Feminist Friday: Jennifer Livingston

The above video made the rounds on the internet last week, so it’s slightly old news, but it’s so great that I had to share it again.

For those of you who missed this one, a news anchor at a Wisconsin CBS station received a snarky letter from a viewer criticizing her for her weight. Not for her reporting skills, not for a story she presented, but her appearance. Which has no bearing on whether or not she is capable of doing her job of delivering news accurately.

Rather than being ashamed, Livingston went on the air and addressed the comment publicly, called the viewer out as a bully, and talked about the negative consequences that weight discrimination can have on children.

For all the fearmongering about obesity in this country, there is also a high rate of eating disorders, particularly among young women. And even thin people, when surrounded by a culture that denigrates fat people, are affected by size-negative messages. Being bombarded by magazines and television that claim you can never be too thin gets into your consciousness and wears down your self-esteem. We need more women like Jennifer Livingston, who are willing to call out bullies and create space in the world for confidence.

People don’t have to be thin to be healthy. Discovering the Health at Every Size community in 2008 was key to me shaking off negative images, and to ignoring toxic media claiming I would never be good enough. We don’t need more weight shame in this country. We need to learn how to be healthy, love ourselves, and welcome a diversity of shapes.

One thought on “Feminist Friday: Jennifer Livingston

  1. Thank you for posting, Allyson; I was unaware of this news item.
    We need more people like Ms. Livingston to stand up to the judgmental bullies of the world. If her comments make only one person change his or her behavior it will be a triumph.

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