In case you hadn’t already heard, Marie Claire blogger Maura Kelly is in a whole heap of trouble for a recent post regarding the TV sitcom “Mike and Molly,” which stars two people who met and fell in love at an “Overeaters Anonymous” meeting.
Despite having never seen the show, Kelly recently posted a blog entitled “Should Fatties Get a Room? (Even on TV?),” in which she made such statements 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,” then compared being fat to being a drunk or a heroin addict.
Despite running an addendum to the post, in which Kelly apologizes for her harshness, citing her own issues with anorexia and a “lifelong obsession with being thin” as a potential cause, Kelly and Marie Claire seem unable to stop the influx of outraged responses to the posting. Indeed, the apology has done little to slow down the reactions that the media, Marie Claire readers, fat activists and even such outspoken celebrities as Sharon Osbourne, are having.
Nevertheless, like in all journalism, the audience may need to consider the source. Maura Kelly writes a very open, non-apologetic blog based primarily on her own opinions. That still seems no excuse for being openly mean-spirited. Keeping the blog format in mind, one could also argue that she opens herself up to such criticism when she uses her private opinions as fodder for a public blog, which is also meant to represent a company standard. And her audience, whomever they may be, doesn’t seem to like it.
However, the amount of hatred present in the responses to her post is well beyond innappropriate as well, and certainly not constructive: one poster proclaimed that she was “ugly on the inside” and hoped she wouldn’t reproduce. Certainly not the kind of constructive criticism that is needed here. So I’m uncertain: does Maura Kelly deserve her own public way of dealing with the fallout, or is she exhibiting clearly blinded signs of having learned nothing from the experience?
As of right now, I lean towards the latter. Kelly has done nothing more than publish a meek apology (thoughts which, honestly, may not even be her own) and has refused to speak publicly regarding the media uproar she has caused. Conversations like this, especially regarding a topic that people are obviously responding very strongly to, need to be thoughtfully considered and evaluated, not brushed over, left as blog posts sitting in a sea of gendered dating advice and somewhat specious social commentary. Neither Kelly nor Marie Claire have done much to win their readers back, and the continued response is only demonstrative of the lack of sensitivity both Kelly as well as her employer have given to this issue. It’s a shame, really. While it may be a good thing that a public discussion has been started, a more controlled debate could have brought more interesting things regarding fat activism and issues of sizism to the table.