Recently an email was sent to a Rochester morning news anchor rudely telling her that she was/is a poor example to young people, especially young girls, because she's overweight and has been that way a number of years while in her capacity as a news personality. Ironically, this email was sent during Bullying Prevention Month, and was sent by someone who is obviously a bully himself, so who's the real poor example here?
Kudos to Jennifer Livingston for pursuing her career, one that placed her in front of television cameras, showing adults and young people that her career, and other professions, possibly perceived as careers only for "beautiful," "handsome," "physically perfect" people, are careers/professions for everyone, if that's what you want to do and you work hard to get there.
Ms. Livingston's mature handling of this rude, crude, immature, insensitive email showed that she indeed exemplifies a positive example to young and old, and that her critic is the bad example.
J. Paul Lombardo
People aren't cookies shaped by manmade devices. We're all different shapes and sizes. I believe Dr. Martin Luther King said that people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
In other words, look inside the person, not outside. Ms. Livingston has character; her critic is a character. Ms. Livingston exemplifies "positive" in looks, attitude, inner strength and determination to get where she wanted to be. Her critic exemplifies "negative" in his attitude, cruelty to others and judgmental demeanor.
Growing up, I had problems with my weight. It was my fault, I know. I never met a meal, dessert, fast/junk food, or candy bar I didn't like. Around seventh grade, I began to get heavier, and there were some in school who reminded me, less than tactfully, that thin was in, and fat, well, fat was just fat.
Those reminders continued, so I, desperately wanting to be accepted in any way I could, began being a "cut-up," a "class clown," if you will. I continued that behavior through high school and college, and as long as I was accepted, I continued to diet on pizza and soft (and hard) drinks, and all the while I was literally watching my weight, and it kept growing, and growing.
I was fortunate to have been accepted for my desire, and whatever talent and potential to be a teacher I had, by my university, local communities, and my city school district, which allowed me to get to where I wanted to be. But I never forgot the barbs I received along the way. I used humor to try and cover them up, but they never went away. I was still an advertisement for the Battle of the Bulge when I met by bride and was accepted by her for the person I was, but realizing that being so much overweight and a smoker to boot, I was a heart attack waiting to happen, so I decided to wage my own battle against that bulge and was fortunate to lose about 100 pounds.
I was looking forward to some of the "fat" comments (yes, I was still hearing some even as an adult) going away, but unfortunately, some of my lost ounces were hair which came off the top of my head, so the "fat" jokes just shifted to "bald" jokes. Back to square one. (I did enjoy people saying nice things about my weight loss, though.)
By the way, I've gained a little of the weight back, and have lost more hair, and I still think about it, not so much about my perception of me, but others' perceptions of me. Believe me, it's hard to forget and let go of some of the hurt. My point is that this man (though I use the term "man" lightly referring to him) who criticized Ms. Livingston for her looks, has, himself, modeled negative behavior to young people, maybe his own children if he has any.
If any young person models this behavior (cruel, hurtful, judgmental comments, etc.) in his/her daily life, and makes even one hurtful comment to, or joke about, schoolmates, or any other person with whom they deal, even in jest, trust me, it'll leave a scar on the receiver of the barb that will stay with them forever. So I go back to my original question ... who's the real poor example here?
I understand health risks with regard to being overweight, as I'm sure Ms. Livingston does, and am sure she's tried to lose weight, though that's none of anyone's business. But to blatantly say what was said to her in that email, in that way, is inexcusable and just plain wrong.
Ms. Livingston should be seen as an inspiration to all young-to-old people that beauty comes in many faces, bodies, shapes and sizes. It comes with perfections and imperfections. It includes the tall, short, thin, fat, full-haired and bald. It's time that magazines, television, movies, billboards and people stop the biasedness of "five foot two, eyes are blue, kootchie, kootchie, kootchie, koo." Acceptance of only lean, blonde, smooth-skinned women, or handsome, six-pack abbed, full head of hair men is the negative behavior. Ms. Livingston's critic is the negative example.
You want to see reality? Tune in to Ms. Livingston on the morning news in Rochester. You want to see beauty? Tune in to Ms. Livingston on the morning news in Rochester. Be inspired by her desire, work ethic, perseverance, acceptance of self, pride in her work and definitely follow her example.
If some think beauty is only on the outside, then ugly is the cruelty of Ms. Livingston's critic, and all those like him, who carry that ugliness within.