An obituary of best-selling author Colleen McCullough that focused on her "plain" looks and weight has sparked a Twitter hashtag of parodies.
McCullough, who died this week at age 77, was best known for the novel "The Thorn Birds," which was made into a film and a miniseries. Before she launched her literary career, she studied neurophysiology and taught at Yale University.
She was the most popular author in her homeland, Australia, but a leading newspaper there opened its obituary with a description that drew cries of sexism.
"Colleen McCullough, Australia's best selling author, was a charmer," the story read.
"Plain of feature, and certainly overweight, she was, nevertheless, a woman of wit and warmth. In one interview, she said: 'I've never been into clothes or figure and the interesting thing is I never had any trouble attracting men.'"
Within a day, the hashtag #fatladyobit had sprung up on Twitter, with send-ups of the Australian's send-off:
The breadth and caliber of her business acumen were only rivaled by that of her business ABDOMEN. which was like, giant. #fatladyobit— Lindsey Toiaivao (@heysoulclassicz) January 30, 2015
In between bites of food that she was constantly shoving into her unsightly mouth, she was somehow able to win a Nobel prize. #FatLadyObit— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) January 30, 2015
"Given her size, the scrubs and face masks she wore while fighting Ebola were the most flattering things she could wear." #FatLadyObit— Jayelle (@GreenEyedLilo) January 30, 2015
The hashtag was started by Seattle-based freelance writer Ijeoma Oluo, who said she couldn't believe her eyes when she first read the obit.
"It thought it was a joke because it was so appallingly offensive," she said. The point of the hashtag, she said, is to show "what it looks like when we write about women this women."
"It took off," she said. "People said it was really cathartic."
The Australian did not immediately respond to a request for comment.