Tag: Maura Kelly

A Defense of Curves

Got Curves? I do!

I’ve mentioned the infamous Maura Kelly op-ed in Marie Claire many times on this blog . The one where she compares fat people to heroine addicts

“”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 [sic] addict slumping in a chair.”

and

“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.”

It is hate speech of the worst kind and the fact that a major fashion magazine would publish and then defend the smut is unbelievable.

Anyway, I came across an article by Josh Shahryar for the Huffington Post refuted each of Kelly’s claims and her subsequent apology.  It is so awesome!

http://huff.to/992Yrd

I was particularly moved by his last segment called The Conclusion.

I don’t normally share whole articles on this blog but I was so moved I wanted all of you to read it.  Being on a new diet this last week I think I needed to read this article.  So beautiful and moving:

5. The Conclusion

I’m not a personal issues expert. But I’m a human being living in the West who knows what’s going on. And what I see is this: there is an incredible amount of bias perpetuated against overweight people in the media. They are almost never the central character — always neatly tucked in as a secretary, the nurse or a character who’s too old to rouse romance. The last time I saw overweight people in a movie as the central character was in Paul Blart: Mall Cop and recently in Precious. Both the movies had a bit to do with weight.

When they appear on TV shows, it’s about weight. Guess who the loser in The Biggest Loser is… Guess who’s huge on Huge (by the way, a very witty show that got canceled). And when it comes to commercials, There’re always those damn ‘fatties’ that can’t seem to lose their weight without this or that new magical drug or diet.

Criminals can and do get central characters, otherwise. Druggies do. Even rapists and child abusers get more frequently featured. Fat people just aren’t good enough. (And to come to this realization right now just truly, deeply and profoundly upset me.)

The only shows, commercials or movies in which they get treated as normal people are those oriented towards the African-American population. Kudos to them for having the empathy. Only the oppressed can feel the pain of the oppressed.

Overweight people have become marginalized by the media simply because they’re overweight. Just like African Americans were marginalized because they were black and more recently, gay people because they’re gay. I understand fully that unlike the color of someone’s skin or someone’s sexual orientation obesity is a medical condition and a problem, but obese people aren’t. That is the issue. That is the problem. That is what both overweight, “normal” weight and underweight people need to come together and fight against.

The first step towards losing weight is not putting your mind to it. It is not making a list of things you will absolutely not do. It is not locking up the fridge. It is knowing that even if you fail at losing weight, people will still love you for who you are and not the number of pounds you’re packing. That people will judge you by your character and not because you are unhealthy weight-wise (and some people are perfectly healthy even when they are overweight). It is that feeling that you are doing this for yourself not because you have to fit a mold created for you.

That cannot be accomplished as long as Western culture continues to brand people who weigh more than what it deems aesthetically pleasing as unacceptable. It’s gotten so bad that even a few people who’re skinny live in constant fear that they might add a few pounds and not look beautiful enough to not be judged by people. And since media plays a huge part in formulating our cultural perceptions, it needs to change immediately — whether people like Ms. Kelly like it or not.

To that end, I urge everyone who finds size-ism in the media as a menace to view this as a watershed moment. It’s time to come together and fight this bigotry to the bitter end. Change does not come without someone pushing for it. If we want this to change, if we want for us, overweight or not, to not be judged by our BMI, we need to not let this fire die down.

We need to stand up and demand change. Even if it means we need to force the issue daily on social networking sites. Even if it means we have to boycott media that continue to practice this bigotry. Even if it means we have to hold peaceful demonstrations for the end of this practice. If media does not change, we cannot change this culture that seems to have been forever marginalizing overweight people.

It’s not just people judging you on the street. It’s about losing job opportunities. It is about equal treatment in the health care system. It is about being able to breathe, knowing everything’s gonna be alright.

The media’s side-stepping the issue and pretending all’s well reminds me of a scene from the movie Good Luck Chuck. Chuck is hexed so any girl who sleeps with him ends up meeting the love of her life in the next few days. His overweight secretary finds out about this and like any woman, she wants to find the lover of her life. She corners him one night and begs him to have sex with her, but he won’t. It goes on for a couple of minutes. Then, finally when he’s on the ground and she’s on top of him and he refuses, she tears up and says, “It’s okay. Close your eyes and pretend I’m someone beautiful.” He looks up, visibly moved, and says, “I’ll pretend it’s you.”

Well, pretending is just not good enough anymore.

(So awesome!  I hope I can keep the discussion going and show people a different version of what a fat American can do.  I bet Maura Kelly couldn’t swim a 5k!)

It’s not just girls that need the positive body image messaging

Fat Stigma- Biggest Loser

(Spoiler…this will be probably be the most controversial post I’ve ever done. Oh well.  Hopefully it will make you think)

Find this barbaric? horrible? demeaning?  Think we’ve come so far? Think we are so much more civilized now?

