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Taking a Stand

by Meghann on October 3, 2012

It’s the perfect rainy day outside. No thunder, no lightening, just a steady flow of droplets peacefully falling from the sky; it’s almost relaxing in a way. Even Maddie (who hates thunderstorms) is sleeping peacefully on the couch without a care in the world. We rarely get quiet rain like this in Florida, so it’s a nice treat. :)

I was at the gym early this morning for my workout. I had to get out of my head and hitting the treadmill was the perfect escape. You know that feeling when you know you just have to to run? That was me. It felt so good to completely zone out while knocking out my planned 3 miles. Running is my favorite therapy. After the treadmill I did Workout A from The Wedding Workout and headed home for breakfast.

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Granola + Pear + Peanut Butter

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I stayed on the treadmill a little longer today to watch the story on the anchor who stood up to a viewer on air for criticizing her weight.


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If you are unable to watch the clip, tv anchor Jennifer Livingston received an online message from a viewer who called her a bad role model to young girls for being obese. Jennifer responded by going on air and declaring that the viewer was no better than a bully. Jennifer decided to take the stand in honor of National Anti-Bullying Month and to teach her daughter that it’s okay to take a stand against bullies. It wasn’t the weight comment that bothered Jennifer, it was the statement that she was a bad role model even after the viewer admitted to never watching her show and knowing little about her personally.

Jennifer addressed “the bully” less than 48hrs ago, but her clip has already gone viral. Remember the post I wrote about the “Support Whitney Kropp” campaign? A week ago the Facebook page had 40,000 supporters, now it has over 142,000 (and is still growing). What about the video of the bus lady who was bullied by students riding the bus that went viral over the summer? A campaign in her honor raised over $455,000 so she could take a vacation.

Social media is giving a voice to those that have been bullied, just as it gives a voice to bullies who are attacking their victims (that’s a whole other story though). These support campaigns go viral because it’s a hot topic that more people can relate to than not. We’ve all been there and we’ve all wanted to take a stand like Jennifer did. She’s the inspiration and a good reminder that it is ok to stand up and fight back (or even to defend those that are being bullied, as she was trying to teach her daughter). I’d say that’s what makes her an excellent role model for little girls out there and that’s where the viewer had it wrong.

I’m glad I stayed on to watch the story because it gave me a lot to think about. I didn’t know it was National Anti-Bullying Month, but I would like to find a way to become involved with it. I have some ideas spinning, so we’ll see.

What did you think about Jennifer’s story?

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cara @ I Don't Believe in Diets October 3, 2012 at 11:06 am

I saw this video last night and loved it. I think it is a great message.

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2 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More October 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

I think Jennifer’s story is amazing! I love that she came back and said “no!” and I love that she said “I know I’m not perfect, but you’re judging me based on appearance, you don’t know me.” And I love how she’s really spread the word about anti-bullying, it’s such an important message – to children, teens AND adults!

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3 Army Amy* October 3, 2012 at 11:17 am

I haven’t seen the news anchor story, but I can tell you that the whole bus lady thing really irks me. Yes, what those kids said to her was horrible and they should be punished severely, but the bus lady didn’t do her job. She was in charge of monitoring the bus. She didn’t even tell anyone what happened. She never even asked them to stop, which is what she was being paid to do. People can give her money if they want, but she won’t be getting any of mine! Okay, okay, I’m done ranting now. I told you it irked me!*

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4 Jenny October 3, 2012 at 7:33 pm

I work in a school and I felt the exact same way! If she didn’t have the courage to attempt to enforce the rules, at the very least, she should have reported the behavior to administration.

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5 Kimberly October 3, 2012 at 11:18 am

While I think it’s great that she’s standing up for herself, I don’t think she’s being “bullied”. She’s a public figure. She’s choosing to put herself out there and people have the right to voice their opinions. Yeah, it sounds like that person sending the message to her was being pretty cruel and hurtful but it’s not the same as bullying. While I do think that bullying is a real problem, online and in “real life”, the people complaining about being bullied are getting a little out of control. It seems like every time a blogger or celebrity hears anything negative about them self, they are being “bullied”.

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6 LizP October 3, 2012 at 7:59 pm

YES! We are having trouble teaching our elementary kids in school the difference between someone being mean to you once and bullying.

“A person is being bullied when he/she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons. Negative action is when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways. Note that bullying is both overt and covert behaviors” from Dan Olweus a bullying researcher.

Sorry that someone wrote a mean/nasty email to her. But that’s not bullying.

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7 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale October 3, 2012 at 11:26 am

Bullying should not be tolerated — end of story. And yet, the hardest thing to do when you’re being oppressed is to stand up to your oppressors. I LOVE the fact that social media and the power of many can give power and force to get these messages out there. Let’s change the world, one bully at a time. :)

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8 molly @ heart, sole & cereal October 3, 2012 at 11:31 am

i think that this story is interesting, especially as a teacher who deals with bullying on a daily basis in my middle school class (much as we try to combat it). i think the part that was most fascinating to me – i saw the story on the news this morning – was how she went about her response to the viewer. basically, jennifer said that by the woman calling her fat via email (she used the word fat specifically which makes me think the emailer used that word) it probably indicated that she would have referred to jennifer as fat out loud in front of her own children. jennifer went on to say that this makes it seem to the emailer’s children like it is okay to call people fat. so while i agree with kimberly (above) that sometimes i think the word bullying is overused, i think it’s really important to recognize that the habit of bullying starts at a very young age and that a parent referring to another person in a negative way DOES make it seem okay for their child to go on perpetuating those behaviors, which often develop into extreme forms of verbal abuse at school, at home, etc. research has started to show that the idea that “bullies are bullies because they are bullied themselves” is not really true, especially with the advent of social media. we live in a society that makes it okay to anonymously bash people and then hide behind your computer, so i say more power to jennifer for standing up for herself and for all others who are critiqued by someone who (admittedly even!) doesn’t know anything about them.

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9 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 3, 2012 at 11:42 am

I have to say I grew up very lucky. I went to a small private school and never heard or experienced any serious bullying. I think everyone bullies people in some way or another, to make themselves feel better, to assert their power, etc. Even comments on blogs contain bullying! I think there’s a difference between voicing your opinion in a comment and bullying.

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10 Brittany @Berries and Barbells October 3, 2012 at 11:52 am

Her story was awesome. I loved when she talked about teaching our kids and setting a good example. We have to be careful what we say around our children. They ARE listening and they WILL repeat it! I hate bullying.

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11 Cher @ Weddicted October 3, 2012 at 11:53 am

She’s a great role model for standing up to bullying, and for being comfortable in her own skin.

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12 natalie @ will jog for food October 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I thought it was great! Jennifer made a point that is so valid in today’s society, especially with social media. Stop the bullying!

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13 Lauren October 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I just saw this this morning too! Seriously, what an inspiring woman! I love that she took what could have been a totally humiliating situation and turned it for good. Good for her!!

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14 Emily N October 3, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Glad that you were able to get out of your head with the run.
Looking forward to hearing about your Bully-ing idea.

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15 Annette @FitnessPerks October 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I saw the clip too-good for her fro standing up to her ‘bully’. I think people just need to quit being so freaking judgemental. We’re all doing the best we can–and when adults act like idiots, our kids will do the same.

Love a good run too :)

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16 Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer October 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I loved that her news station gave her the air time to address it (and I bet they are glad they did with all the attention it’s getting!)

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17 Hillary October 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm

The word “bully,” in my opinion, has become very overused in the last few years. I think what happened to Jennifer was awful, and I loved the way she addressed it strongly and publicly, but in my opinion, the email she received was not written by a bully. The email was critical, certainly, but it was not harassing. This doesn’t mean that I think it was right or ok, but I don’t think that person qualifies as a bully.

