A Sticky Situation

*First off, I would like to say that I am not writing this article to “fat shame” or put down anyone. I believe ALL human beings are beautiful and beauty isn’t confined to a particular look. The aim of this article is to give a friend or relative’s perspective on a scenario. It is merely written to seek advice, not support a specific position. Hence, why I included perspectives from both sides. Hope you enjoy and if you can relate, please give your thoughts.*


Recently, the idea of embracing your physical features has been promoted more than ever. The Dove ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, the emergence of a plus sized model on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, and the growth of fashionable plus sized clothing stores like Torrid are all prime examples. I personally agree with the idea of loving yourself and having a sense of self worth. Having confidence in yourself or a sense of self worth helps tackle the issue of depression and can prevent a variety of other major issues concerning mental health. However, there are possible downsides that some refuse to consider concerning elements of health that are in your control.  

The first point point of possible detriment is the formation of an identity. Many people begin to love themselves and the way they look to a point where it becomes a part of who they are. For example, the plus sized model (let’s say 210 pounds) has an identity and her career based on her niche in the plus sized fashion community. As a result of gaining fame and forming an identity based on physical features, she may make the conscious decision to maintain that image. At the time, she may not be experiencing health issues, but would it be different if she was 100 pounds heavier and formed her identity around that?

Another issue is the promotion of a particular look in mainstream media. I totally agree with the concept of fair representation. And in fact, the physical features of models displayed on television do not coincide with the looks of the average American. Since we are using women as an example, the average weight for a woman over the age of 20 in America is 166 pounds. I’m pretty sure that’s a bit heavier than the typical woman you’d see on the average American ad or runway.

Despite agreeing with fair representation, I do believe that we should look out for the interests of the public. Therefore, it’s difficult to wrap my head around the mass promotion of a look that is typically associated with or can potentially lead to future health problems. There are also health issues associated with exerting too much effort into maintaining a certain image. It’s a toss up of whether I should promote the idea of loving yourself or a look that’s healthy.

I’m sure many people are either in this situation or knows someone who is/ has been in this scenario.This is not meant to objectify or speak from a woman’s perspective. This is merely an example, and the rhetoric could be equally as applicable to men. So, where do we draw the line? At what point does practicality trump mental health? Is it possible to promote both sides? Lastly, how do we continue from the current point or implement your position? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  • Kwe

The Irritation Game

So before I start (or before you start reading) I want to make something clear. This post is an opinion, and is not cited nearly as well as I would like. This is also, in my opinion, not a very well constructed post in general. This was written some time ago and in posts going forward I will have detailed citations to back up my arguments.


The way we, as a society and as individuals, consume and disperse information needs to fundamentally change. If we look at the state of modern discourse (as highlighted ever so well by the conversations happening around the 2016 US election), we see a culture of outrage and vitriol, and large groups of angry people yelling and pointing at other large groups of angry people. In addition, no one group of angry people yelling has a full set of information and is only operating on partial sets of information that increasingly does not overlap or cover the whole picture. Simply put, this is unsustainable. The question is, how did we get here and how do we begin to bridge the widening political gap?

Now, the nature of US news had never been strictly held to any significant standards of party neutrality as there were many partisan newspapers. However, when broadcast news rolled around onto the radio, there was first regulation that forbid editorializing, which was later replaced by the Fairness Doctrine. The Fairness Doctrine allowed editorializing, but stipulated that an opposing viewpoint be represented in those situations. There was no stipulation on giving the opposing view equal time, but operated that simply exposing listeners (and later viewers, once television came about) to opposing views was beneficial. This doctrine was overturned in 1986 under the administration of Ronal Reagan, under the logic that the government making and enforcing this sort of rule was infringing on free expression (and without getting too deep into the details, I partially agree with that logic). After the legislation was overturned, nothing was put in place to replace it and the world moved on.

What the legislators at the time could not have foreseen where 2 very significant things. The first was the creation of Fox News on cable in 1996 (bear with me here, I know it looks like I’m going to throw conservatives under the bus, but I’m not). The second was the rise of the internet in the mid to late 90’s. Fox News, then went on to prove something every businessperson worth their money knows: if you give consumers what they want, your business will profit and grow. As such, other news stations began to imitate this behavior, MSNBC being a notable cable news competitor (and it was actually founded a few months before Fox), took on this strategy in a less successful attempt to replicate the success of Fox. I realize that these are cable news outlets and not subject to broadcast regulation, but please bear with me a bit longer. Now as this trend was making itself apparent, internet usage became more common in individual households, and internet news was beginning to grow. While it wouldn’t grow to threaten traditional newspapers, radio, and television news yet it was becoming a noteworthy occurrence in the news media market. Eventually, television, radio, and internet news came together and news outlets generally had to have all three in order to be competitive. Now, because they were not subject to any regulations, news entities could televise, broadcast, and post whatever they wanted with whatever political spin they wanted. This trend not only allowed news media to tell people what they wanted to hear, it allowed them to begin putting them in politically exclusive bubbles, to get people agitated and angry over what “the other” group was saying or doing, and to claim that they and they alone were the only source of truly objective reporting.

Now that brings us today, where a lot of much younger online only news sites have sprung up, passing opinion blogging as journalism (yes I see the irony in saying that, though I would not consider myself a journalist), serving to further polarize readers. They do this by feeding on the addictive feeling of righteous outrage. At this point, I highly recommend you watch this video and/or read this article/blog post as they put the action-reaction nature and psychology of this much better than I could. The short version being: anger is addictive, and we begin to build totemic strawmen of opposition amongst groups who agree with us to further feed our anger addiction. This is an issue because anger bypasses rational thought, which each and every person is capable of when calm. So how do we move away from the addiction to outrage, and the ritualistic hatred of opposition from within our own bubbles? We venture out of our comfort zone, we listen to and engage with opinions we disagree with in good faith and with an open mind, and we become self-aware enough to recognize our anger begins to bypass our capacity for rational thought and discussion. That was the purpose this site was established for, and after being disappointed in the dialogue in the media and among my peers, that is my cause going forward. Feel free to comment, give feedback, criticism, or counterarguments, I welcome all of it.


  • David