February 18, 2008

Does the Blogosphere Reinforce or Refute the Media's Message about Weight

After exploring the media's portrayal of a "healthy weight" in my last blog, I decided to look into the blogosphere to see if bloggers supported the media's message that being skinny is ideal or if bloggers rejected this idea. Because blogs typically hold more radical opinions due to the lack of regulation of the medium, one would expect blogs to expose the dangers of the media promoting thinness rather than nutrition. However, I am disappointed to report that many blogs reinforce the media's beauty ideal. One blog named "The Skinny Website" consists of posts about celebrities weight loss and gain. Recently, a post was written about Kirstie Alley's resignation as the Jenny Craig spokeswoman. This entry discusses how Queen Latifah will replace Kirstie Alley as the spokewoman for Jenny Craig, and how it will be difficult for Queen Latifah to represent a company centralized on health when she is overweight. Secondly, a blog named "Weight Loss Made Easy" posted about "The Most Honest Restaurant Menu Ever." The post features a photograph of a dessert menu of a restaurant; one dessert says "I'm on a diet" and it costs no money because according to the creator of the menu, dieters cannot eat dessert. I have responded to the posts as displayed below:

"Kirstie Alley Resigns From Jenny Craig"

While I think that Queen Latifah's placement as the new spokeswoman for Jenny Craig will create a drastic change in Jenny Craig's image, it will be an excellent way to promote health rather than aesthetics. At the moment, many companies like Jenny Craig are solely associated with weight loss for bettering a person's appearance. Nutrition, however, takes a backseat. The commercials do not emphasize how many people have lowered their cholesterol through dieting or the benefits of weight loss for diabetes. Most weight loss commercials focus on the new attention and body confidence that comes with weight loss. I applaud Jenny Craig for going against the societal norm, and promoting health rather than skinniness.

When I first came upon your blog, I was disappointed to see that there was yet another blog that exists simply to show pictures of thin celebrities. However, after reading this post and the post about Catherine Zeta Jones not having an eating disorder from October 31st, I have gained respect for your blog. As a blogger, you have the ability to influence how people think about body image, beauty, and celebrities. I look forward to reading your blog in the future, and hope that there are more posts that are open to the idea of health and beauty in less conventional forms.

"The Most Honest Restaurant Menu Ever"

While I believe that this post was created to be funny, I think that as a blogger it is important to remember the influence your website has on people. The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates that about 8 million Americans have eating disorders. This number is outrageous and most likely impacted by the media's focus on thinness. Weight is a widely covered issue in American media, yet inaccurate information about weight loss is quite prevalent. The message that abstaining from eating in order to look beautiful needs to stop immediately.

Being named "Weight Loss Made Easy," this blog has the potential to attract many people who want to lose weight and can gain information about how to do this in a healthy way. I ask you to please promote nutrition, moderation, and exercise rather than a quick fix for a few extra pounds. You can impact society by encouraging people to be healthy, not malnourished.


RJB said...

Your Intro paragraph Is well set up and very easy to read, you mentioned what you talked about on your previous entry and what you will discuss in this current post. I clearly saw your stance of disapproval about how bloggers supported the media's obsession on being "skinny" rather than being healthy. You also provided links within your intro to the two post that you were commenting on , which is a help to the reader. Your pictures capture the essence of your topic and does not leave the reader guessing as to what you will be discussing.

In your first comment your opinion is good here, but I do not see any evidence that states that Jenny Craig is "going against the societal norm, and promoting health rather than skinniness." If by you mean by not having a skinny woman as a spokeswoman as a change from the norm than you do have a point, but where does Jenny Craig say that? Also, I find it a little difficult to read and except comments that are in an instant messaging format to be scholarly and from a creditable source.

As for your second comment, I really feel that It is up in the air to suggest what the author of the blog meant by "Weight Loss Made Easy", however, your opinion is a valid one that malnourished people is not the goal, but health eating is with good nutrition. Although, it would be a great advocate to provide healthy statistics about how not eating desserts could be more healthier for you and the benefits of not eating everything or finishing your plate of food is wise in developing self control. If other bloggers are not willing to provide the information about the healthy way, than it is up to you, right?

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