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More thoughts on bullies – even ones who come in pretty clothes.

Posted in Awareness, Voices on Thursday, October 28th, 2010 by Kelly - 4 Comments


Last week I wrote a blog post about bullying. It started with a quote that I read:

“Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.” ~Benjamin Disraeli

I asked the bullies:

What are you afraid of?

I asked that because if you have to bully someone, you’ve got to be afraid of something big in yourself or something that you don’t understand  – or you wouldn’t be putting up all that smoke.

Yesterday, I was sent a link to a blog post in Marie Claire written by a young woman named Maura Kelly who is a recovering anorexic. Now I am not a big reader of women’s fashion magazines, so this one would have gone by unnoticed without the help of one of the readers of this blog.

Here is some of what she said about TV characters that are overweight:

“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 displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room.”

She goes on to say much more if you want to read the entire post at: 

Take the words overweight, fat, and obese and replace them with gay, lesbian and transgendered and you have the essence of the bigoted arguments across this country against the LGBT community. Or we could even add in the words being HIV positive.

Here are some of Maura Kelly’s words about people of size with a fews substitutions highlighted:

“Now, don’t go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called gay I’m not some homophobic jerk.”

“I think homosexuality is something that most people have a ton of control over. It’s something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.”

“I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters who were HIV positive … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything.”

Sounds hauntingly familiar doesn’t it? I am sure there are a lot of groups that could be singled out using her choice of words and intent.

Yes, Maura Kelly is a bully by the very nature of the definition. She uses her words and actions to intimidate others and she is hiding behind her “right” to express her opinion to defend her intimidation. Her target this time in a national publication was people she perceived as different, people who were overweight.

We can’t stop bullying if we allow it in any form or at any target. I maintain the root of bullying is fear and fear blocks our ability to see or treat someone different with kindness or compassion. Are we afraid because we perceive someone is smarter than us, someone looks different, or someone has a different religion or culture?

I work everyday with HIV positive people who are afraid of others finding out about their status. I think we all know what they are afraid about.  It comes in the shape of bloggers in national magazines who wear pretty clothes and in too many others.

Just because I work equally hard every day to keep my body in good shape, it doesn’t mean that I have a right to exert some perceived superiority over those whose Body Mass Index is greater than mine.  Yet, this kind of bullying is obviously happening on a national scale and Marie Claire magazine certainly endorses it. Is it any different than the bullying that goes on against the gay or HIV communities?

As a Dad, I want to make things better, but this problem is more than I know what to do with. All I can do is to talk about it and keep talking about it.

Face your own fears and stop the bullying!

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4 Responses to “More thoughts on bullies – even ones who come in pretty clothes.”

  • Great blog post. Appreciate it.

  • cody says:

    Bullying gets out of hand when it affects you. We’re all sensitive to ourselves and our situation. We miss it when it affects someone else.

  • Chaz Sernet says:

    Wow,I am blown away. This is really thought provoking. Bullying seems to start from such an innocuous place and then it gets out of hand.

  • MIDO says:

    I’m 26 yo gay man from the bay area. I’m shocked to read this horrible magazine article. Seriously, I think we have a lot of work to do to improve ourselves as human. Thank you for the posts, I enjoy reading them!

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