Thursday, October 18, 2012

What Does Fat have to do With Moderating a Presidential Debate?

I have a new piece up at Furgivore

Even before Tuesday’s Presidential debate, people had already taken to twitter to complain about the moderator Candy Crowley. Debates are polarizing events because each side is absolutely desperate for their candidate to prove himself and to score points against his opponent. In many cases, despite the best intentions of the moderator, they are hopelessly caught in the middle between two opposing forces. Citizens should have been concerned with moderator bias, soft ball questions or an inability to reign in the candidates, but none of the aforementioned issues was the overriding concern with Crowley. The overwhelming stated issue with Candy Crowley was her weight. Apparently, a fat woman had no right to moderate and take up space on such a large national stage.

Crowley is CNN’s chief political correspondent, specializing in U.S. presidential, gubernatorial, and Senate elections but that is not what people saw when she was chosen to moderate the debate. What people saw was her weight and based in the idea that fat people have nothing to offer socially, they decided to attack. Shock was even expressed that she was a fat vegetarian, as though such an occurrence is illogical and wrong. Everything that Crowley has achieved in her 60+ years on this planet was erased in order to fat shame her.

Though gender was largely absent from the conversation surrounding the choice of moderator, make no mistake about it, the fact that Crowley is a woman further encouraged the fat shaming. The policing of female bodies has become quite the national hobby, despite how harmful this is for girls and women. It’s about keeping women off balanced and focused on issues that are largely out of our control. Some of it is coded in the language of health, as though everyone despite education and experience, has the knowledge of a doctor. If it were easy for everyone to be skinny, considering the shaming and the attacks, rest assured that no one would be fat.

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