Don’t Be Silent!

There seems to be a common practice of instilling silence on the oppressed in society. This tactic normally comes from the privileged classes and the privileged classes do not want to hear about oppression; they would rather live in their own fantasy world. Where people are happy, bullying never happens – if it does, well, to bad – and they get rewards without so much as lifting a finger. Life is easy for the privileged, sipping on lemonade. A nice life from what I have heard. But if those oppressed classes ever dare to speak up for themselves then everything is Hell for the privileged, the sky falls on their coiffed heads and other horrible disasters. That is what happened when Jennifer Livingston dared to fight back against her oppressor for his (assuming the letter writer is male) comments about her weight. Few days afterward, a privileged white dude decides that it is perfectly justifiable to bully an fat woman because HOW DARE SHE EXIST?!? Let us take a look at this dude’s ridiculous article.

First, he goes by suggesting that he PERSONALLY believes that an obese woman should never EVER speak up for herself when her person is attacked by a shallow viewer.

A television personality from Wisconsin is receiving acclaim from around the nation for allegedly standing up to a “bully” viewer who wrote an email mildly disparaging her weight and physical appearance, but is all of the praise warranted? I don’t think so.

Let’s have a read of this letter, shall we?

Hi Jennifer,

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 to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Well, I don’t think it takes a complicated math equation to comprehend that this is in fact bullying. This author of this letter does not seem to understand that in most cases obesity is not a choice at all and that fat women shouldn’t give two shits if they are considered unfuckable under patriarchy. Because it is by popular opinion that white dudes are always right! They know exactly how to handle all situations involving violence of multiple kinds, right? RIGHT? I enjoy how this dude puts bully in scare quotes as though the writer of letter wasn’t bullying anyone! I mean, it’s not like making comments like “your appearance is a bad example for our children” or “being fat is a dangerous choice” is not bullying or hurtful at all! The dude continues to share his lovely male wisdom:

I disagree with the general consensus in the media and among the left that this message is “bullying.” Terse, rude, arrogant, self-righteous? Absolutely, but the comments are not of a bullying nature. The word bullying is defined as:

Use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants

The email is not attempting to intimidate Livingston. It makes no mention of forcing her to do anything. The viewer is merely offering a singular opinion, one of which that exists out of millions of opinions. There is not an attempt to use any form of “strength” to influence Livingston. In fact she gave her viewer’s opinion strength by elevating it.

My, this dude is SO intelligent! He must have been too busy doing dudely things to notice the VERY important details in the letter such as “I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.” That is not “forcing somebody to do what one wants”? Oh and I love the Liberal tactic of “opinion” as if the unnecessary and cruel comments about her weight being the defining indicator of Livingston’s character were just “opinions.” I suppose if he had a daughter who had an eating disorder that he would use the same tactic on her? That those people who pushed her to diet excessively were just expressing their “opinion”? I would like to know how exactly fighting back against her oppressor somehow equals “strengthening the viewer’s opinion.” Did he honestly expect her to stay silent? Dude continues to spew:

During Livingston’s rant she claims to have “thick skin”, but that is clearly not true. If her skin was so thick she would have paid no attention to the comments and went about her day. I would be extremely surprised to find that this is the first comment made about Livingston’s weight, considering she has been on the air for a number of years. She also claims to “not care” about this message, but instead wants to talk to children who are actually bullied — and that is admirable.

However, bullying that happens at school is far more vicious and traumatizing, and in many instances fatal, than a viewer urging a public personality to lose weight. In fact the two scenarios are not even in the same galaxy in terms of offensiveness or impact. If the message jared Livingston so much, perhaps she is in the wrong profession.

I wonder what this dude’s theory is on street harassment and sexual assault? It’s only traumatizing when it happens to kids but not fully grown women? Does this dude even wonder for one second that he might be wrong? That men abuse women through raping them, starving them and intimidating them? Has that not crossed his mind at all? You cannot expect women to have “thick skin” in Patriarchy especially when their bodies are constantly under attack by men through various ways. If by “thick skin” he means taking abuse without complaint then he is the one in the wrong profession, not Livingston.

Overeall I found Livingston’s response on the air displeasing and unprofessional, but mostly uncalled for. This is America, where the freedom of speech is an ingrained right. She is in the public eye, and those who receive WKBT’s programming have opinions. And that is all this was, an opinion from a viewer that she did not appreciate, but the person who sent the email was well within his or her rights both legally and socially to do so.

I believe there is a danger in Livingston’s description of the incident because it may dwindle the urgency level when an actual case of bullying arises. People will hear about it and think…“what, did a professional, highly paid newscaster receive an unkind letter again?”

The premise that a person who is directly compensated for being in the public eye could make any claim of being bullied by a member of the public is absurd and shows just how thin Jennifer Livingston’s skin actually is.

Did we see any threats of lawsuits from Livingston? Did she raise her voice? Throw chairs around? Even those would be very reasonable responses to being attacked, she did not do any of those things. She was in a calm manner and explained why those comments about her body were out of line and hurtful. Again, I have to ask if that is how he views all women that stand for themselves? If so, that would be  typical white male behavior. To accuse her of “dwindling the urgency level of actual bullying” is victim blaming behavior. He pretty much degraded her by waving away her concerns! By dictating to her how she should react to being attacked by patriarchy and fat-hatred. He finds it displeasing because it broke his poor fragile male ego and you should know that male egos are more precious then women’s rights!

It is not “unprofessional” to fight back against your enemy. It is not “unprofessional” to stand up for yourself and refuse to take abuse from anyone. This author is reinforcing patriarchy and that is unacceptable. Silence is woman’s worst enemy and the only way to fight silence to speak and scream like you mean it!