Marie Claire and more specifically blogger Maura Kelly are under fire after she ran a post admitting she’d be grossed out watching two obese TV characters kiss. Mike & Molly creator Mark Roberts shared his thoughts on Kelly’s comments.
Kelly, who serves as a freelance writer for Marie Claire’s website, admits to having been relatively unfamiliar with the CBS series Mike & Molly, which centers on two overweight people who begin a romantic relationship. She references a CNN article that talks about viewers being uncomfortable with seeing plus-sized people being intimate and then goes into her own opinions on the matter.
Here is part of Kelly’s original blog posting:
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.
Later on, she offers a parenthesized paragraph of positivity toward losing weight and getting fit and then gives tentative points to Mike and Molly for trying in their participation at Overeaters Anonymous.
The post has more than two thousand comments and at some point, Kelly posted an apology. Here’s part of it:
I know a lot of people truly struggle to lose weight — for medical and psychological reasons — and that many people have an incredibly difficult time getting to a healthy size. I feel for those people and I'm truly sorry I added to the unhappiness and pain they feel with my post.
Yes, her feelings for “those people” were made clear in her original post. In fairness to Kelly, she’s hardly alone in her opinions here and the topic of people being uncomfortable watching overweight couples be intimate on TV is certainly worth discussing. It was the “brutal” in her “brutally honest” opinions that was unnecessary and unfortunately, far too common in a culture where “size-ism” remains somewhat socially acceptable. At least, enough for her to think saying things like “rolls and rolls of fat” was going to fly without her having to eventually add an apology nearly as lengthy as the original post to her blog.
Marie Claire is certainly a well known magazine and probably has a readership that includes people of all shapes and sizes, and thus, the backlash was substantial. Not only has it been heavy in the comments section of the blog, but it also got the attention of Mike and Molly creator Mark Roberts. Fancast.com posted an interview with Roberts, wherein he states the following:
This show is about how everybody in the world deserves to have love, so to have somebody come out and say that these people should not even be seen in public is insane. And then the idea that she comes out and says, “Well, I have my own body issues”? [Kelly says she has a "history as an anorexic."] Well, clearly you’ve reached a really strong, spiritual place where your struggle has allowed you a certain understanding for other people. Unfortunately we live in a judgmental society, but I think most people are supportive, and the way that people have come out against this [article] shows how people really feel about it.
You can read the full interview here.
Mike & Molly airs Monday at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.