“Fatties” are people too…

I was a pretty skinny child. My passion for making my parents chase me around the house and yard contributed to my physique back then. Sometime around 3rd grade, though, I started to realize I wasn’t normal. I was getting fat.

I have no idea how it happened, but I look at my (now) size 24 self and realize that I am considered morbidly obese. I remember back in school, the kids would make my last name rhyme with fat. Fat A-(insert second syllable) was my name through most of school. I remember in middle school, this kid on the bus spit on my jacket, because he felt I was too fat to be on “his” bus.

Sounds insane, but it really happened.

Another big example I remember was waiting at the bus stop one morning, and one of the kids took my gym bag (actually ended up ripping it because I wouldn’t let it go), rubbed it in dog poop and told me that PE class wouldn’t help me so I shouldn’t bother bringing the bag to school. Bullying sucks…I don’t wish this type of bullying on anyone.

When I reached college age, bullying stopped. Everyone was magically more mature, but it was then that I realized maturity did not equal a fair society. The first time I went to the mall with my college friend, we were buying clothes. I remember going into Hollister and getting stares. I was a size 20 at the time. I could barely walk around the racks, since they kept them close together. I remember just looking at the regular sized clothes (helping my friend out), and when my friend went in the dressing room, an employee at the store told me they don’t carry my size, but Lane Bryant probably does. Rude, no?

When I worked at Lane Bryant through college, I realized that not all customers that shop there embrace the plus size. One lady came to my register to buy a gift card around the holidays, and while I was ringing her up, she told her husband if she ever fits in this store, she would just die.

I’ve seen it all…stares at the gym, stares eating out at a restaurant with my husband, even stares at the workplace…it’s everywhere. Society frowns upon the obese.

However, underneath my current size 24 body, I just wish I could wear a sign saying, I’m a person just like you. I have perfect blood pressure, good cholesterol, and while I eat ice cream from time to time, I’m making efforts to change for the better.

I’m sure most of you have read the Marie Claire article about the issues with an author accepting “fatties”. This article made me so sad. I actually was starting to love Marie Claire, because of their plus sized fashionista, who was starting to make me embrace the fact that I can still feel “cute” in clothes. However, since publishing this article, I feel like this was a huge slap in the face to the very readers that they have been trying to empower.

So, for the first time in a long time, I wrote to an editor. I had to. I couldn’t believe this article was published.

Ms. Schweitzer,
 
I recently came across an article titled “Overweight Couples on TV”, and would like to know why something of this nature was published. The author states that she finds it displeasing just for an obese person to walk across a room, and as an obese person, I find this saddening. I also find it saddening that she does not consider herself “size-ist”. If you think less of a person because of their weight, then that is a blatant discrimination.
 
I’ve been a Marie Claire subscriber on/off for quite a few years, and I’m just shocked that a magazine which writes about how a woman should feel more self-worth, is now publishing this. Do you not realize how many readers you may have just offended and brought down a few levels?
 
It’s hard enough to read magazines with size 0 women plastered across the pages, but now, to read this makes me feel like I am less of a person–compared to a stumbling drunk as she stated.
 
I really hope you will consider your audience when you publish articles of this nature. I’m fairly sure you’ve lost quite a few readers in the long run over this.
 
Sincerely,
::insert actual name::

That article brought back all of the bullying. It brought back the self-conscious feelings of “I wonder how many people find me gross”. It hurt, and it wasn’t fair.

The author tried to make up for it with an update (making excuses with her prior eating disorders and her perception of fat), but of course, you can’t take back how you really feel.

So, thank you Maura Kelly…thank you for making me feel equivalent to  ”a stumbling drunk” and a “heroin addict” (her words…not exaggerating). And thank you for making those hateful feelings against “fatties” seem OK to have by having them written in such a huge publication. You kind of suck.

How do you feel after reading this article?

Comments

  1. I applaud you for writing this! I am shocked by the article, absolutely shocked.

  2. Oh how I wish I could give you a giant hug right now, because I’ve been in your shoes. In middle school I tried out for the basketball team. I was good, too; I had remarkable aim and would actually make shots. But during tryouts, some girls sat in the stands and proceeded to “cheer” “Jiggle, Jessica, Jiggle.” It was awful. Middle school was a terrible three years.

    And now, despite working out consistently, eating healthy and making my husband eat healthy, I’m still considered obese. I hate that word. I’m healthier than so many people out there. Luckily my husband loves me just as I am, so my self confidence isn’t shot, but still, this article struck a nerve. It took me back to my days of middle school.

