Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

How did she do with her response to fat shaming?

Asked by wundayatta (58367 points ) October 3rd, 2012

A news announcer in Wisconsin was sent an anonymous email telling her she was obese and she should do something to become a better role model for girls. What do you think of her response?

Do news anchors have a duty to be thin as her critic suggested? Why do you think he really made that suggestion? What was his hidden motivation?

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25 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I think she would have done better by not answering the troll at all.

But then I never would have heard of her, she looks great to me. I get tired of all the empty headed artificial talking heads. It is nice to see a real human doing the news once in a while.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I think he was being a bully, trying to make himself feel better by cutting down someone else. I’m glad she defended herself, and her response is very good.

Kayak8's avatar

For the sake of kids bullied about their weight (or any other untenable reason), I think it was great that she didn’t just let it go by. I also appreciated that she indicated she and her husband received an overwhelming number of positive comments to offset the idiocy of a limited viewer thinking he could target her and get away with it.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

News anchors or anyone else for that matter, they don’t have a duty to anyone to be thin for the sake of everyone else. I’m pretty impressed by her response to be honest – and if that were me, I would have said the same damn thing and not wanted to change it. The truth is, I’m naturally slim (if there is such a thing as naturally slim), but I know some people do struggle with obesity (my Mother and my stepfather being two such people, they’ve never been slim for as long as I can remember) so I’m pretty surprised at the kind of message one idiot decides to send to her (how is being slim a social responsibility ffs?), but yes…impressed that she would say that..that said some of the comments you can see on that website leave a little to be desired. Obesity is not always a choice, it’s a case of tough luck and hard work to get to be thin. Can’t help but respect someone who isn’t afraid of speaking up for herself, on television no less.

Blackberry's avatar

That was awesome.

SuperMouse's avatar

I think she did a fabulous job. I was impressed with her composure and the fact that she took the opportunity to speak out against bullying.

I don’t think anyone has a responsibility to anyone else to be thin. It is a matter of personal freedom and choice. If she does her job according to her contract, brings in satisfactory ratings and makes her bosses money, she is doing just fine. Her weight is between her and her doctor. I don’t think the guy who wrote the note had any motivation except to be nasty.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@SuperMouse Yes, so true. That would be saying that we have a responsibility to society to be pretty, or healthy. Some people just aren’t, and that’s okay. Everyone is worthwhile, and everyone has talents and abilities, we just don’t all have the same talents and abilities. I might not have a weight problem, but I would be a terrible news anchor.

Bellatrix's avatar

Good on her for standing up for herself and I have to say kudos to the station who employs her and hasn’t given in to the demand to employ skinny, pretty but talentless news readers/anchors. Over here women have been fired because they aged let alone put on a few pounds. Shameful. Men, on the other hand, are revered as experienced news people as they age.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thank you for sharing the link. Ms. Livingston did an outstanding job of taking a personal topic and turning it into a public message for the viewing community.

News anchors do not have a responsibility, in my opinion, to appear stunning in their natural physical appearance. It seems like the US, more than other countries, puts pressure on appearance. I don’t know if this comes with the job or feedback from the audience. I watch news reports from other countries, and the anchors don’t look like Stepford people like the US has.

Who knows why the anonymous person behind the e-mail sent this. Perhaps a troll, as @WestRiverrat suggests. Maybe it is a person with weight/appearance issues. It could be from a person that lost the anchor job to her. We may never know.

P.S. Do you know that it was a male that wrote the message? I didn’t see that in the article or video. Possibly, I missed it.

bkcunningham's avatar

Her husband is the evening news director or some high ranking official at the network. He is the one who got the ball rolling by posting the letter on his FB page. I give her husband lots of credit. I wonder how this would have turned out if she didn’t have his behind the scenes support in an industry that is know to cater to good looking slender anchors? I say, “Way to go! You look fabulous!”

augustlan's avatar

I’m pretty sure that the email wasn’t actually anonymous, but that her husband and she didn’t share the name of the person who sent it. (So they know it’s from a male.) I thought she, her husband and the station all handled it beautifully.

As to the sender’s motivation, what is anyone’s motivation for saying things like this, whether it be in person or on the internet? Why do people insist on telling people they’re fat, or that smoking is bad for them? Do they honestly think the person doesn’t already know? They are dicks.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I thought she did a great job.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

She is a class act.
She is also eloquent and very right about bullies trying to make people do what the the bully thinks is “right”.

CWOTUS's avatar

I must have missed something.

He stated a fact: “you’re fat” and suggested that she ought to do something about that “as a role model”. Well, the suggestion was probably superfluous; I’m sure that she has tried at times to “do something” about her weight. Most of us who are overweight (I sure am) do “something” from time to time, however half-hearted. Obviously, too, she knows that she’s fat. No surprises.

He didn’t say anything in a mean way, or make any other assumptions or aspersions about her character or lack of, did he?

He said “you’re fat” and “I’m surprised you haven’t done something [effective] to remedy that.” He didn’t say, “You’re fat… and because of that you’re ugly” or “you’re stupid” or “you’re a bad person”. (Well, he did suggest that she’s a bad role model, and I guess if she were a phys ed teacher that might be a more cogent observation. So it’s kind of a stretch to say that she’s a “bad role model” just because she’s overweight.)

Where, exactly, was the bullying? It was also said in a private email, she said (or suggested); it’s not like he made his statement in a public forum.

I think this is actually a hyper-sensitive reaction to “perceived” bullying. I do like that she related her experience to kids, and made it more than just about her, but what happens to kids on playgrounds and school buses coast to coast is in no way comparable to “an unpleasant, factual email with a useless suggestion”. What happens to kids from other kids is far worse, more often than not. And they gang up. She’s liable to turn into the bully in this case as she recruits people to her alleged cause against a straw man bully.

