The internet has been buzzing lately over a video of a news woman who responded directly, on air, to a man who wrote an email to her about her weight. Quickly, the newswoman has become a bit of a hero for standing up to this man. The story has become “the bullied standing up to a bully”. I’m not sure I see the story in the same context.
I want to cover some basic information first. I think my own background is important as it directly impacts how I look at this story. I was a fat kid. At times I’ve been a fat adult. I currently have about 25 lbs that need to go in order for me to be at a healthy weight. I’m not unsympathetic to anyone that struggles with their weight. It isn’t easy. The 2nd thing I’d like to let everyone know is that I’ve been bullied. Who hasn’t been at some point in their life? I think for most of us, we stop calling it “bullying” after high school. Roughly, at the age of 18, the word “bully” changes to “asshole”. I haven’t met any bullies as an adult, but I’ve met some real assholes.
There’s no reason to try to act as if I know why the anchorwoman did what she did. What I am writing about today is the fact that she did it. Let’s be honest, the email was written from one person to another. She chose to make the email public information. For what it’s worth, if anyone ever walked up to me, or anyone I knew and said they needed to lose weight, my reaction would want to be to punch them in the face. I get the reaction that everyone has. We’re supposed to be loving and tolerant of everyone, no matter what life choices they make. I get that too. There’s only one problem, someone needs to explain to the people who tell me smoking will kill me.
I don’t feel bullied each time someone points out to me that smoking is bad for my health and there’s a real chance it will be the cause of my death in life. Why don’t I look at it as bullying? I don’t see it as bullying because they are telling me the truth. I don’t like the truth, but it’s the truth none the less. The USA Today had an article back in May (link here) that noted a research study. Here’s a quote taken directly from the USA Today article:
“The similarities between the two public health challenges are compelling. Tobacco use is the nation’s No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing 467,000 people in 2005, according to a landmark study by Harvard University researchers. Being obese or overweight caused an estimated 216,000 deaths from heart disease, diabetes and other conditions, researchers estimated, while another 191,000 deaths resulted from being physically inactive — another key contributor to expanding waistlines.”
So, again, I’ll ask, why is it ok to frown and scoff at me for lighting a cigarette, but it’s not ok to frown and scoff at a 300 lb man as he bites into a triple cheeseburger? Clearly, no one is worried about my feelings, but we have to consider his. While it isn’t on quite the same level as tobacco use yet, obesity is quickly catching up in terms of preventable deaths. Frankly, I think there’s hypocrisy to the whole thing.
I want to make clear my stance on this issue. I think the guy that wrote the email needs to worry about keeping his own house in order. You live your life and let the anchorwoman live hers. I don’t think she needed an email to alert her she’s overweight. If she’s anything like me, she feels that way and knows it about herself every day. Writing her an email just makes him a dick. To the anchorwoman, I also don’t think you get to champion yourself as a defender of the bullied. You’re an adult. Adults say mean things to each other. I think connecting the dots to turn this into some anti bully campaign is weak at best. If the guy sent that email to a 13-year-old girl, who doesn’t have life experience and is ill-equipped to take it, then yes you have a bullying story. In this case, I think you’re stretching because you wanted to use the power of the television to rip into the guy that wrote the email.
I caution everyone else to be careful about what you’re outraged about. Do you show the same love for the anchorwoman as you would for me? Do we deserve the same respect and outpour of support? Or is it that you can relate to her and that makes her sympathetic?
The moral of the story is, bad life choices are bad life choices no matter how you want to justify them.
What do you think? Is the anchorwoman bullied and did the right thing or should there be more conversation or should we check our feelings and have a real conversation about obesity? Let me know in the comments section