    It’s ironic that she wrote this days after there was a media blast about bullying. I wish people would realize that bullying is bullying no matter who you’re degrading. Gays, fatties, the handicapped, it needs to stop. People have feeling.

    Outstanding and thoughtful post. Bravo.

  3. Seriously? No, seriously? That’s horrible. How did that article even get published?

  4. I completely agree with your article! And I was frustrated by the Marie Claire article as well. They haven’t been winning a lot of brownie points in my eyes lately especially with their previous article on food bloggers and how they “practice extreme behaviors” and this article just sends it over the edge. First they’re bashing health/food bloggers and now they’re bashing obesity. A little hypocritical, no?

    I did notice that this journalist included an update and an apology in her article. While this by no means makes up for anything, at least it’s an apology.

    Keep doing what you’re doing and props to you for taking a stand!

  5. The article made me sick to my stomach. I can’t believe Marie Claire allowed something of this nature to be published, especially after the recent attention brought to bullying (as Jessica Lynn stated). Discrimination of this nature is pathetic and sad. At the end of the article she states that she realizes she appeared as a bully and is apologetic- I hope that she really means that.

  6. The Marie Claire article was complete trash. I can’t believe that a reputable editor would allow it to be published! I was so glad to see the sea of responses outing this woman as being a cruel, sizist bully. And her apology? Yeah, totally don’t accept it.

    I like your response to the editor & your entry here. Would you mind if I shared your link on facebook?

  7. Wow, that Marie Claire article was unbelievable. I’m a big fan of that show and I’ve never had those thoughts cross my mind while watching it. I can’t believe an article like this would be published in a well-known magazine. Kudos to you for sending a letter to the editor!

  8. Ugh, I had no idea about this article, but it is so disheartening. And it makes me so sad to hear the stories of what you had to face growing up. I commend you for standing up for yourself and writing that letter.

  9. I can completely see how that hurtful article could bring back all of those horrific memories of bullying. The tone of the article, for me, was that fat people are so disgusting, they shouldn’t even be SEEN, let alone be represented on anyone’s television set. It was a disgusting article and I left a comment (which probably hadn’t been read). Thank you for your blog. We need more voices like yours (and mine) out there. It’s no okay, no matter what the situation, to treat someone as a second-class citizen. Bullying, which is what her post was, is never okay.

  10. I’m literally tearing up over here, Amy. I think we can all relate to your story, regardless of size, and isn’t that the point – that we are all the same underneath? The article was disturbing and I find it v interesting that today the editor has come out looking for authors “with opposing viewpoints” to write a counter. To me, it should be more difficult to find authors who SHARE Ms. Kelly’s viewpoint.

  11. Thank you. Thank you for writing to the editor. Thank you for having the courage to write this post. Thank you, from me. Another “fatty” who finds this article SO displeasing and hurtful.

    I hope Ms. Kelly realizes the hurt she’s caused and truly feels sorry for what she’s written.

  12. I can sooo relate to you, and it is quite sad the cruelty we’ve had to endure. Thank you for being so open and sharing your experience.

  13. Amen sister! I can relate to every word you have written. I myself am a plus size gal (size 18/20) and yes we are people too damn it! I know my size isn’t healthy and believe me if I could be a ‘normal’ size then I would. But people like that woman who wrote the article need to understand that it’s just not that easy. I am sure we have all tried to lose weight and I even lost 20 pounds and felt great then slowly gained it all back…its something we deal with everyday. But our weight or size doesn’t define who we are. I will still be me at a size 20 or size 10. Ok, getting off the soap box now. But I just wanted to say thank you for writing this and that I understand. :o)

  14. I’m glad you wrote this.

    I was adopted and always struggled having “differences” from my two non-adopted sisters and my mother. They had flat chests, were short, skinny, and had tiny button noses, freckles, dry skin, and full, thick, curly hair. I was curvy from elementary school on, had stringy hair, oily skin, and was taller than my DAD! I compared myself to them constantly, and society made me feel then like I was less of a person. Not having anyone to compare myself to body-image wise made that a lot harder.

    I hated going into stores like Express after losing weight and finding out that they stop carrying jeans in Tall after a certain size.

    I wish people would be more accepting of people who are different than them. I don’t go around complaining how gross skinny people are mashin’ their bones against one another. Because they have a right to do so and I’m happy for anyone that’s happy.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  15. Kudos to you for speaking out and saying what so many of us are thinking. And thanks for sharing your story so openly.

  16. Oh Amy, your stories are breaking my heart! :( I am so sorry that people can be so cruel…even as kids. Seriously…it baffles me how at a young age people can learn to be so cruel.

