Oct 26, 2010

An open letter to Marie Claire:


Because this looks good.

Dear Marie Claire,

I am an avid reader of your magazine, a 20-something who is interested in more than just gossip and has a knack for beauty, fashion and lifestyle reads.  I am not your target market, but have been reading MC since I was 14. 

I enjoy your editorial pieces and especially love your opinion columns, but today a friend posted an article from Maura Kelly that I was not only disappointed with, but personally offended by.

I am not overweight.  I would regard myself as in-shape, someone who takes care of their body, eats well, partakes in the necessary indulgences, and works out several times a week.  Does that make me a saint?  Not in the least, but this is the lifestyle I live.

Maura's article doesn't attack people like me, but those who are overweight.  She not only exemplifies that she is a complete idiot, but that, assumably, she knows a few people who are as well, because her editor asked the initial question: "Do you really think people are uncomfortable when they show overweight people making out on televison?"

I am appauled that this question was even asked.  To begin with, it's incredibly ignorant.  It is asking if people are made uncomfortable when affection is displayed by two people, based on their appearance.  It's discriminatory -- it's bigotry.

Then, as if the article couldn't get any more ridiculous, Maura doesn't cease to put me in complete outrage when she talks about how anorexia is preferable to obesity, because "at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny."  Oh really?  I don't think that anyone who is 5'10'' and taller is naturally 100-110 pounds.  Sounds a little crazy to me, especially since you have to purposely not eat and stay below a certain calorie count to diminish any muscle mass you may have.  But maybe I'm just delusional. 

Let me be clear: I know there are health risks associated with obesity and that it's an epidemic; the United States is struggling to overcome it, especially with all the fast food and overproccessed products we have at our fingertips.  I practice living a healthy and active lifestyle, but never in my mind have I thought that people who are too thin or too heavy are so dispicable that I can't even stand to watch them be humans.

Apparently to Maura, obesity makes you a disgusting human being, not allowed to partake in normal activities such as kissing your partner without enducing nausea or offending people who are a healthy weight.  I can admit that there are people who are eating themselves to death, taking no precaution in what they are putting in their mouth, and doing nothing to try to fix or change it.  And it's true that being overweight does bring forward various health issues. And, yes, I have read the stats that when people are overweight, the smallest change can make the biggest difference (i.e. not drinking soda, eating a diet rich in vegetables and proteins, running 30 minutes a day, etc.).  But what about the people who are genetically overweight?  Or have thyroid issues?  Or the ones who keep trying hard to lose the pounds but aren't having success? 

She then proceeds to give some advice to all of the readers who are struggling with weight -- oh, thank you! -- and how we can fix it.  That "we can do it!" Wow, I feel so privileged that after tearing me down about my weight that you're offering me some assistance.  Why didn't I think these things before?  Oh, that's right, it's because I'm lazy.  It's a huge slap in the face, not only commenting on our looks and how we repulse you, but insinuating that we are too moronic to attempt to eat right and work out. (I know it sounds like I'm making this a personal issue, but there is no other way to describe these feelings without using first person.)

Forget what type of person you are; if you have a good heart, the best intentions, and a solid moral compass. Hell, you could be a murder, a pedophile, a complete heinous b*tch, but if you look aesthetically appeasing then you'll be just fine -- you won't disgust Maura by walking across the room with your trim and toned body! And as for all of you who are overweight, you might as well be an alcoholic or a "heroine" (as she wrote it) abuser, because that's what Maura Kelly thinks you're comparable to.  She doesn't even want to watch you walk across the room.  Anything you do is absolutely disgusting.
She writes this article as if she is sincerely concerned about the health of the readers, but it's really an outlet for her to create and project discrimination; further, it allows us to believe that there is only one way to look, which is airbrushed and flawless, much like the people in their magazine. 

I don't know what I'm more outraged by: the negativity, the discrimination, or the fact that she even tries to justify anorexia to prove her point.

This isn't a weight issue.  She has made this about what people look like.  And if I were you, Marie Claire, I would have given this article a once-over before printing something that praises anorexia over obesity because "obesity costs our country more money," (let's forget that losing someone to anorexica can cost us someone far more precious: life) and, apparently, being overweight is unhealthy, while being anorexic is not -- sometimes, it's "natural." With the eating disorder epidemic that seems to be plaguing the world, shame on you for printing this, proving that the world is still caught up in physical discrimination.

This bottom line?  Maura Kelly, you're taking up space in a magazine most would love to write for, filling it with your beligerant and offensive candor.

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