The Big Fat Kiss-In, Fat People on Television, and the Epic Marie Claire Fail (Part 2 of 2)

I first found out about the Marie Claire blog article on Thursday morning from a friend of mine, who sent me a link to it and asked, “Have you seen this shit?” As soon as I read it, my first reaction was anger and disgust, but not really surprise. My second reaction was to note how poorly written it was. An entire paragraph in parentheses? Careening wildly from statement to statement without attempting actually to support any of them?  Grossly oversimplifying complex issues in order to support her own bigotry?  Even half an hour of internet research, had she cared to do it, would have shown Maura not only that her points are unsupportable, but also that if she really does want fat people to lose weight, what she was about to do (extreme body-shaming) has actually been shown to work AGAINST that goal. This thing would not have passed muster with any of my high school English teachers, much less the freshman comp instructors at the public university I went to. Is this really how they taught Maura to write at Dartmouth?

My next reaction was to turn to my boyfriend and declare, “You know what should happen? A whole bunch of fat couples should go stand on Maura’s front lawn and make out.” I bet thousands of other people had the same idea. But Marilyn Wann, Substantia Jones, Aris K. Manhattan, Sandy Schaffer, and Stacy Bias did more than think of it. They planned it, and it happened.  And that was the Big Fat Kiss-In, which happened Friday night in front of the Hearst building in Manhattan and a handful of other Hearst buildings in other cities.

There are links to much better photographs on the event’s Facebook page. But for what it’s worth, here are some of the ones I took with my very low-tech camera:

It was extremely empowering to attend an event like this one, but it’s important that this not be the end. The attention span of Americans is famously short—something bad happens, everybody freaks out, and a week later we’ve moved on to other things. It’s important that we not let this one drop. Here’s how Josh Shahryar at Huff Post put it:

…I urge everyone who finds size-ism in the media as a menace to view this as a watershed moment. It’s time to come together and fight this bigotry to the bitter end. Change does not come without someone pushing for it. If we want this to change, if we want for us, overweight or not, to not be judged by our BMI, we need to not let this fire die down.

We need to stand up and demand change. Even if it means we need to force the issue daily on social networking sites. Even if it means we have to boycott media that continue to practice this bigotry. Even if it means we have to hold peaceful demonstrations for the end of this practice. If media does not change, we cannot change this culture that seems to have been forever marginalizing overweight people.

I found out about the Big Fat Kiss-In over my lunch hour on Friday.  (Let me tell you, if I had known I’d be part of a public protest later that day, I would have worked a lot harder on my hair that morning!)  Fortunately, I work in Manhattan and my boyfriend works from our home in Queens, so we could get there easily without much advance planning.  From some of the posts to the event page on Facebook, it’s clear that many more people would have attended if they had more time to plan.  Here’s hoping Friday’s event was just the first in a series of similar protests, and that the folks who could only be with us in spirit can stand up right beside us next time.

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One Response to “The Big Fat Kiss-In, Fat People on Television, and the Epic Marie Claire Fail (Part 2 of 2)”

  1. Jeanette Says:

    If I ever saw Maura Kelly, I’d probably bacon fat at her. And then I’d be arrested, so lets hope I never see her.

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