Maura Kelly, mentioning Hit Coffee favorite Mike & Molly, raised some eyebrows with this:

My initial response was: Hmm, being overweight is one thing — those people are downright obese! And while I think our country’s obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy, I also think it’s at least equally crazy, albeit in the other direction, to be implicitly promoting obesity! Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer.

So anyway, yes, 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 — 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.

Just as am discomforted being in an elevator with someone that has massive burn scarring that has consumed their face. It’s not an unnatural reaction to respond negatively to someone aesthetically displeasing. Of course, the difference when it comes to obesity is that we get to tuck it into something self-righteous. It seems wrong to be disgusted with someone that had the misfortune to be in their house as it burns down. But the obesity thing, you see, is about health. Maura herself says that of course they could lose the weight if they only tried. Trying. If only they’d thought of that. To be fair, this is something I used to agree with until (a) I saw how abysmal the numbers actually were on sustained weight-loss of large amounts of weight and (b) that weight-loss through force-of-will was a losing proposition (or a not-losing proposition, depending on how you look at it).

I would actually be more understanding of Maura’s point if the show were about fat-and-happy people that were reveling in it by calling each other Big Mama and the like. While Mike and Molly make jokes about it, they’re pretty self-conscious jokes in nature. They don’t accept their weight so much as it is a personal struggle that they’re losing.

Maura has taken (in my view) an excessive amount of heat for this article, though. Her bio page now has some hateful comments and she has since issued an apology. I think this, as with many things, is something that people should approach more carefully. Not just Maura, but her critics. The fact is that a whole lot of people think like she does. Invective against her is invective against all of those that feel that way, which is most people who are not nor have ever been fat themselves. It’s better to simply point out the problems with being so glib about problems that they have never really faced and point out the statistics about how truly difficult sustained weight-loss (of large amounts of weight) actually is.

Category: Coffeehouse

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