Marie Claire editor asks anorexic blogger who hates television to write about a new TV romantic comedy about a fat couple

by CynthiaYockey on October 29, 2010

Promotional photo of the title characters of the romantic comedy on CBS, "Mike and Molly," played by Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy.

"Mike and Molly" is a new hit romantic comedy on CBS. The title characters are played by Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy.

What could go wrong?

The link goes to a reaction piece by my dear friend, Jenny Lawson, at Ask The Bloggess, who links the post at the fashion magazine Marie Claire by Maura Kelly about the new TV show Mike and Molly. I encourage you to read both. Jenny points out that Ms. Kelly is an anorexic, which is an eating disorder that has severe dysmorphia as a symptom. This means Ms. Kelly is unable to control her anxiety that her body is defective. For anorexics, this results in the perception of being fat, regardless of how emaciated they may be, and obsessive dieting, exercise, vomiting and laxative abuse. It’s hard to imagine a subject on which anorexics would be LESS qualified to write than body image.

Ms. Kelly’s anorexia is quite severe judging from the fact that she has weighed less than 70 pounds more than once as an adult. Her advice to the obese on how easy it is to lose weight is comparable to all the advice she certainly received that she could conquer her anorexia if she just ate a little more — here, have a cookie, it’s so yummy, you’ll love it! — which clearly she has been unable to do, even when her emaciation was life-threatening. (Force-feeding an anorexic doesn’t work, either — it has a lot in common with putting your head in the mouth of a psychotic tiger on PCP. Neither one of them takes it very well.)

In an update in which Ms. Kelly apologizes for hurting people while pretty much standing her ground defiantly on the actual hurtful points, she defines morbid obesity as being 100 percent over your ideal weight. I find myself wondering if her own dysmorphia caused her to exaggerate this definition. The actual definition of morbid obesity is being more than 20 percent over your ideal weight.

I had an anorexic lesbian partner for about two years when I was in college. I also got to know her mother, who never allowed my partner to develop her inner self — which is what I believe is the underlying cause of anorexia. I had to learn a lot about anorexia in order to heal myself from these two very destructive women. To the people wishing Ms. Kelly in hell, I assure you she is already there.

P.S.

Since June I’ve lost over 27 pounds. Another time I’ll write about why I got fat and what I have had to do — and am doing — to recover my health and lose weight.

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  • I used to have a chest bigger than my belly, then I went and got old. So, I don’t qualify for Mr. America anymore. I did give up on what the “experts” say is the right body when they decided that Marilyn Monroe was overweight during her prime. Excuse me for wanting a double order of that overweight.

    Of course I might be the wrong guy to comment on this issue. When I was a kid, just getting interested in the girls, my old man had a little extra beer and told me: “Peter, if you have a choice, always take the chubby girl home. You never know what you’ll get at night but at least you’ll leave with a good breakfast.” It was good advice. So, I took Linda Lou home and have had a lot of years of good breakfasts.

  • Liz

    Maybe it’s the combination of ridiculously good self esteem and never having “over”weight, but I don’t really get the outrage over this. A woman doesn’t like how fat people look doing things – as long as she’s not throwing stones at them, so what? It’s something I’ve heard a lot of gay men say in their own defense when someone says they find the thought of two men being intimate disgusting – ie “What about fat people? They’re allowed to marry”. I’m pretty sure there are people out there who find someone doing something disgusting, regardless of size.

    And yeah, the “YOU CAN DO IT!” bit, combined with the condescending food advice, was so stupid I snorted my coffee on the keyboard. I’m just not sure why so many people were so angry at her. It was more moronic than malicious.

    • CynthiaYockey

      Liz,

      Go back and read the comments at Marie Claire — at least 100, so you get a fuller picture. People don’t have boundaries about insulting fat people. I read a story last year in a UK newspaper about a rash of attacks on fat people by slim persons resentful of the cost of their healthcare. It’s going to get worse because socialized medicine means that people feel they are paying for someone else’s healthcare so they are entitled to insult and dominate them.

      The solutions I favor are healthcare tort reform, allowing health insurers to compete across state boundaries, uncoupling health insurance from employment, changing the architecture of our urban and suburban areas to allow healthy exercise (sidewalks, bike lanes, bike paths, parks), healthier interpersonal boundaries and loving people just the way they are.

      Cynthia

  • DaveP.

    First, I’m six feet tall; if I was doing BMI I’d actually have to lose some muscle mass to hit my “healthy” weight. Second, there are no skinny people over age 30 in my big-living Italian family and frankly we’re all damn hard kills and tend to live to 75-plus.
    Take the two together and you can see why I don’t automatically link “overweight” with “unhealthy”… nor do I automatically link it with “unattractive”, as too-skinny women always strike me as too fragile to really have fun with. Twenty pounds over “ideal” weight? That’s just winter padding.

    I will admit that “100% over normal body weight” is indeed morbidly obese- and I used to work with someone who was, and it has shortened his life. But outside of that, as long as you keep active I really don’t see a problem.

    • CynthiaYockey

      DaveP.,

      I appreciate your comment and agree with you, but I want to remind you that the “winter padding” you are talking about is pretty close to the definition of morbid obesity for many women. Since morbid obesity is defined as weighing 20 percent more than your ideal weight, a person with an ideal weight of 125 is morbidly obese if he or she weighs 150 pounds or more. I think the definition is a touch strict.

      Cynthia

      • DaveP.

        That was pretty much my point. The 20% definition of ‘morbidly obese’ is just as inaccurate as the ‘ideal weight’ it’s based off of. If you live an active lifestyle and exercise regularly, extra weight isn’t a serious health issue.
        Example: The wife of a friend is about 5’2″. She weighs maybe 130. Is she fat? By the ‘ideal height/weight’ standards, yes. In reality, she’s quite shapely and since she leads a very active lifestyle (hiking, bike riding, et cetera) she’ll probably outlive me- ‘extra weight’ and all.
        Second example: The military has had to institute a waiver program for its fitness program, as they kept on getting soldiers who were bodybuilding hobbyists with competition-levels of body fat… who were being told that, rippling muscles and all, they weighed too much for their height and therefore must be obese.

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