Jennifer Coffey is a media personality, currently a host on QVC. She is a Facebook friend who recently posted the following on her wall:
- In two days I’ve suffered two brutal online comments about my weight, suggesting I “put on a few.” 25 years ago I suffered relentless insults in school about my weight, suggesting I “drop a few.” What have I learned in those 25 years?
- You are not your weight. You are not your age. You are not your job. You are not your income. You are not your past. And you are certainly not other people’s opinions. You are your spirit. You are the love you give. You are the joy you feel. And I feel so much joy.
As you can imagine, Jennifer received an avalanche of support suggesting that (a) she is beautiful, and (b) the commenters were jerks.
My immediate reaction was different. Instead of seeing her obvious call for support, I was hung up on her use of the term “brutal.” In checking with a dictionary, I found confirmed that the term meant savagely violent or cruel.
Since when does suggesting that someone has put on a few pounds amount to savage cruelty?
All of this reminds me of ND hockey star, T.J. Oshie, who responded as follows to being called a hero in an Olympic game – “No. The real heroes wear camo. I’m not one of them.”
Jennifer, I suggest that we save the term brutal for real victims of brutality.
p.s., subsequent to posting this note, a friend pointed out that Jennifer has been criticized, not for being overweight, but for being underweight. I simply misread her comment, and I was not the only one. On reader commented as follows – “Are you kidding me? You are so thin in person that I can’t believe anyone said that! Just ignore it!” So the situation actually involves a woman who in her youth was criticized for being too heavy and now is being criticized for being too thin. Although many women would be quietly pleased with such a comment (akin to being too disciplined or a perfectionist), Jennifer was “brutally” offended.
It’s sad that society has created such anguish for women over a few pounds, either way.