Don’t be too sure…

Barely clothed fat people on display for all to gawk at and criticize…look familiar? At least the fat lady wasn’t criticized for losing 22 lbs instead of 32…

Put all the glossy tags on it you want, exploitation is still exploitation.   People on the Biggest Loser are treated as a loser if they are heavy and they are not being set up for life-long HEALTH but only quick, 10 week weight loss success.

One example is “Kai Hibbard who lost 118 pounds on the show. She later blogged that she ate only asparagus, endured colonics and went through 6-hour stretches in a sauna to dehydrate herself enough to lose 19 pounds for the season finale. She jokingly said the entire weight rebounded to her rear end almost immediately.

“I left with a very poor mental body image, I found myself loathing what I looked like the more weight I dropped because of the pressure on me. And I found myself doing things like considering coffee a meal. And because of the mentality that I was surrounded with, and the pressure that was given at that show, it was considered acceptable to behave that way.”

Hibbard claims that contestants on the show were pressured to exercise even when severely injured, and to diet by dehydration. She says they were also told to ignore the advice of nutritionists and listen to the show’s trainers.”

Feel so inspired anymore? Let’s watch people starve themselves, fun!

I agree with this blog by Pat Barone CPCC, PCC entitled Why I Hate the Biggest Loser

“The contestants are being used. Yes, they might make a little money (Did not the world’s fatest mother make money? Does that somehow make it right?). They might rent some weight loss on the scale. But I’m already seeing a lot of them on Twitter talking about regain. I’m sure they didn’t know the truth before they started.

They let their desperation get to them. And nothing good is ever created out of desperation. The big winners here are the show’s producers and network. They’re making big bucks. Why should they care about the legacy of regained weight and broken bodies they leave behind them?”

I also agree with Barone about the negative effects of competition on weight loss:

“The truth is, contests can bring out the competitive streak in people but it cannot be maintained for very long. If you are a competitive type, use it elsewhere in life. When it comes to your body, be simple and healthy and keep moving.”

I have seen this over the past 2 years time and time again.  I work hard and have success but somehow it still feels like failure because it doesn’t match up with somebody else I know who has lost double, in half the time.  Particularly when I used to watch any diet themed show instead of feeling motivated I felt terrible. What  a horrible person I must be to still be over weight?  I must have to starve myself because pushing to the point of exhaustion obviously isn’t working…

But it is working.  I have made huge strides even though I have not lost much weight this year.  If I was going on scale alone I would be off the show darn quick; however, I am no longer a diabetic risk, my measurements have all improved, my self confidence and energy have gotten better and I have created a whole new life of swimming.

In my opinion shows like the Biggest Loser help to reinforce idiot opinions like the infamous Maura Kelly from Marie Claire (who I have quoted several times on this blog) who believes that if only fat people would “psych themselves up for the long process of slimming down” this pesky problem of obesity would go away.

Maura Kelly was just obnoxious enough to say what many people believe- that weight loss is purely a matter of will power and that those who fail are ‘boob tube’ watchers who are in the same league with heroine addicts and meth users:

“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.”

To the Maura Kelly’s out there how would you like to give up every minute of your free time, feel pain on a daily basis, be ostracized from social situations and parties, all the while defending yourself as a vibrant worthwhile person, and finally to be outright mocked because of a health struggle you face?

Someone I love used to think it was funny to video tape fat people at public events and laugh at the way they ‘waddled around’. Is this not the same as those who gawked at the world’s fattest mother?  Is gawking in the safety of our home somehow better than purchasing a ticket to view in person?

Thankfully I have tons of support as well but it is a tough road. Make no mistake about it- while my life expectancy may have been shorter a few years ago, it certainly has not gotten easier or less challenging.

Overweight people have many good qualities.  Why not help them to overcome a health challenge like we would any other disease or difficulty?  Why? Because that can’t be done in a 10 week film schedule.

Can’t you see that diet shows like the Biggest Loser fan the flame fat stigma and prejudice? Idiots like Maura Kelly are allowed to perpetuate their bigotry but even worse they are lauded for their benevolence to these poor fat people.  At least Kelly was so outright in her views that she received backlash.  Most people carefully couch their condescension in the guise of ‘the battle against obesity’. Really dig down deep there is a disgust of fatness and fat people at the core.

In the 1800’s there was a woman named Sara Baartman who was dragged around as a literal freak show because of her large behind (as well as other female anatomy).  (today she’d be a Kardashian…just saying). People gawked and mocked and even came to view her preserved remains because of their large size (she died at only 25).

Again, we think we are so much more civilized today and perhaps we don’t go so far but the motivations can often be the same…There can be a perverse human pleasure in seeing others fail but this  is not reality (and I say that being a reality TV fan in some cases- for instance,Amazing Race) and it is certainly not sympathetic.  I’m so tired of weight being used as a judge of someone’s character.  Its not!

