Women's Bodies - What We Hear, What We Think
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
My daughter emailed me this piece this morning, referring to a very popular radio show in the Pittsburgh area:
"My (no longer) favorite radio show this morning really broke my heart with their morning segment which was- ladies only, call in and tell us what you hate about your body. Because women are crazy and are their own worst critic.
"They unsuccessfully tried to make it okay by the male host (one male ((Bubba)) , 2 females, the show is Bubbas show) by saying "but of course anybody on the street would disagree with you and how does your husband feel about your __ ? I'm sure he says it's fine doesn't he!"
"These women would call in and say what they hate most about their physical appearance, and then everyone on the show and the person coming in would laugh about it. I just feel like it was horrible, and sad, and that a recap of the pens game, or celebrity gossip, or any other stupid topic like awkward date stories or something would have been a million times better. It was just really depressing, and I was sort of surprised they did it.
"One woman called in and said "well the key is that the women shouldn't let themselves go in the first place. That's when I changed the station.
"He had people that called in said "my thighs. I refuse to wear yoga pants or leggins."
One person said their stomach, and stated that after they had a stomach virus, they were happy with their appearance. Bubba brought up that the one woman host on the show hated her nose, and the other said she hated everything "between the eyes and the knees".
"Bubba is really against bullying and talks aout it all the time and has daughters in school that are bullied."
This was the letter we wrote, and Bubba's response:
"Something sad happened this morning. I was listening to your radio show
- the one where you had women call in and tell all about what they hate
most about their bodies - when it occurred to me: you weren't funny and
I don't think I'll be listening to your show much anymore. And some of
my co-workers feel the same way.
"So let's pretend (this may be a stretch, but go with me here) that you
go home and think about this ...you're losing listenership.
Maybe...maybe it's that tickle in your throat...you just don't have that
mellow, "radio guy" voice anymore. Or worse...maybe you're just not
funny...not clever enough anymore. Maybe it wasn't just this one show -
maybe you're trying too hard and missing your demographics. But hey, no
problem, Your wife tells you that you sound fine and you were downright
witty just the other night. But...what does she know about radio - all
she knows is what you want to hear. Not funny...not clever...not
mellow...and you start to believe it just might be true.
"Now let's pretend something else: it's bring your daughter(s) to work
day. I don't know their ages, so let's say 14, maybe 15. What the
heck, bring your wife, too. Now you ask them, "Sweeties, what are the
parts of your bodies that you hate the most?" Your wife, stricken but
being a good sport, will say her legs. You, whose opinion certainly
matters more to her than her own, will say that they look fine and you
married her anyway (but see that look in her eye? She knows damned well
her ankles are fat.) Yep, that sure was funny. A laugh a second here,
"Now you turn to your darling daughter and ask her the same thing. "I
dunno, Dad...I'm flat-chested and my eyes look weird." You tell her,
sincerely, that she's beautiful, but then because you still have to be
funny, you crack, "And your eyes look just like mine! They're
gorgeous!" Now look in her eyes, that may or may not look like yours,
and see if she believes that she's beautiful. To be a decent
interviewer, you have to be fairly perceptive, so you realize that she
believes no such thing. Still funny?
"You see, Bubba, women of all ages do this every day. We get up every
morning, look at ourselves in the mirror, and mentally list every bit of
ourselves that we loathe: "My God, my eyes are baggy"; "Look how fat you
are, you pig"; "You can't wear a sleeveless top with those arms": etc.,
etc., ad infiinitum. We don't need schoolyard bullies - we are
perfectly capable of bullying ourselves, taunting ourselves with nasty
- but often clever! - comments. If that isn't bullying, then I don't
know what would be. And pretending to laugh about it, or that a man's
approval changes our perceptions of our flaws, doesn't make a damned bit
of difference. Don't you remember trying that on the school bus?
"Let's go, just for a second, back to our first scenario. You go home
tonight and ask your wife if you're still as clever and sound as good as
you always did. You know she'll say you are and do. Now tomorrow, when
you shave, look at yourself good and hard in the mirror and ask that guy
the same question. And do it over and over and over. Go in and ask
the sound guy the same question - will you believe his answer, when you
know you just lost listenership yesterday? What's happening to your
self-confidence, Bubba? Are you maybe losing that, too?
"So maybe instead of making cracks that are just so, so fresh and funny,
you should dig up the old Frank Zappa song from 1968:
What's the ugliest part of your body?
Some say it's your nose
Some say it's your toes
I think it's your mind."
..........She posted that on the radio program's FaceBook page - where it lasted all of ten minutes before Bubba pulled it and wrote the following private response:
"I am not sure that you heard the entire conversation. [ED - she did] I am the one who completely supported women and said that I think women over think it and think women are beautiful. I mean that genuinely. The topic came up not by me, but based on conversations the women are having all the time. I was not trying to be witty, or funny or clever. I was just trying (whenever I could) to tell women that you are amazing no matter what imperfection you perceive yourself having.
My goal was to be more of an impartial host allowing those that wanted to participate in the conversation to do so and to be supportive and understanding. Not necessarily funny. Thank you for your feedback as you have given me a lot to think about. I am sorry you feel this way. - bubba"
He obviously completely missed the point - if only video *had* killed the radio star.....