I’m viewing this from my perspective as a middle school teacher, and particularly considering the emotional charge that comes with calling someone a bully. One of my former students, a 15 year old girl, committed suicide this spring after nearly a year of online harassment. Our community is now on high-alert, and the kids are well-versed (perhaps too much) in bullying behavior. What I have found is that, to them, EVERYONE who has anything critical to say is a bully now. In my opinion, not all criticism is bullying or harassing behavior, and to consider it and claim it as such actually detracts from people who are seriously being bullied.

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18 jennyv October 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I agree w/ Hillary’s view on the ‘bully’ who wrote the e-mail to Jennifer. I agree it was wrong for the guy to send the e-mail (not his place to comment on her weight/appearance), but he didn’t exactly bully her either.

That said, Jennifer graduated from my alma mater (only 9 years ahead of me!)

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19 Sarah October 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I wholeheartedly agree, Hillary. I actually just went to StopBullying.gov and if you really take the definition to heart, this case does not fit the example. True bullying has an imbalance of power and repetition. A one-off rude e-mail makes this guy a jerk, not a bully. If he were repeatedly e-mailing her or showing up at the station with picket signs about her weight, it would truly be bullying.

I worry about what all of this wolf crying is going to do- will anyone ever be able to accept criticism or critique, be it constructive or otherwise? Kids and adults need to learn how to deal with and confront adversity in productive ways, not just cry “bully” every time someone is mean.

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20 Rodri October 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm

It upsets me that she didn’t, and most media outlets haven’t, addressed that by being an intelligent and confident woman with a great job, she’s a great role model for girls! I’m glad that she addressed the rude email for sure (although I also don’t consider it bullying), but I wish she had said more about what it means to be a role model.

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21 steph October 3, 2012 at 7:51 pm

This was exactly my reaction to the story.

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22 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut October 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I don’t think anyone in the public eye deserves that type of harsh criticism, but I suppose it does come with the job. I really like the way she handled herself though, and I think she gave a strong message. Unfortunately, even bloggers subject themselves to critics…it’s just the way it is! One time a commenter told me that my faux fur American Eagle vest looked like roadkill! Yes, I cried my eyes out for a minute, but what are ya gonna do??

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23 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles October 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I saw the video last night and thought it was fantastic – she makes a lot of great points. For example, if a parent is at home calling the news anchor fat, what do you think their kids are going to do at school the next day when they see one of their overweight classmates? Bullying begets bullying – it needs to stop.

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24 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats October 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I don’t know if I would call him a bully, but he is definitely a jerk. I love how she responded and think her message about saying these things in front of kids leads them to say these things to others.

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25 Jenny October 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I don’t think he is a bully. I although I can understand that she was hurt by his letter, it was written in a relatively respectful manner. The only thing I thought was truly ridiculous was calling her a poor role model, when she is clearly a very successful woman. Also, she is in a very public position, and it is well-known that news anchors constantly receive nit-picky feedback. Even the most skinny-minny TV personalities get comments on their weight.

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26 Sandra October 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I think to a certain extent, getting into debates about whether or not this was bullying is kind of irrelevant. While I do in some ways agree that this may be considered as a “critical statement” – the fact is, it was directed toward someone’s personal appearance and was unwarranted in my opinion. Jennifer is not on TV professing to be some sort of role model, she is not in a position where her looks should really be all that relevant (apart from being presentable). She is conveying the news, that’s all. I would be very saddened if everyone on TV had to fit a certain aesthetic in order to be deemed acceptable. I would never want to see such a homogenized representation. Nonetheless, getting back to my original reason for posting… I think she was trying to deflect some of the attention away from herself and toward a larger issue. While her own personal situation may not “qualify” as bullying per se, in some people’s minds, I do think it’s admirable and appropriate for her to move it toward a discussion of bullying as opposed to dwelling on a comment that was directed at her. Just my thoughts…

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