People who know me in real life do understand that I am not a person who goes in for controversy. I don't like conflict, I even get a little antsy during something that is supposed to be "fun" like a football game. I just don't like it.
So it was a surprise to me when I found out that MANY people messaged Anne-Sophie about our Bob Harper discussion. Some people felt we were being unkind, thin-shaming and the like. **needlescratchmoment**
Let's step back to the Oprah episode for a moment. It was a very popular episode apparently- I want you to know that I have no knowledge of numbers or comments because I am not in any form an owner of the podcast. Which is a-ok, dandy and fine with me! I just know that was one a lot of people listened to. We discussed ideas about whether Oprah should be trying to become something she is not, why the wealthiest woman in the US and a talented entrepreneur should try to be changing her body and most of all why she is using her popularity for financial gain. None of us are particular Oprah fans, but we have no overt problem with her, in fact have varying degrees of admiration for her success in business, etc. We did talk about why someone who is as successful as she is feels the need to change herself- could be construed possibly as somewhat controversial, but as far as I know there were few or no people saying we were picking on Oprah.
Fast forward to Bob Harper. Here we discussed how different it would be (and Oprah's name was brought up) if someone heavy would have had this heart attack, how the media and others would not have blamed genetics, how this man- as he makes his living to look a certain way as a trainer- most likely over exercises and (as Leila discussed- a man as tall as he is to only weigh what he does) this guy restricts his food. He is not a teenager anymore(52?), people tend to put on natural weight as they age, their hormones are not the same...... There was little to no discussion in the media reports that thin at any cost might have been partially responsible for his health issues. HIS ACTIONS MIGHT HAVE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT!! And we are scolded for possible thin-shaming and other more mysterious things that are not easily identifiable. We were being mean. Um, no.
I (and I assume we) have no bad feelings for the person that is Bob. He is most likely a nice person, but Bob is on a bad tv show. A tv show that fat shames others. A tv show that starved and over-exercised contestants, one that encouraged them to eat less food than the calories they burned.... a tv show that one blogger pointed out- if the producers did this to animals they would have been shut down by animal rights activists so fast their heads would have spun. (this was paraphrasing but the spirit is the same). How is it that its ok to in essence torture people and it is ok for our entertainment?
So it is ok that we called out Oprah but not Bob? Why is that? Could it be that we were destroying ideas (that are LIES )so deeply embedded in our culture that people feel threatened by it? Were we discussing things that hit so close to home in a person's journey that they lashed out so they didn't have to do that body image work, or feel that feeling, or know that what is presented as the truth in our culture is one of the biggest fallacies in our world?? If you feel uncomfortable about this- think about why? Oprah is heavy, a woman, a woman of color, and beloved by many. Bob Harper is thin, a male, a white male, and is probably seen as an authority figure of some sort. It challenges much of what we believe in our core to be correct. That a guy who looks like he does- he cannot be held accountable for his genetics, and yet it is just fine for Oprah to "fix" the one thing that to some peoples eyes needs fixing. That it is fine for Bob to diet and over exercise however he deems necessary to look a certain way, and yet, by the lack of response to our discussion, people feel that it is ok for Oprah to adhere to wanting to attain a certain look. STILL!!! She STILL isn't quite right?!?! These are some of the deepest issues of our western world and it pisses people off when those "truths" are challenged. Thin privilege does not like to be questioned. And when it comes to it- how they look are not what is important about either of these two people.
We are better than this.
Time to realize how our culture judges people- by the most shallow of requirements. Time to really improve the quality of your life in meaningful ways- how our bodies look is not meaningful. What is in your heart and soul, what you do to enrich your life and that of your loved ones, your service to others and what you stand for are far more deep and authentic. Step out of your comfort zone for a moment and do that hard thing. Believing what most people find unbelievable- that you are not your body. You are so much more than your shell. You are already more than good enough.