Dear Marie Claire and Media: Fat People Are People, Too
Josh Shahryar, a journalist and human rights activist who typically reports on foreign policy, made an exception this week to write about an issue that struck closer to home. He was appalled at a blog post by Marie Claire writer Maura Kelly titled “Should “Fatties” Get a Room,” about the CBS sitcom Mike and Molly. Kelly made bold and hurtful statements about the show’s depiction of an overweight couple saying things such as:
“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.”
Shahryar calls Kelly’s offensive words an attack on human dignity. I agree with his opinion of her heinous article. There was clearly a line that Kelly crossed and not only her, it shouldn’t have made it past the publisher for the magazine. The blog post reflects both her and the magazine poorly and makes them seem insensitive and ignorant. To top it all off the apology that was issued by Kelly took the stance of “Sorry if you took this the wrong way.” And even more pathetic than this apology was Marie Claire‘s support for the author throughout the whole controversy. This goes back to the discussion we had in class about what kind of responsibility publications like newspapers and magazines have to the public. One would think that Marie Claire would be a little more concerned about the heinous and bigotted words being put out on their website, but apparently a respect for human dignity is not high on their priority list. Their failure to issue a genuine apology or take any kind of action to reconcile with the people who they have offended has disappointed tens of thousands of readers and degraded the quality of the magazine. This is a very poor reflection of the magazine and could have all been avoided had they adhered to morals, ethics, and respect from the start. Maybe Marie Claire should take a hint from NPR and get rid of the writers who taint the name of their organization.