Other People’s Opinions and Jennifer Livingston

We all know the story by now. A newscaster receives an email from a viewer saying she is fat and her out for setting a poor public example so she responds on air and boom – viral. The fact that it’s National Bully Prevention Month only lends to the conversation.

Here’s the statement from Kenneth Krause that kicked off the media frenzy:

“It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years. 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. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”

A few points you should be aware of:

* I personally think Jennifer Livingston is a beautiful example of positive self-image, regardless of the number on her scale.
The viewer who sent the email calling Jennifer fat stands by his original statement.
* There is some discussion as to whether or not this exchange was bullying or not. I’m not sure if is or not, but going out of one’s way to point out to a perfect stranger that you think they need to go on a diet seems a bit, well, sanctimonious at best.
* As to obesity being a choice: For some, maybe it is. I’m not here to judge. I’m just here to point out that many people are born with this stuff called DNA and sometimes that biological mish-mosh that makes us us also makes us have blonde hair when our parents were really hoping for red or gay when the homophobic asshole across the street decides to point out how we had a choice and made the wrong one. Sometimrs there are medical conditions and mental and emotional issues And sometimes — hold on to your pants, folks — sometimes we are even born short or tall or thin or fat or average or socially acceptable in every way and sometimes we aren’t. And sometimes we hit send on an email to a public figure calling her fat and point fingers saying she’s the one who made a choice when the choice was really ours to begin with when we decided to take the conversation public.

But none of that matters, now, does it? Today it’s Kenneth Krause. Tomorrow it might be your mother-in-law with an off-hand comment about that second cupcake at the birthday party or the neighbor who had the gall to come home from the hospital with her newborn and wearing her pre-pregnancy jeans. It all boils down to you and your own perceptions of the body you see in the mirror.

That’s why I try to focus less on what Other People think because Society Sucks Sometimes and more on the Inside of My Head and Making it a Happier Place. So I play around on the iPhone and create things like this:

And for the record, I’m not calling Kevin Krause (or my mother-in-law) an asshole. I’m just saying it’s not their eyes that matter when I’m dealing with my issues and body image. That’s all on me.

What do you think?

Update: Kenneth Krause has backed down and apologized for his remarks, revealing he was obese as a child.

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