    Anyway, I applaud you for writing to the editor. That article absolutely made me ill when I read it. I mean, come on lady…wtf was she thinking? Marie Claire has really dropped the ball in the past month or so with their writers…they should be taking a good hard look at who they are staffing over there, because if they continue in the way that they are now, it isn’t looking good for their subscriptions. If I had a subscription to that magazine, I would certainly be canceling at this point.

  17. When I saw you linked to this article on twitter, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I can’t believe someone / anyone would write something like that. Plus isn’t obesity a big issue in the States? Meaning that there are alot of people who are being discriminated against?

    How odd, so very odd and so horribly wrong. I am sorry Amy you’ve gone through school getting bullied. I mean skinny people could also be very unhealthy : cholesterol, high blood pressure.

    I personally much rather have curves (which believe me I do) than be a stick figure society keeps saying is “beauty”

    I hope they apologize. Because they have no idea how much damage they just caused!

  18. Thank you for writing this! Thank you for your courage and honesty! That MC article disgusted me. I still can’t believe it was published. MC should be ashamed of themselves for promoting such hate. Kids can be so cruel, but so can adults. If the author isn’t fired, she is one lucky lady. Maybe she should take some time off and re-think her hurtful attitude.

    Keep your head up, A.

  19. Ugh. I don’t know if I can say anything that hasn’t already been said here. While I think that everyone should try to be the best they can be, God also made us in God’s image. Thanks for your very personal response. You’re beautiful!

  20. I nearly threw up when I read that article. I read it at the grocery store and literally left my cart for a moment to just calm down. I’m so glad you wrote that letter.

    I was bullyed as a child as well. Kids can be so mean. Thanks for writing about this.

  21. When I was in 6th grade I wore a brand new red sweat suit to school. I got called “the kool aid man”. And all of 8th grade I was called ‘Earthquake’ by one kid. Bullying sticks with you forever. I still don’t like to wear red tops!

    I was disappointed in the editors of Marie Claire for choosing to publish Maura Kelly’s article. It highlighted an attitude that is prevalent today. You can’t be racist against people of different races/cultures without an outcry, you can’t make fun of disabilities without being a horrid person, you can’t say “gay”, but you can make fun of fat people all day long and it’s acceptable.

    No one I know of wants to be fat. And most of us that are are trying in our own way to be more healthy. But it’s easy to get discouraged when people are allowed, or even praised, for talking ugly about someone who is overweight.

    As a fellow “fatty” I understand where you are. Please know that there are so many of us that feel the same. We are people too.

  22. I’m late to the party but still really offended. I can’t believe she would write anything like that and that Marie Claire would publish it.

    Did you see she made an appology at the bottom. I still don’t think it’s right though.

    Hugs!!

  23. Thank you for your honesty and courage. Bravo! People can be so cruel.

  24. I’ve been following your blog for quite a while since finding you on WB. I just wanted to tell you that you are an absolutely gorgeous person, inside and out, and that I find inspiration from your courage to try new things (like sewing) and sharing your struggles with size and life in general with all the web. Thank you for taking a stand and writing this letter. I felt the same way about the article, though I have lacked the courage to say anything except to my husband. Thank you for being a voice that wants to be heard. I hope you are able to gain strength and healing from your readers as you, as all well as all others in the world, deserve to feel safe in every community in which you are living.

  25. This is the first chance I had to read the article and it was 100 times worse than I imagined. How can the author be so insensitive? She says she apologizes but that doesn’t make her initial words sting any less.

    I wish I could jump in a time machine, to where you are standing waiting for the bust and beat the CRAP out of that kid who took your gym bag.

    I was never a small girl and I can relate to your entire post. I’m so glad you wrote to the editor and have the courage to do so!!

    PS – I’m so glad you posted a link to Ashley Falcon, that girl is the bees knees!!!

  26. Just found this post of yours.

    I actually cancelled my subscription to Marie Claire after reading that, whenever it was!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I would like the show even if I wasn’t overweight, but that is neither here nor there).I know someone (aka – I read her blog therefore I want to be her friend) that wrote a letter to the editor. [...]

  2. [...] Anywho, lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a bit of a stage fright in my blogging. I start writing and wonder if y’all will hate me or find me lame. After looking through old entries and thinking about the fundamentals, it made me remember that I blog because it gives ME the warm fuzzies. If people grow to hate me, they can simply unsubscribe, right? It’s not like y’all will throw my gym bag in dog poop…heh. [...]

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  4. [...] woman is amazing. AMAZING. Enough is enough….obese people are people too. We’re definitely more than a number on the [...]

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