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Mike & Molly: The show that grosses Maura Kelly out

I can’t believe it’s already November! Crazy, right? Also – it seems like there has been a body image-related story in the news almost every day! So let’s get caught up …

FIRST OF ALL: Unless you’re just not totally obsessed with lady blogs, there’s no way you haven’t heard about the disaster that went down at Marie Claire last week. Writer Maura Kelly wrote a blog post about “watching fat people on TV” that basically sounded like some of the most superficial, hateful remarks from a junior high slambook. The post itself wracked up almost 1,000 comments, some of which were from Maura herself trying to defend herself. But she soon posted a lame-ass “apology,” saying that she thinks maybe her discomfort with overweight people stems from her own anorexia. (Uh, yeah, ya think?) Then, as if overnight,  everyone had an opinion on the situation… I personally loved Dodai’s post at Jezebel, which called fat-phobics out as a bigoted idiots. Some of the comments actually made me tear up. For instance:

“I come to Jezebel nearly every day because it’s one of the only places I know of where I can honestly talk about body image with other people who (for the most part) get it. I’ve been able to talk about my struggles with showing my arms in sleeveless dresses, the hurt I’ve felt from my own parents sometimes, the judgement I feel when I eat in public – you name it. And yes, I’ve done all of this while trying (and succeeding, for the most part) to lose weight. Having a place to actually talk about it where I don’t get shitty platitudes like I do at Weight Watchers (“nothing tastes as good as thin feels”)has been a good thing. Hell, it’s been a great thing. I know it’s not here as a support group, but it certainly makes me feel like there are lots of other fabulous women who struggle too. And the fact that there is one little piece of the world that doesn’t judge me and condemn me for struggling all my life with obesity is glorious, indeed.”erinfabu

Some thanked Dodai for her shoutout to women with PCOS, while others explain how much they used to hate their bodies when they were overweight, but they were still unhappy even after shedding a few pounds! It was once they learned to not equate their self-worth with the scale that they found themselves happier and healthier.

Image via Glamour magazine

Reading these comments, I felt like I was surrounded (mostly) by other women who are all in the same boat: At various shapes and sizes, we’re all doing our best to be healthy. But sadly, a few self-hating skinnies with big, really loud media-backed megaphones don’t seem to have any clue what that looks like.

The fact that we’re often faced with their blog posts, advertisements, essays, feature articles, commercials, cover lines, books, etc. doesn’t help, when we’re already struggling with self-acceptance and body love. Hello, MORE news for ya: 40% of us are unhappy with our bodies, says a new survey by Glamour. And 71% of us “feel fat, even though only 46% are technically overweight.

Given the vitriol that one lone women’s pub (Marie Claire) seems to think is acceptable to spew about anyone who doesn’t fit into its fashionista definition of beautiful and healthy …  is it any wonder that so many of us are paranoid and delusional about our own appearances? I mean, this isn’t exactly news to you, right?

Crystal Renn

Just look at Demi Lovato … The gorgeous young Disney star went to rehab this week for eating disorders and cutting, triggered by body image issues. This may be an extreme case, but it’s proof that the problem is out of control…

It seems to me every woman could stand to learn something from plus-size model Crystal Renn, who recently said, “I think that, you know, I will never be thin enough or big enough for anybody. So I think through this whole thing I had to just really be happy being who I am, and that’s when I found health.”

It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But I feel like, at least for me, it’s well worth the every pair of jeans, every glimpse of cellulite, every day struggle.

How ’bout you?

I think they timed this news to sync up perfectly with the launch of my blog! A new study done by researchers out of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah found that all women, even those who are seemingly “well-adjusted,” are concerned with getting fat. Neuroscientist and researcher, Mark Allen’s advice: “If the brain response is so strong in these apparently healthy women, maybe most of us could use a little dose of what it is that you go through in an eating disorder therapy.”

Silly scale, stop telling me how to run my life! (Photo via PleaseEnjoy.com)

Uhm…I don’t know if we need to take it that far. Maybe just a little more self-love and acceptance would work. (Oh, and reading my blog.) I’m pleased that research dollars are being spent on studying body image, but this guy Allen acts like women feeling bad about themselves or being afraid of fat is something new. Like we as women aren’t constantly bombarded with images or messages that a.) make us fear the prospect of fat and b.) equate fat with lowered self-worth. To bring the findings into perspective, a Psychology Today article explains, “How a woman feels about her body touches every aspect of her life…it affects what we believe is possible for us, our confidence, our self-worth and our willingness to take risks.”

Well, DUH.

We just all need to take comfort in the words of the great Margaret Cho (who I deeply admire for her big, loud and proud ways): “In our culture, we don’t see people out there with normal-looking bodies. We should all feel beautiful. If you feel beautiful, you will be more political, more active in trying to stand up for yourself, you’ll be in more control of your life, have more sense of power over what you’re doing.”

So, what are you going to do to fight silly fear tactics and feel beautiful this weekend? (I’m going to weigh in for the month at Weight Watchers, and regardless of the number, enjoy picking up a cute new pair of Vigoss jeans that I had specially hemmed for my short—and beautiful!—legs.)
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