FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Don’t Tell Me to Eat a Burger

by LAURA FINLEY

In a recent interview with Barbara Walters, film star Jennifer Lawrence denounced the way we are taught that to make fun of someone is funny. Lawrence took particular issue with calling people “fat,” and asserted that if we can regulate television advertising related to cigarettes, why not also limit the way it presents harmful images and discussions of people’s bodies? I applaud Lawrence for using her platform to shed light on this important issue, and want to share here an additional perspective.

I completely agree that American culture demeans people whose body does not fit the unrealistic images presented in movies, television, and magazines. It is true that women in particular are told they must be thin, young and sexy to have value. Women and girls are taught that if they just buy one more product or pony up for reconstructive surgery they will at last be beautiful.

Equally harmful, however, is the open ridicule that some women and girls experience precisely because they happen to be thin without engaging in excessive consumption, eating disorders, or dangerous procedures. As one of these women, I want to call attention to the fact that it is not OK to make fun of people for their looks and their weight regardless of where they fall on the weight spectrum.

I have been asked multiple times, to my face, “Do you ever eat?” “You probably only eat salad,” and “You’re anorexic, right?” Rather than asking, others simply declare “You should go back to Ethiopia” (or some other country they perceive to be dealing with famine).

And then there’s the declarative I disdain most: “Go eat a burger.”  As if only “good” or “healthy” people eat meat. All of this comes from the same place as calling someone fat—that for whatever reason, my body, as it is, is not OK and it is someone else’s business to inform me of how I can become more acceptable.

Calling someone out for their perceived bodily inadequacies is, as Lawrence remarks, terrifically damaging to their self-esteem. Sadly, most of these comments come from other women. That, to me, is the worst part because it represents how we have been taught to pick one another apart rather than build each other up. Rather than helping others be healthy and happy, this harassment results in dissatisfaction, depression, and disorders.

I am thin. I work out. I am a vegetarian. Deal with it.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology. Her column is syndicated by Peace Voice.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism:  Transcending the Masters tools
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Chuck Collins
Wall Street Hopes You’ve Forgotten the Crash Already
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Robert Koehler
Costa Rica’s Peace Journey
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
February 23, 2017
Dave Brotherton
Trump, Moral Panics and Resistance
Jonathan Cook
One State: Trump Has Reminded Palestinians What It Was Always About
Bill Quigley
Ten Examples of Direct Resistance to Stop Government Raids
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigot Boy Business: Trump Exposes His Ignorance and Intolerance, Again
John W. Whitehead
The Illusion of Freedom: the Police State Is Alive and Well
Ralph Nader
Restricting People’s Use of Their Courts
David Macaray
Women As Labor Union Organizers
Kathy Kelly
Friendship in Defiance of War
Doug Weir
Why Did the US Use Depleted Uranium Weapons in Syria?
Steve Horn
Former GOP Congressional Staffer Follows Revolving Door, Now Latest Keystone XL Lobbyist
Binoy Kampmark
From Rights to Repentance: Norma McCorvey and Roe v Wade
Thomas Knapp
The Target of the “Border Adjustment Tax” is You
Chris Zinda
Open Letter to Neoliberal Environmentalists
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail