faded as Maura rambled on about how overweight people should just lose some weight and ended up saying You Can Do It!
Most of the commenters were a little over the top themselves-some hoping that Maura would starve herself to death and Maura apologised for her article. The people at Mike & Molly have even added a little scene at the end of their next show addressing the whole tempest in a teapot fatties fiasco.
I liked Melissa McCarthy when she played a slightly nutty chef on Gilmore Girls, but I haven’t got around to watching Mike & Molly yet. I just haven’t been too impressed with most sitcoms the past few years.
I have to say that I have mixed feelings about the whole overweight issue. My Body Mass Index often puts me in the overweight area and once in a while in the obese category. According to these little online BMI calculators I need to loose something on the order of fifty pounds. Now I am not overtly fat-I am a bit soft around the middle-and I think I would look as much like a scarecrow as Ellen and her significant other if I lost that much weight. That’s not a great look either.
So there is the numb of the problem-people are either way too skinny or way too fat. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of normal any more.
As a portrait photographer I see all kinds of people all the time. Thin, fat, tall, short, bald, hairy, bible thumpers, and people covered with tattoos and filled with piercings. All manner of hairstyle, make up, and clothing choices. Every kind of taste in music, books, and films. Conservatives and Liberals. And so on and so forth. The one thing everyone has in common is that they all think of themselves as Normal. None of us like someone else pointing out how we are not exactly the same as everyone else after all.
And that was really Maura Kelly’s great sin. She was talking to her demographic-a magazine whose usual cover fare is a skinny young woman wearing the latest fashion. She had every right to expect that she was preaching to the choir-she didn’t want to look at fat people and she was sure none of her fellow Marie Claire devotees would either.
And if it had been nothing but Marie Claire readers, this article might have been just one more vapid blog post in the world. Instead, it became a lighting rod for the ‘rights’ of overweight people in America. I still can’t decide if that’s good or bad.