Friday, 4 January 2013

Notable Women of 2012- Jennifer Livingston (Part Three of Five)

  In late September, Jennifer Livingston of WKBT-TV in La Crosse, Wisconsin received an e-mail from a viewer. The subject line was 'Community Responsibility' and it was written by Kenneth Krause, who took exception to her weight. In it he said, "It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years. Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle".

  Jennifer tried her best to "laugh off the very hurtful attack on my appearance," but with the encouragement of her colleagues she went on air to discuss it: "The truth is I am overweight. You can call me fat and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart. To the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? Your cruel words are pointing out something I don’t see? You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family, and you admitted that you don’t watch this show so you know nothing about me besides what you see on the outside– and I am much more than a number on a scale…To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, even the acne on your face, listen to me right now. Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies. Learn from my experience, that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many."

  When this story broke Jennifer received an outpouring of support. Kenneth Krause, the man who wrote the e-mail apologized shortly afterwards, saying he didn't intend to offend her and he's battled weight issues most of his life.

  Whether or not she was bullied has been debated. Regardless, Jennifer Livingston makes our list because she used a negative situation to gracefully and constructively pass her message of self-worth on to others.

Reference:  Forbes article

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