News anchor Jennifer Livingston’s response to a nasty, judgmental email she received, criticizing her for her weight, was bold. On her TV show, she called out the act as one of cyber bullying. Growing up, I didn’t have to deal with getting bullied online as well as in school. I feel especially bad for kids today for that reason.
I am a big fan of The Fat Nutritionist, a website that is linked to at the bottom of the post on this subject on Upworthy. The eponymous blogger teaches people to eat socially again, both for the cues we give and take about the food we eat, and to make normal again an act that we all must do, and most of us do several times a day and with little thought. When I was in high school, I was among the weird kids and outcasts who would take refuge during the lunch hour in a kind English teacher’s classroom. In the heydey of “The Breakfast Club,” we were a real “Lunch Club,” each of us with his or her own reason for avoiding the cafeteria. One reason to avoid eating in front of other people is because people, maybe starting with your parents, in fact, probably them first, would scrutinize what you ate, how much, and as you ate it quickly and nervously, how fast you ate it. The judgment. If your lunch was wholesome, your diet holy, then disbelief. It was regarded as a “lifestyle choice,” for sure, and though I was startled to hear Jennifer Livingston, the news anchor, say “skin color” right after “struggling with your weight” in her exhortation to the bullied, she is correct. No one in this fatphobic culture chooses to be fat. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being fat (which always surprises people to learn, but it’s true). And attempts to change this fact about oneself are usually not effective or long-lasting.