The internet is no doubt a great place for having a row. At any given hour of the day or night you can click online and find some scandal or other brewing.
This week scandal has particularly ripe. First of all proud parents from across the UK got their knickers into a knot when some scurrilous individual reported that a bonny baby competition being run by a highly respected clothing chain was in fact just a cover for a paedophile ring.
Second of all it was revealed that the editor of a US beauty magazine branded her cover star, LeAnn Rimes a ‘husband-stealer’ in an email to readers, prompting anyone and almost everyone to voice their opinion on how the country singer conducts her love life.
And most recently, a US journalist has prompted a massive backlash after hitting out at a new comedy show focusing on - shock, horror- overweight people.
I’ve watched one episode of ‘Mike and Molly’, which tells the story of two overweight people who meet at an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting and fall in love. It’s on one of the Sky channels I pay for but don’t have time to watch very often.It was an okay show. I didn’t find it particularly funny - certainly not as funny as Friends or Will & Grace or any of my previous favourites.
I didn’t find it offensive though. Maura Kelly, however, did. In her MarieClaire column she said: “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 heroin addict slumping in a chair.”
Fat is, of course, an emotional issue but sadly it is the case that increasingly these days fat people are considered fair game for people looking to throw cheap shots. (Maybe it’s because we can’t run as fast?).
It’s no longer acceptable to admit to being racist, sexist or ageist but throw a quick “Who ate all the pies?” shout out at a passing fatty and you are likely to get people agreeing with you rather than making you feel bad about being an insensitive feckwit.
It is acceptable for those who have never had a weight problem to sit on their bony rear ends and pass judgement on those who struggle to control their girth. “Eat less, move more. It’s not exactly rocket science,” they cheep. “Fat people are just lazy thickos” they mutter.
In their mind anyone above a size 10 (because, according to the Daily Mail, size 12 is pudgy these days) obviously spend their days lying on the sofa stuffing turnovers down their necks and drinking full fat coke in their tea instead of milk.
I would bet, based on personal experience, that the rruth is is that most overweight people know they need to change. Many want to change. Some will - and the right support will help them do that. Some won’t. Most will be aware that these days being overweight is the modern day equivalent of walking about with a bell around your neck shouting “unclean, unclean”. You can’t hide from it - it is there with you morning, noon and night.
The best way to help an overweight person find the inner determination to make healthy changes is to build their confidence and shower them with encouragement. It is not to make us feel like useless lumps.
It is quite clear that Ms Kelly thought that she was either being funny - by pointing her fingers at the fatties on the telly and laughing - or trying to be helpful. “I'm happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them,” she twittered, before later admitting she has a history of anorexia. Now call me cynical, but I’d rather not take my health advice from someone who has an unhealthy relationship with food and what she in her own words describes as a “lifelong obsession with being thin”.
It is clear that she missed the mark. Instead of getting the expected “Hear, hear! Slim down you fatties” responses to her article she has found herself at the centre of a storm.
She has been accused of bullying fat people. Hundreds have called for her dismissal - threatening to cancel their MarieClaire subscriptions if she is not booted out the door quicker than either Mike or Molly could ask for a side order of chips with their burgers.
A little part of me feels sorry for her, but a bigger part (no pun intended) feels that, in the simplest of terms, she needs to take her oil.
It’s time that people learned that it is wrong to pass judgement on someone just because of their physical appearance - be that their colour, their age, their gender or their size.
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