Jennifer Livingston Fights Weight Criticism-REPOST OF OCT 3, 2012 SPARK POST

Did HE really just call HER fat?

Combing through the morning news, I came across this video of a La Crosse, Wisconsin news anchor named Jennifer Livingston. Jennifer received an email by a local unidentified man, making comments on her weight, and implying that as a woman and a local news celebrity she has a responsibility to be an example for the “community’s young people, girls in particular.”

As I was picking my jaw up from the floor while watching this, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I wondered what this local man looks like and more importantly why he thought he could give such an opinion? Who does HE think HE is? I immediately thought of the Judith Lorber piece where she states, “In Western society, “man” is A, “wo-man” is Not-A.” Great. That must be it. Because he possesses a male gender he is entitled to speak his mind at will, to give his opinion on a woman he doesn’t even know. Would he have sent the same email to a male news anchor? Probably not.

This is why women are scrutinized for ageing, or not being able to “get rid” of pregnancy weight. Trying to control our bodies, to reach some sort of elusive attractiveness that has been defined by men is a battle we cannot win. When we define what attractive is to us, we become “A.”

In the end, he tried used her local celebrity as a tool to publicaly degrade her and she adeptly utilized her local celebrity to teach him a lesson on bullying. Well done, Jennifer, well done.

Lorber, Judith. “The Social Construction of Gender.” Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2006. 116. Print. Ser. 2006.

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About ctr0605

GSWS G&S Fall 2012
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One Response to Jennifer Livingston Fights Weight Criticism-REPOST OF OCT 3, 2012 SPARK POST

  1. anneweis20 says:

    While I agree that Jennifer Livingston deserves praise for drawing attention to her story, and for standing up to her bully, I also think that she missed an important opportunity to send out the message that there are many different types of healthy bodies. She responded to the man who called her fat by saying that she is trying to lose weight, not that she is a happy, healthy, and fully functioning member of society despite the fact that she may be perceived as overweight. By repeatedly saying that she is trying to lose weight, and by outlining the ways in which she is seeking to do so, Jennifer and her husband actually reinforce her bully’s point of view that you must be thin to be happy, healthy, and a good role model. Instead of combatting negative stereotypes, Jennifer is seeking to conform to them.

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