On the Biggest Loser we see:

“the on-screen manipulation of them, which is sometimes brutal to watch (like our fascination with watching a train wreck) – but you don’t see the offscreen “revving up” process that happens right before they shoot. Manipulation is cheap, dirty and disrespectful. I don’t like to witness it. “

Barone says it well

“Losing weight just means the number on the scale changes.(What I would give if the world understood this, especially men) And that can be extremely unhealthy. Millions of people have mastered losing weight. They just haven’t mastered the regain phase that comes right on the heels of “losing weight.”

Obviously, I have no problem with people losing fat, but the American focus on losing weight is out of control and causing weight regain with ever increasing speed. (New studies report yo-yoing is more dangerous to overall health than staying heavy.)”

I agree.  This has been something I’ve wanted to say for some time but because of my many friends who love the show I have been hesitant.  With this season starting once again I just couldn’t hold my tongue any longer. I’m tired of having to defend myself because of my weight and feeling guilt for what seems to be such slow success.

I’m tired of living up to some image shown on TV- both the false success and the shameful beginning.  I am tired of feeling ashamed of my weight.  I am where I am and if that makes me a loser in the minds of NBC or Maura Kelly so be it. Good riddens!

Great and Spacious Building

It is no secret that the last few weeks have probably been the hardest in what has become my continual struggle to lose weight and get in shape.  With the added burden of chest pains, exercising and even basic functions like breathing have been difficult.   (I go to the endocrinologist today and hopefully will be able to exercise as well).

Anyway, I have tried to be strong and keep going but it is hard to not feel sorry for myself every now and then.  I say that knowing many, if not most people, have far greater struggles than I do; however, it still can be frustrating to see one road block after another.  Sometimes it feels like my body is fighting against getting in shape, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?  Nevertheless, I have persisted and am not giving up on my goal.

That said, there is one weakness I would like to confess which still bothers me as I try to make these changes- the idea of the mocking crowds.

Let me explain…In the Book of Mormon there is a story in dream-form given to the ancient prophet Lehi.  In the dream he sees a variety of things but in the forefront is a tree full of bright fruit.  Later we learn this fruit is the ‘love of God’ or the atonement of Jesus Christ.  Once you have partaken of the fruit you are filled with indescribable joy and light.  Immediately you seek to share this joy with your loved ones in hopes they might feel it also.

However, when you look around there is a ‘great and spacious building’ standing south of the tree.  This building is grand in scale and full of people mocking the faithful for their adherence to the tree. Their mocking can be so overwhelming that some of the faithful abandon the tree and head into darkness.  Others are strong enough to resist and continue partaking of the glorious fruit.

I have been thinking about this story lately because there are a lot of people who mock overweight individuals like myself.  In the past their words were easier to brush off because I was happy with the way I was.  Its a bit hard to explain but in opening myself up to the need for change I have become more sensitive to harsh words.

To give you an idea, a woman named Maura Kelly wrote an opinion piece for Marie Claire.com about a new show staring two overweight people called Mike and Molly.  In the article she says, ‘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”.

She goes on, “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.”

Why does this bother me so much?  I don’t know.  It just makes me crazy to think of someone looking at me in this way when I am trying so hard.  The saddest part is I think a lot of people share Kelly’s views of overweight individuals but don’t have the poor taste to admit it.   When I was younger someone I know used to take videos of fat people at parks or in the city and laugh at them, mocking them.   This stung deeply at the time and hurts me whenever I think of it.  The idea that someone is taking a video of me and laughing makes me nuts.

Getting back to the dream…I recognize such feelings exists because I am looking at the great and spacious building, not keeping my mind on the tree.  One of the things I dreaded about losing weight is your body becomes so much of your identity.  People immediately think  ‘Oh there’s Rachel.  She’s lost weight.’  What I would prefer is ‘Oh there’s Rachel.  She’s such a great person’.   However, I suppose such responses are part of human nature and are only an initial response with the latter coming soon after.

I just have to remember to keep looking at the tree.  I know my Heavenly Father loves me regardless of my size. I have known that since I was a little girl.  I know Jesus Christ died for me and that in His atonement He paid for my sins and felt all of my mild struggles.  I also know that my family loves and supports me regardless of my fitness choices.

I am also grateful for my Grandpa Richards who never saw me as the fat granddaughter, just his beautiful granddaughter.   He used to hold my face in his hands and tell me how beautiful I was, how my skin was flawless. It is a memory I will always hold dear- someone in my life saw me as perfect.  I know how that feels, and I am so grateful for it.  I know he is looking down on me and helping me each day.

I have received support from so many that I do not know why I let the faceless mob bother me.  It is something I am going to work at. I know as I turn more to the tree and feel of Jesus Christ’s love I will be happier and my burdens will be made light. I have faith in His love and His power.  I hope you all feel it in your life as you walk  your uniquely rocky road.