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Enough is Enough: Celebrity Spot-Lite

June 14, 2011

I am not ashamed to admit: I am a Dlisted addict. In college, I had a celebrity gossip radio show entitled “Don’t Cry for Me, Angelina.” And, occasionally, I’ll hit up one of the more trashy sites on the internet (and that’s saying a lot…), DailyMail, for my fix of truly appallingly poor reporting and salacious “news.”

And for some reason, what I am always shocked by–even more than the horrid grammar mistakes and complete fabrications they publish–is the extreme focus on weight/weight loss/body image of this site. On any given day, there are are a dozen or more feature stories about these issues, to the point where even I’m like “Give it a rest! If I want to learn about healthy weight/weight loss/body image I would be visiting a completely different site! Enough is enough!”

What Would Fat Joe Say?

What Would Fat Joe Say? (WWFJS?)

For instance, today I was reading a piece from a few days ago about the woman who lost 300 lbs “the old fashioned way.”  The article begins:

“The vast array of diet books and meal plans on the market is proof that we’re all looking for a quick fix when it comes to weight loss. But at 589lb, Shannon Davis knew that the only way to make a real change to her body was to do it the hard way. The 39-year-old, from Broomfield, Colorado, who was virtually housebound due to her size, has lost a staggering 300lb over the past three years, and the weight is continuing to fall off.”

Well, first of all, weight doesn’t just “fall off.” But the article does feature some surprisingly intuitive quotes from Davis, such as “There is no magic bullet. You cannot lose weight without putting in the time and effort. It’s not easy. It’s simple sweat equity” and “Everybody messes up…that’s the thing about dieting everyone needs to learn: Everyone makes mistakes.” Surprising because the DailyMail  usually seems to highlight absurdly fluffy brain-numbing drivel (which is why I shamefully sometimes seek it out…some people do drugs, I read the DailyMail) and/or put words in peoples mouths.

But from this article, which is inspiring and hopeful, the recommended links are

And from there we’re coaxed in the direction of learning about Nigella Lawsons unwillingness to be a ‘poster girl of well-padded women,’ some British singer/’reality’ star baring all in a photo shoot while exclaiming that ‘Staying Thin is a Full Time Job!’, a sexy model (Rosie Huntington?) ‘claiming’ that she ‘Loves to Eat!’, a bank worker who faced her phobia of sweat (huh?) and lost a ton of weight, a size-2 model who is ‘targeting her problem areas with liposuction,’ and ‘Gastric band surgery made me bulimic: How woman’s weight loss procedure sparked eating disorder.’
And those are just the featured articles! I didn’t even have to hunt for a single one of these, they were right there staring me in the face, screaming at me to be read!
Fear of Sweat=Great Success!

Fear of Sweat=Great Success!

So what exactly is my point? I chose to go on the site and barrage myself with whatever bull the DailyMail happened to throw at me that day, so why then am I now whining that I was bombarded with endless babbling about weight/weight loss/body image? And why is this all under a section of the DailyMail called “Femail,” geared exclusively towards women, who are clearly only interested in fashion/cooking/weight? It’s no secret that the media is obsessed with weight/weight loss/body image. But is this kind of hyper-focus and attention on these sensitive and personal issues on a site that largely known for “gossip” and perused by thousands and thousands of readers daily really doing any kind of service to these issues or to the people reading about them? Is it really any different from the Georgia ad campaign that I featured yesterday about childhood obesity? What can be learned from bringing so much attention to these issues in such a largely negative and bawdy way?

Are we able to recognize the difference between raising awareness and promoting ignorance?

Is any of this hyper-media attention really any different than a public shaming?
…And will it ever change for the better?
(Image courtesy of Getty Images via The DailyMail)
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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ned in DC permalink
    June 14, 2011 7:25 pm

    The media are after profits. There is a chicken-egg circularity to this. They sense that the public has some fascination [perhaps a bizarre obsession] with weight/weight loss/appearance so they put significant resources into those stories. The public perhaps having some interest begins to think that if the media are treating this subject with such intensity it must be worth the space/ink/electrons so not only is their basic interest over-stimulated but now they think they have found a truly “trending” subject so they gobble up more which prompts sites like Daily Mail to engage in even more. Why can’t we have more sensible and well-written sites like Hangry Hippo out there to deal with this fundamental and widely-followed subject? Thanks, HH!

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