Why I Just Cancelled My Marie Claire Subscription

Dear Lovelies,

Earlier this afternoon, something disturbing was brought to my attention that I feel very strongly about and I wanted to share it with you.  There’s currently an article (if you want to call it that) on MarieClaire.com titled Should “Fatties” Get a Room? (Even on TV?) I’m all about free speech—but in this day and age I’ve come to expect more from a major women’s magazine that I subscribe to.  What their resident blogger published was completely insensitive and tasteless.  If Maura Kelly published this piece to create controversy—clearly she’s going to accomplish that.  But in doing so, she’s made herself look like an idiot.  Thanks for taking me back to 1991 Maura, to the land of Mean Girls in high school that make themselves feel better at the expense of other people.  This is something I’ve come to expect when reading an 8th grader’s Myspace blog, not Marie Claire:

So anyway, yes, 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 heroine addict slumping in a chair.

As a blogger in an industry that is literally obsessed with beauty (Umm hi, my name is Amber and I’m a beauty junkie), I would never in my wildest dreams set out to make anyone feel badly.  And if I ever do that, kindly let me know because it’s not my intention and if I’m doing it—I’m clearly failing at my goal of sharing how fun (or not fun) these products can be.  But this is just blatant irresponsibility on Marie Claire’s behalf, who approved that?  I could go on and on here because believe me, I’M FURIOUS about this and my blood is boiling.  But I think we need to expect more from publications and let them know that this isn’t what we’re paying to read.  Granted, you don’t pay to read marieclaire.com, but I refuse to throw my money at someone who thinks this kind of garbage is okay.  I cancelled my subscription and I’ll be receiving a refund for my remaining issues.  If you choose to do the same, you can log on to marieclaire.com and cancel your subscription via their customer service link at the top of the page.  I don’t care if you’re a size 0 or a 20, if you’re offended and refuse to support this kind of journalism I ask that you let them know how unacceptable this is.  Just say no to this kind of ignorance.


Edited to add (10/29): After having several days to process this information, I really need to point out that it’s not even the fact that Maura is choosing obesity itself as her bone to pick that angers me so much.  (But I still find it completely tasteless and unacceptable.)  It’s the fact that in this day and age—she would choose to broadcast a hateful, bigoted message about ANY group of people at all.  If you strip away the whole “fat people disgust me and I can’t even look at them” overtone, there is still a message of hate and intolerance.  Replace “fatties” with “people with horns growing out of their heads” and I still find it just as ridiculous.  I cannot comprehend why anyone would choose to transmit such repulsive commentary—and even more so, close it with “Do you think I’m being an insensitive jerk?” That alone shows me that she knew this was an sensitive issue to begin with and that it was going to spark ire, and that perhaps she was misinformed.  She’s not coming from a place of concern, she’s not a medical professional or weight loss expert.  She’s just someone given a voice by the Hearst Corporation spewing an acrimonious opinion.  News anchors, politicians, and school teachers have been fired and practically burned at the stake for less.  Everyone is most certainly entitled to have an opinion, but I still feel that Maura’s piece was malicious, absurd, and pointless.  Marie Claire’s Editor-in-Chief, Joanna Coles has since responded to this controversy and states:

Maura Kelly is a very provocative blogger, she was an anorexic herself and this is a subject she feels very strongly about.

It’s insulting to me that her editors feel that since she’s a former anorexic that she has the authority to offer condescending weight loss advice to a significant portion of their readership.  But in all honesty, what I find the most offensive is that she infers a group of people unlike herself are basically bottom dwellers because she finds them difficult to look at.  This suggests a theory that someone is not to be considered “normal” since they don’t fit her ideal proportions.  That’s what really troubles me.  And even more bothersome is that a major media corporation with an incredible audience reach allows this kind of message to be broadcast and then act so cavalier when their readers confront them.  And that’s where I stand.  I also want to share two pieces I’ve read this week from other bloggers: Dear Maura Kelly: I Love Myself Even If You Don’t (Style It), and Dear Maura Kelly and Marie Claire (Manolo For The Big Girl).

  • dilara

    I am totally disgusted and disappointed in Marie Claire. I have been a subscriber for years and years and as a matter of fact, my renewal card came in the mail the other day. I fully intend on canceling my subscription, but I am going to do it over the phone so they know exactly why.

  • http://theresaannblog.tumblr.com Theresa

    I feel that the fact that Marie Claire tried to rationalize such a bigoted opinion by stating that the writer used to be anorexic is a completely other issue. Yes she has an obscure opinion of her own body and possibly others but that is her psychological problem that she will have to deal with everyday not an excuse for her to be an insensitive snob. This should be pulled immediately and a sincere apology issued.

  • Becca

    I know this is old news, but I wanted to comment anyway. Have you ever noticed the volume of snide remarks about weight that are worked into virtually every issue of Marie Claire? You can be reading an article about somebody suffering from a rare genetic disorder, and somehow they’ll find a way to subtly imply that you, the reader, are unattractive if you are overweight. They must have a posse of catty 16 year old girls interning for them or something. I definitely don’t support what that blogger wrote, but being that she works for Marie Claire, I can’t honestly say that I’m surprised by it.

  • Amber

    Hi Becca,

    I know many people feel similar to you, as they’ve echoed your sentiments. I admit, I really loved the monthly feature by Ashley Falcon, Big Girl In a Skinny World each month and often looked forward to reading it. If I miss anything at all, it’s that. The catty articles though, I don’t miss them one bit! In fact, now that my subscription has stopped—I rarely give Marie Claire a second thought!

  • http://shopmystash.blogspot.com femputer

    Hi Amber. I’m late to the game as well, but I wanted to comment on this anyway, and I’m kind of surprised you haven’t got more of a reaction, really.

    Another blogger I read wrote a great post on this as well.

    I’m just incensed over it. I can’t believe they would publish something so hateful, so MEAN. I wouldn’t be surprised if their readership has dropped a ton since this. It’s long stopped being okay to talk about people of other races in such a demeaning manner, why in the world would they think it’d be okay to talk about people of a certain weight like that?? So ridiculous and senseless.

    I applaud you for taking a stand on this and cancelling your sub. Had I been subscribed to Marie Claire before they published this, you can bet I would have too.

  • Amber

    Hi Femputer,

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and for telling me about the post! This whole situation is just really saddening, isn’t it? Hopefully they’ve learned something from the whole experience.

    :) Amber