So. I think it was an over-the-top reaction of feigned outrage. She’s fat. She really ought to do something about that. (I’m fat, too, and so should I.) Where’s the foul here?

filmfann's avatar

I don’t believe this woman for a minute when she says that the man’s words weren’t hurtful to her.
People who think they can just point out others flaws without regard to that persons feelings baffle me.
That woman is hardly Honey Boo Boo.

Pandora's avatar

In an interview this morning she said that she has gotten letters like this before but what struck a cord with her was that he said she was an unfit role model to young girls and that she had 3 daughters herself. No one likes to be called a bad mom which was pretty much what he was saying even if he didn’t know she had daughters of her own. It is bullying. Why would he feel he has to make such a personal statement to her if not to make her feel bad. I can understand if she was sitting on the station floor stuffing her face with cake every night as she broadcast the news or even to pick on her because you felt she was lousy at her job, but her weight is not what is making young American girls decide to be overweight. I haven’t met a teen girl yet who looks at an overweight person on tv and says that they want to put on weight and be like the big girl on tv. No, they point to the girl who’s ribs pop through her shirt and say they want to be her, or the girl with the big plastic boobs or nose job.
True role models on tv may not aid those girls who are overweight but I see nothing wrong in self acceptance. With self acceptance than one can learn to love themselves to change. The skinny girls just encourage girls to vomit or change everything that makes you, you to fit into societies glass slipper.
I’m glad she spoke up. I think it sets a excellent example for girls who are belittled and made to feel like they aren’t perfect the way they are.
As for the guy I heard he is a lawyer. Must not be a good lawyer if he has time to offend someone he doesn’t know or according to him doesn’t even watch on tv. He doesn’t know why she is overweight. Maybe with 3 kids a husband and a full time career that probably has long hours she doesn’t have time to hit the gym or watch everything she eats. Or maybe its even a physical thing. If he doesn’t like the way she looks than he can simply change the channel.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

“Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain.”

Maybe it is perceived bullying but in my eyes, I can see this as being pretty damning for anyone who reads it given their weight as an issue.
Who is the author of this note to say that it is a choice? Who is this person to say they know all the ins and outs and pros and cons of obesity?
The author of said note might as well have said,“Too bad you chose to be a fat mess, it will kill you, and you suck as a person to all the little girls in the world.” So yeah it’s perceived I guess, but at what point does someone turn around and say this is just an unfortunate truth based on the wording of that note, and at what point does someone say it’s actually something that could be considered bullying?

ZEPHYRA's avatar

What would he have said had she been anorexically thin? Some people have nothing better to do and I guess the viewer in question has obviously solved all his personal problems!

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Probably “It’s your responsibility to society to not be anorexic.” – at which point I would sincerely hope the author of that note was probably on the boot list of any right thinking person.

KNOWITALL's avatar

It was incredibly rude of the person to email such negativity, but as a public personality, she signed up for that kind of thing.

We’ve all seen overweight dr’s, nurses and RN’s at hospital, so how are they good examples, espcially in the medical field?

I would say it’s more to the media personalities benefit, financially, to be thin and popular rather than a health reason or shaming.

As well, as my dr told me a few years ago when I was heavier, it’s better to be a little chubby and healthy than the alternative (i.e. anorexic, bulemic, starving yourself, etc…)

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

I doubt she signed up for that, she’s a newscaster not some talk show host. Now that would have been a different story. It would probably have been treated as some kind of run-of-the-mill thing and probably wouldn’t have been given a second look by any website if she was.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

For those that don’t see this as a message from a bully or troll, I’d like to share some thoughts.

Let’s say that the e-mail was sent by someone truly concerned about the influence that this newscaster in La Cross, Wisconsin, USA, has. The person does not think it is a suitable example for the community’s youth. This is assuming that the community’s youth watches this news channel.

The goal of the message would seem to be “Please lose some weight, go into radio announcing, or quit. We look upon you as a role model. Your size may encourage others that is okay to be overweight.” There are rude ways to get this message across as well as kind ones. If the e-mail author really wanted Ms. Livingston to take the message to heart, this wasn’t the way to go about it.

It’s a one-way form of communication. It didn’t allow Ms. Livingston to provide any discussion. It was cowardly of the author not to post their name and provide contact information. There are few people that a message like this one would generate motivation to make a personal change. A sincere intent may have been behind this message, but the effect is shown in the article. It backfired.

Shippy's avatar

It’s all nonsense this fat thin, thing. I was on medications that made me “weighty” at one point. During that time, I went to gym daily, I ate correct foods and felt really well. But the weight would not shift. So for a person to call me unhealthy? You also get thin unhealthy people with high cholestral, etc., Or thin people who eat fatty foods. Too many variations to mention. But we do all have a responsibility to ourselves to maintain health, whether we are large or small.

Symbeline's avatar

The job of a reporter/announcer is to deliver the news. Who cares what they look like. Skinny, fat…as long as they don’t have a Swastika tattooed on their forehead or something. I don’t agree for a goddamn second about any of what that ass sack wrote in the e-mail. One does not negate the values of the community spirit by being overweight. What’s his problem? If I was her I wouldn’t even have replied to that crap. While I personally don’t think any of this belongs on a news broadcast, she has the right to defend herself if the attack was visible by many. Maybe some of the community spirit gets dramatic at times, but I applaud her for her maturity on the attack, and most of all, how constructive her speech was.

KNOWITALL's avatar

People have been fired in major media because of appearance, weight gain, personal life disasters, etc… In the public eye you are subject to the opinion of the majority of the public. It is what it is and we all know that when we sign up for media careers. It may even be part of a contract for employment for some.

I still agree the writer was an ass-sack though.

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