Friday, October 29, 2010

Mean Maura Offends in her Anti-Obese Blog

A right to free speech does, in most cases, include the right to offensive speech. And offend she did. This week, a Marie Claire magazine blogger made snarky comments about obese people kissing on TV – specifically the obese couple on the TV show Mike and Molly.  Here are just a few of Maura Kelly’s nasty comments:

  • “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.”
  • "To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair."
While Ms. Kelly certainly has the right to be turned off by the sight of fat people kissing and canoodling – she should have the sense to keep her personal prejudices to herself. But, let me play devil’s advocate: perhaps her admission simply reveals the prejudice that obese people face but may be ignored by the politically correct.

If you’ve not seen Maura Kelly's blog, take a look. See what you think. Yes, she apologized but is that apology merely a defensive tactic to protect her now shaky reputation (and salvage book sales of her upcoming novel)?

I’d love to see your comments on this. I could bore you with the abundance of research data that shows that obese people do indeed face discrimination in education, the work place and in the health care system. But I won’t. Maura has already taken care of driving that point home.

Beth Kitchin MS RD
Assistant Professor
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Department of Nutrition Sciences


  1. Everyone has a right to their own feelings...that being said...there is no apology fitting enough for her lack of responsibility towards younger ( 18-30) readers...while some of the things she stated are true ..the delivery was tasteless ..saying this on a persol blog is one thing spouting her vitriol on a blog that the general public reads.. Bad move.. Her editor should have set perameters ...instead she gave her a free for all for fat bashing.. So many of our young women who are obese have poor enough self images and do not need her "contribution" to make it worse...having fought the good fight my entire life I know this subject very well...

  2. That is horrific! That sums it up.

  3. I think it is all too often that people equate obesity and weight problems with laziness. The general mentality (including Maura) is: "Fat people eat too much. If people would just stop stuffing their face and start exercising then they wouldn't be fat. Then they wouldn't gross anyone out. End of story." And wouldn't it be nice if that were true. But we know all too well that treating obesity is far more complicated than going on a diet. It is far more complicated than changing your willpower. This kind of ignorance is sad, but it is generally accepted in the American public.
    The thing that bothers me relates to the hatred Maura writes about this couple for engaging in seemingly normal acts. When a person's appearance factors into the equation of how you perceive them, and ultimately treat them, we aren't much further along than pre-Civil Rights movement. What I find even more troublesome is her justification: "these people aren't just a little overweight", as if that makes her rant better. Worse is her apology, which offers little to no remorse.

    However, I don't find it surprising that her editor didn't censor this-- I agree, Beth, that in all actuality, the majority of people see nothing wrong with prejudice towards overweight/obese people. It is this kind of attitude that leads many to a psychological pattern of depression and overeating in the first place. I am not saying here that we should blame the media/public prejudice, but I am admitting that it is a factor.

    I believe that something certainly needs to be done to change the attitudes of Americans regarding people of different sizes, but I fear it will be a long road ahead, particularly with the number of obese people growing each year.