The Way To Stop Bullying Is Not Through “Diet And Exercise”

I get approximately 5,000 pitches a day from people who are trying to get me to tell you guys about boob stickers, or breath mints, or Cash Warren’s boat shoes (seriously just got this one). I mostly ignore them unless I think the product or service is going to be of some use to you. Often, PR people will send us pitches that are super far afield of what The Frisky is about, and I usually just delete them. But then I got the following pitch, and man, I just had to share.

Here’s an excerpt:

Subject: Interview Opp: Helping Overweight Overcome Bullying

Guest Opportunity: Maya Sienna, Internationally Known Pop Singer

The statistics on bullying are upsetting. In a recent national survey of overweight sixth graders, 24 percent of the boys and 30 percent of the girls experienced daily teasing, bullying or rejection because of their size. The number doubles for overweight high school students with 58 percent of boys and 63 percent of girls experiencing daily teasing, bullying or rejection because of their size. Maya Sienna experienced and overcame bullying and turned to a Healthy Diet & Exercise to lose over 25 pounds of unhealthy weight. She is an advocate today to help kids overcome bullying & follow their dreams..

Maya Sienna can discuss this by answering the following questions:

  • What kind of bullying did you experience?
  • How did you overcome bullying to make your dreams come true?
  • What advice can you give to people who are facing bullying right now?
  • What kind of diet and exercise regimen were you on to lose the weight?

First things first, I have never heard of Internationally Known Pop Singer Maya Sienna. Also, Random Capitalization drives me Crazy. Strikes three through five million refer to the highlighted passage above. The message is that bullying is bad! But the best way to counter bullying is to lose weight. And hey, lazy bullied kid, you can do it too, if you get on a healthy diet plan and stop eating garbage.

It’s great to stand in solidarity with bullied people, but recommending that bullied people diet and lose weight in order to avoid future bullying puts the onus on the victim, not the perpetrator. It tells victims that they are not okay the way they are, and that it’s their responsibility to change. That in failing to adhere to proscribed standards of beauty and health, they somehow deserved the bullying.

But shouldn’t the responsibility be placed on the person doing the bullying? Curiously, on Maya Sienna’s webpage she has this to say: “Stay strong! You should never hurt or harm yourself, you DO NOT deserve it. You have to remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with you and you are perfect the way you are. The bully is the one that is insecure about themselves and have low self-esteem so they take their self anger out on you.” So perhaps something got lost in translation?

Nevermind that had this publicist spent two seconds looking at The Frisky, you’d know that we try hard to be super body positive and are not interested in telling anybody to lose weight. I have no doubt that the intentions were good. But the message — not to mention the Capitalizaiton — is all wrong.

[Thumbs down photo courtesy Shutterstock]