|Sculpture by Cindy Koh|
Just today I learned about Maura Kelly’s inflammatory blog at Marie Claire about fat people. Seems she was asked by her editor to comment about whether or not seeing fat people make-out on TV made people in general feel uncomfortable, and was given the new TV show Mike and Molly as her example. What followed was a hateful, shockingly ignorant and poorly written diatribe against fat people, even though Ms. Kelly had never seen the show in question.
I’ve been bullied most of my life about my weight, which started climbing when I was around 8 years old. I remember being followed home from school by classmates while they taunted me with “fatty, fatty, two by four” and “Chubby Checker,” all the while kicking me in the back of my legs. My mother went to the school to try and stop it, but it only made it worse.
Such bullying continued all through elementary, junior high and high school. I remember for awhile in high school, boys used to lay in wait for me at the top of the staircase and as I walked up would hock up big wads of spit and rain it down on me. When I went to the school office to complain, the adults helped me get the gobs of mucus out of my long hair and told me to go to class a different way. The creeps found me and continued until they got bored or found someone else to torment.
Looking back, I wasn’t even very large at that time in my life. Certainly plump, but by no means morbidly obese. (Truth is, I’d kill to weigh now what I weighed then.) But it was the 60’s and the Twiggy waif-pre-pubescent boy look was in, along with hip-huggers and the birth of the mini-skirt. It didn’t help that I was a loner, from a broken home (which wasn’t the norm in those days) and from a lower economic level. But it was my size that initiated the attacks and name-calling.
When I was around 15, I was taken to a weight specialist and put on diet pills. I quickly lost 20-25 lbs and for a short while was thin enough that you could cut yourself on my collar bone. Unfortunately, the pills turned out to be prescription speed. I was so hyped up, the doctor had to give me sedatives to counteract the diet pills. I ended up in the hospital emergency room and remember the doctor lecturing my mother soundly for turning me into a junkie. Fortunately, I wasn’t addicted to the pills and as soon as they were out of my system I was healthy again … and gaining my weight back.
Is it any wonder my first suicide attempt was at 16 years of age. Trust me, teen suicides over bullying are nothing new.
The remarks, the bullying, the looks of disgust have continued throughout the years and I have memorialized some of them in my Odelia Grey novels. As I got older, they lessened. Seems when you become middle-aged, the bullies decide you aren’t worth their time. Or maybe you become so toughened up, they sense you might take them out if they say anything.
When I read the Maura Kelly fat-rant blog the first time, my head nearly exploded. Then I felt sad for Ms. Kelly. She admits to having her own body issues and anorexia and it obviously taints her judgment. Her own self-loathing has turned her into a nasty bitch with no sense of decency and a bad case of projecting her personal issues onto others. She did “apologize” kind of, sort of, but it was obvious she didn’t feel one bit sorry for her hateful words. If anything, the “apology” seemed like continued arrogance, just wrapped in different words.
If Ms. Kelly had posted her ugly words on a personal blog, I would have written it off as her personal opinion, which she has a right to, and formed my own opinion of her – that she’s an unhappy asshole. But the fact that she put it on the blog of Marie Claire, a national magazine for women, which claims to embrace ALL women, is the real hate crime here, and that crime was perpetrated by that magazine.
Don’t for one minute, Marie Claire, tell me no one saw that blog entry before it was posted. And don’t for one minute try to peddle your fair and equal handling of all women/all people. That ship has sailed and it sailed with a steel drum band and streamers.
My name is Sue Ann Jaffarian. I am fat. I kiss men and have sex, and that makes me Maura Kelly’s and Marie Claire’s worst fears come to life.
I rather enjoy that...
11/6/10 - Last night when I wrote the above blog, I felt I'd gotten a lot off my chest. But a funny thing happened this morning when I woke up. I felt free and empowered, like I had taken back my life. I live a very busy life and sometimes all the activity, deadlines and demands bring about a kind of robotic malaise. Reading the bullshit Marie Claire and Maura Kelly are shoveling brought me out of that, and so I must thank them for shaking me up and awakening the warrior in me - the beautiful, sexy, intelligent warrior queen. - saj