Thursday, November 4, 2010

In The Eye of the Beholder

A couple of weeks ago, or maybe just last week, it's all a blur to me anymore, the internets were up in arms over a blog written on the Marie Claire website. One of the fashionistas over there had written about the TV show 'Mike and Molly' which details the budding romance between two overweight people who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

In the article, 'Should Fatties Get a Room' Maura Kelly writes that "...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 ..." Wow. Really? Just wow.

Needless to say, the article caused an uproar. By the end of the week Ms.Kelly was writing a half-assed apology, and stating that because she had once had an eating disorder, perhaps her ideas regarding body-image are skewed.

All of this leads me to ask the question- why does society continue to condemn someone who's obese, but someone who's struggling with an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia is patted on their bony little back and coddled? It's like some people look at someone who's overweight and say they're 'lazy', 'lacking self-control', even 'unlovable'. But the person who goes invisible if they turn sideways is to be pitied; 'poor thing', 'it's a disease, they can't help it', etc. Is the obese person not struggling in their own way with an eating disorder? Ask any person who's been on a diet, or more realistically, more than one diet, how hard it is to lose weight. The naysayers will sit back on their skinny butts and say, "well, it's just a matter of eating right and exercising more". Really? I never knew.

I would dare to venture that a good majority of people that are struggling to lose weight know what they need to be doing. Believe me, we know. I know that I myself deal every day with thinking about food in ways that most 'normal' people don't. Some days it's not a problem for me to eat healthy, make good choices, drink lots of water and make sure I walk. Other days, I just want a donut. Nothing in life is black or white, this or that.

All of us struggle with something, be it eating, not eating, smoking, drinking, gambling, etc. And it seems like women, catty people that we can be, are the worst at tearing each other down. I know I'm guilty of it; there's been several times when I've made snide remarks about the younger thin girl at work with the body that hasn't carried a baby yet. It's easy to forget that she has things she hates about her body, just like I do. Why can't we all, thin, fat, gay, straight, black, white, whatever, why can't we all just be beautiful? Why can't we try harder to look for the good in each other, instead of tearing each other down? What do you think?


Sue said...

I love the show Mike & Molly. As a single big girl, some of the feelings and fears the show depicts really hit home with me. As for those who say a fat person should eat right, use restraint and exercise more, I guess we could say the same for those who turn to anorexia or bulimia as their weight loss weapon of choice. Would I like to be thin? Sure! Would I prefer being healthy over being what society dictates is the perfect size? Most definitely!

Anonymous said...

I don't watch much television, but I have a lifetime of experience with what society thinks of me, a "plus sized woman". I'm old enough I care less now, but it is probably telling that the folks that I am jealous of are not the smaller ones, but the ones in the obituaries.