Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CBS News Anchor Talks about Bullying On-Air

This is anchorwoman Jennifer Livingston of the CBS affiliate WKBT in LA Crosse, Wisconsin. In this video she confronts a cyber-bully who sent her an email telling her she was no role model because she was "obese." The man talked only about her looks, her outward appearance, she says in this video, and not about what is inside her.  She reminds us that October is Anti-Bullying Month and she reaches out to all kids who might be bullied because of their size, sexual preference, disability, etc. She encourages them to reject their bullies' definitions of them.

I love that her approach is nether strident nor a plea for acceptance.  She is frank and honest and sharp in her words.  She does not become an "emotional female" when discussing her weight; in fact, she does not discuss her weight at all. That is exactly her point: her weight is not a topic of discussion or speculation for anyone outside her family or circle of friends. Case closed.

Another very good point she makes is that attitudes like this have a trickle down effect.  When someone in your household voices the opinion that fat people are bad (or gay people are bad or the disabled, and so on), then the members of that household internalize the opinion and take it away with them.  They might go to school and see someone who is overweight, call them fat, call them bad. She turns the tables on her cyber-bully and tells him that he is no role model if this is how he talks about other people.

Like most women, I am sensitive to weight(y) issues and I am always watching certain industries in which women's weight is particularly noted, like on-air journalism, acting, modeling, and so on. I'd like to believe my characters in FAT GIRLS IN LA would respond like Jennifer Livingston does.  She not only takes the high road with dignity but delivers her message to everyone, not just her bully.