A recent online blog for Marie Claire magazine has caused quite a stir. So it’s an edgy, contemporary women’s magazine; what else is new, right? Well, there was something about this particular article that rubbed me especially the wrong way—and not just for superficial reasons.
The topic was—to put it delicately—the subject of overweight people on television expressing physical affection. Nothing x-rated. Just the same, normal interaction you’d see on any primetime sitcom. The show being discussed in particular was Mike & Molly — a new show whose principle characters are an overweight couple.
The author of the article shared in vivid detail her disdain for overweight people. Using terms like “fatties” and making statements like “I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even…to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room…”
Well, as a woman who has been medically classified as “morbidly obese” I can’t tell you how distressing this article was to me. It was obviously written in ignorance. But prejudice against the obese is the last remaining “acceptable” prejudice in America, it seems. An article about any other specified segment of society (be it race, gender, religion, etc.) wouldn’t be acceptable.
My close friend Hollie (who starred on the Biggest Loser 4 with me) spearheaded a discussion on Facebook about this article. The responses from people were most disturbing. It simply reinforced the devastation that obesity inflicts on lives. The article didn’t serve as any motivation to lose weight. It just made those who have that struggle feel worse, more condemned and less worthy.
I have written before about the impact that words can have on a person’s spirit. They can breathe life or death. Since the upheaval that was prompted by this blog, its author has issued an apology. But to some degree, the damage is done in the psyches of the people who read it and internalized it.
I am bringing further attention to it—not to amplify the negativity, but rather to reinforce the fact that we must find value both in ourselves and in others, NOT in the physical attributes we possess but in the value instilled in us by God.
Believe me, I am an advocate for weight loss, exercise and healthy living! I think it’s the only way to live! But I also know that there are many things that cause people to be overweight and it’s not always a simple fix.
Don’t buy into the comments promoted by articles like the one I mention here. Let’s face it—an overweight couple kissing on TV is a lot closer depiction of reality than two picture-perfect actors doing the same kind of smooching. But instead, be encouraged that change is possible. You don’t have to be satisfied with carrying the extra weight—not for vanity’s sake, but for the quality of your own life. So stop kissing your husband and get off the couch and go for a walk!
Although I would never encourage anyone to be content with a life sentence of morbid obesity—you must remember this: if you never lost one more pound or one more inch God wouldn’t love you any less. And for me, just knowing our Creator loves me that much gave me even more incentive to make a change. And you can too!