How Not to React to Media You Don’t Like

Have you heard about the upcoming documentary “Fattitude”? Here’s a link to their Kickstarter campaign, if you’d like to check it out. This film is exploring the stigma of being fat in our culture, discrimination against people based on their body size, and assumptions made about the status of health based on someone’s body size. In their own words, this film is being made “to educate and activate…  to inspire people to speak out about the prejudice they face or the mistreatment of others.” Sounds great, right? Something we at The Emily Program Foundation can totally get behind. In fact, if you follow us on Twitter, you might have seen that we’ve already posted a link to this campaign.

fattitude

On Mondays on our blog, we look at images and messages in the media and analyze them in relation to our work promoting healthy body image and healthy relationships with food. We see plenty of stuff that we speak critically about, and we’re excited about the creation of new media with what sounds like, to us, positive messaging and which seems to encourage a critical approach to how people are treated (and what we think and feel about them) based on their bodies.

Understandably, we were shocked by the response given to the Lindsey Averill, one of the creators of this project.

“Then [they] started calling her home with death and rape threats. They sent pizzas to her house to prove they knew where she lived. They called her husband at work and found her parents’ numbers, too. They harassed the people featured in the film and the investors who backed it on Kickstarter.”

The full account can be found here.

This violent response got us thinking- why were people so angry? Averill is setting out to create a work of cultural criticism- how did that lead to death threats? What makes people feel so strongly about the need to police other people’s bodies that violence seems like an appropriate response?

We don’t have answers to these questions, but we thought they were substantive food for thought.

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