Mike and Molly Fat Controversy

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • She's "grossed out by fat people making out" on a primetime sitcom.  You'd have to be living in a bubble to not have heard all about the hateful comment released by a Marie Claire blogger last week online and the resulting uproar that occurred.  Here's the background on the discussion.


    Blogger Maura Kelly posted a blog that basically said she would be grossed out if she had to watch two very overweight individuals "with rolls of fat" kissing each other and frankly doing other things.  The two characters on the show meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and the rest is, as they say, history.  After the blog post, 28,000 comments (emails) were posted.  One source suggests that the blogger was actually given the specific assignment to post her negative feelings, though this has not been verified.  Many journalists were confounded by the lack of editorial censor.  Posting your feelings, however raw and negative, is not a problem in the general blogosphere; however it is frowned upon in more sophisticated news and magazine sites.  Every blog site has its own rules and most people polled felt that the Marie Claire site was sorely lacking in journalistic judgment when it allowed this blog to post with the especially negative comments.  The author has since apologized and offered that she struggled with anorexia in the past, and her own self esteem and body issues contributed to her feelings and her lack of sensitivity in the post.  The site itself has not published a formal statement.

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    So we've got an obesity crisis in America and yet most people want to tip toe gently through the discussion of fatness or girth, and fatness as it relates to health and body image.  Some doctors feel that the net result of this gentle approach is a burgeoning obesity problem.  In fact, doctors and pediatricians in particular feel vexed when faced with a patient, adult or child, who clearly has moved into a weight danger zone.  If they bring up the subject, unsolicited by the patient (or parent), they run the risk of alienation and even losing the patient.  Patients claim that (a) the doctor is typically not verbally sensitive (b) they know they have a weight problem - they don't need it brought up (c) stay out of my (my child's) business meaning my skills as a parent.  In the case of a parent with an overweight child, parents also feel (a) compared to other children, he or she looks fine (that's because many kids are overweight so the comparison is skewed) (b) your saying something very negative about my parenting skills (c) I am overworked, stressed and doing my best so leave us alone.


    There is no doubt that weight issues are very complicated.  There is no doubt that we need to find ways to dialogue about weight from a health perspective and even personal perspective with great sensitivity.  The blog world has become a dumping ground for all kinds of writings and opinions.  The question is do we have the right to post content that is raw and judgmental and a personal opinion or do we need to police blog sites and have a constant editing process in place if offensive material is posted. 


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    If it inspires good dialogue, is a mean-spirited blog a fair post? What do you think?


Published On: November 16, 2010