Tag Archives: cost of bullying

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching–Even at the Airport

DanceLikeNobodyWatchingOkay, first you gotta watch the video.  Grab a cup of coffee and click the arrow.  It will only take a minute.

Wow, how cool is that?  We’ve all had the experience  of standing in the bloody baggage claim area after a long flight, watching that little belt go around, straining hopelessly to catch a glimpse of our long lost underwear.  But not this girl. Oh no.  She just put on some tunes and rocked out!

When was the last time you did something like that?  I think maybe it has been years and years for me.  I used to regularly engage in PAI (Public Acts of I-don’t-care-what-you-think).  When I was a kid, I was an endless source of humiliation for my poor sister.  I wore crazy hats.  I was kicked out of grocery stores.  My cousin regularly reminds me of how we used to ride around town in her convertible with the top down and me singing opera at the top of my lungs.

What happened?

Is it just because I’m older?  Have I grown wary and frightened?  Or is it because I got bigger?  Were I to dance around at the airport like that today, would people around mostly ignore me or smile gently like they do at the girl in the video?  Or would they hurl insults at me and call me names like they did a few months back at the restaurant?

But I often wonder if this is one of the most insidious repercussions for those of us who have been bullied.  How many insults can we endure before we shut down?  How many of us have had our bright, bright lights muted under bushel baskets for years and years because we have been traumatized, battered, and bruised by very public opinions about our bodies?  I continue to wonder about the squandering of those most precious resources.  Resources we desperately need in our society like energy, inspiration, spontaneity, creativity, courage and joy.  Can our world afford to throw these precious gifts away in order to sell more diet pills and gain more research funding for take home bulimia kits?  I don’t think it can.

So my friends, let’s see if we can’t find a way to get our collective mojo back.  I think exploring our inner child is a good start.  And so is collecting for radically awesome events like A Fatty Affair.  And joining fantastic groups like The Size Diversity Task Force can’t hurt either.  After being part of the SDTF, inspired me to shoot this video on a busy weekday at my local thrift store. I’m committed to doing whatever it takes.  Because hiding our light under a bushel basket doesn’t just diminish us personally, it deprives the world of our fantastic, glorious, gorgeous light, which is a crime against humanity.  So let’s see if we can’t find even more ways to pull those bushel baskets off and dance like nobody’s watching.


The Fat Chick

Thursday Theater: The Fat Chick Talks About Bullies

My response to Jennifer Livingston’s amazing video and my entry for Ragen Chastain’s Amazing New Project.



PS: We. Will. Win.

The Ongoing Costs of Bullying

It seems like everybody is talking about what television anchor Jennifer Livingston said on air on WKBT in La Crosse, WI.  If you haven’t heard it yet, go on up and watch the video.  I’ll wait.  In her video she talks about how we not only need to stand up to bullies, but also be an example to our children and show them how not to be bullies.

October is National Bullying Prevention month, and I can’t tell you how glad I am that Jennifer has helped bring bullying about weight to the forefront.  It seems to me that much of the discourse on bullying has been dominated by discussions of race or gender or sexual preference.  It also seems to me that in many of the discussions about bullying, weight has been left right out of the equation.  So I’m thrilled that weight is coming into the discussion and that “concern trolling” is being called out as a form of bullying.

I admire Jennifer so much for standing up to bullies in such a public way.  She’s not only standing up in public, but she’s standing up at work.  And working in television news is no picnic.  I know she worked very hard to get that coveted morning anchor spot.  She undoubtedly won that spot over a lot of other competitors.  A lot of those competitors were probably thinner and more closely mirrored current societal standards of appearance for a television anchor.  Just doing her job every day in such a public and competitive sphere is pretty darn brave.  To risk all she worked for, to risk the wrath of television viewers and pundits alike, for ‘coming out’ as a fat person, takes amazing strength.  And as a Midwestern girl, raised in Wisconsin, I can tell you that calling attention to herself in this way, putting herself forward like this in the town of La Crosse, WI flies in the face of a lot of our “nice girl” training.  It takes unbelievable courage.

As a fellow producer, I also want to call out the producers at WKBT for having the guts to put this on TV.  I’m talking about morning show producer Kelli Hoff andnews director Anne Paape as well as the rest of the producing team.  News at the local level is an extremely competitive business.  Allowing Jennifer to take that much airtime to share an extremely controversial and polarizing viewpoint takes serious guts.  That producer’s job is on the line for this.  It was a big risk, but luckily the response seems to be largely positive.

I am so glad that a light is being shined on this bullying business.  Because I think it’s time that we understood the real costs associated with it.  There’s the cost to kids concentration levels and education.  Can somebody who’s being tortured every day really focus on school?  Can they get the grades?  Can they do what they need to do to compete for those rapidly dwindling and extremely valuable spots at their favorite college?  Will they even survive school?  Or will they take their own precious lives and thus deprive the world of themselves?  And if they survive school, will they survive intact?  Or will they commit suicide a little bit every day by being smaller, being less than, blending in, and not being noticed?  Will these kids be what they were meant to be?  Will they dare?  Or will they let that part of themselves that is responsible for seeing that torture never happens again, that they are never hurt that way again, take charge?

That is what is so very exciting to me about what I saw morning anchor Jennifer Livingston do on television  yesterday.  She wasn’t just standing up to bullies that are after her now.  She was standing up to every bully she’s ever faced.  She was standing up to that part of her that told her that she had a good thing going with her anchor job and she shouldn’t blow it.  She was standing up to the part of her that told her she should be quiet and blend in.  She was standing up to the part of her that said she should be lesser so as to present a smaller target.

I want to thank both Jennifer and WKBT for standing up not only to the bullies they face now in the public and the board room but also to all the bullies they have faced their entire lives.  Your courage is an inspiration.


Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick