Posted by: beccamariej | October 3, 2012

Inspiring News Anchor’s Anti-Bullying Message

I usually upload my posts on Sunday, but this morning when I was watching Good Morning America, there was a story of a woman news anchor who was bullied about her weight (and appearance in general) and decided to speak out.

click here to see the video/read the article: [x]

I wanted to share this with everyone because I think she sets a great example for victims of bullying and women in general. If you read the article/watch the video, she confesses that she has a thyroid problem and because of that, she is unable to lose weight normally. Some are criticizing her for being over-sensitive, but I think she’s setting a great example for children. Obviously being obese is detrimental to a person’s health, but unless you know someone well enough to say something, telling another person that they are living their life the wrong way and saying he or she is a bad role model because of their appearance is not okay. She did not angrily blow-up over this, she spoke calmly and used inspiring words.

I have a couple of questions for you guys:
1) Do you think if she was a man she would still receive that letter of contempt from the man? After all, he emphasized the poor role model she was for girls especially. (Seems like a double-standard to me)

2) Generally speaking, what are your thoughts on this story?

<<EDIT>>

Here is a follow up article on this story.

I also noticed some pretty awesome comments in the comment section:

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Responses

  1. I thought she was terrific. Beauty comes in all shapes, colors, ages, & sizes.

  2. I saw this video as well. I was considering posting it for class and am glad you did. I also would like to hear thoughts on: What does this example have to do with women and leadership?

  3. I think this story is a good example of showing how people focus on womens’ appearance too much. I honestly believe that if she had been a man, no person would have ever thought to send a hateful email that dealt with weight. The thing that I find inspiring is that she did not overreact to the man’s harsh comments. She was able to speak up for herself without blowing everything out of proportion. I also noticed that the community stood by her and defended her against the man’s hateful emails. This indicates that the community does not believe that she is a bad influence. The man stated that she needs to set a better example for the community, especially for girls, but her weight should not define her capacity to be a good role model. I think that he has no place to tell someone else how they should live their life. He does not know her personally, so there is no way of knowing her reasons for her weight. Some people have family genes that make it harder for people to stay at a healthy weight. He had no right to judge her in that way.

  4. I saw this too! I felt really bad for her. I agree that people do focus more on a woman’s appearance, rather than what she has to offer as a leader. Dr. Shollen, in response to your question about what this has to do with women and leadership, I think the way she handled this event relates well to the type of leader she is and certain characteristics that women leaders are “expected” possess. I was reading through chapter 8 of Eagly and Carli (2007), and it talks about how “people expect female leaders to speak more tentatively, not draw so much attention to themselves, accept others’ suggestions, support others, and solve interpersonal problems” (p. 122). I think that this news anchor portrays some of these expected characteristics like supporting others and solving interpersonal problems. I found a video link of the news anchor telling the public not to bully this man for his comments. From that, she is solving this interpersonal problem between herself and this man as well as the public and this man. Her story may support others who are going through a similar experience. I also think though that she is acting the way she wants to act in this situation. This man gave her advice, mean advice, and she does not accept his suggestions, like a woman leader “should”, based on the expected leadership characteristics of women leaders. Some people have certain leadership characteristics for women and certain leadership characteristics for men, but I think it all depends on the situation. She acted very professional in this situation, and it shows women, especially young girls, that you can speak up and draw attention to this issue, and not conform to the “expected” characteristics of women. I think that is a true role model.


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