I happened across a video on Facebook the other night of a CBS news anchor’s public reaction to an email she’d received from a viewer about her weight. You can find the video here. This is what the viewer said in his email to Jennifer, the anchor:
Re: “Community Responsibility”
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 a person can maintain. I leave you this note hoping you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”
What bothers me most about this situation isn’t even that the viewer pointed out her weight, which is really none of his business in the first place, but rather that he insinuated that she cannot be a positive role model to young women in her community solely based on the number she sees on the scale each morning. There is something seriously wrong with a society that looks up to people based on how attractive they are, that believes overweight individuals cannot be role models. The fact that the viewer, and people like him, think that someone is an unsuitable role model simply based on how much space they happen to take up is completely unacceptable.
Good health is not purely measured by the scale. There are so many factors that go into how healthy an individual is: blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking habits, diet. I have to wonder if the viewer would have said the same thing if it had been a larger (but otherwise healthy) man? What about a woman who was thin and beautiful but suffered from high cholesterol levels, was a smoker, and had an alcohol problem? Probably not. And that’s just sad.
Here was my initial reaction to the video I saw on Facebook:
What other people think about your weight, the color of your skin, the religion you follow, or anything else for that matter is more a reflection on THEM than it is on you. This amazing, talented news anchor is absolutely right in that negativity, hatred, and discrimination are LEARNED behaviors and they need to stop.
As a mother, I strive to teach my daughter about the qualities that matter. I hope that she will look up to people who are honest, who are fair, who do the right thing no matter what, who are good, who have compassion, who love this planet. I hope that she will see beyond outward appearance and realize that true beauty really does come from within.