The Medium is the Message
The Medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal social consequences of any medium (that is, of any extension of ourselves) results from the scale that is introduced into our way of being, by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.
So, Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuan made a significant statement published in 1967 when he stated that the medium is the message. The medium influences how it is the message is perceived. We create our own influential information based upon what it is that we perceive and this has been going on for a long period of time, especially in regards to how it is that we perceive weight.
Think about your influencers.
This morning I sat down and wrote out a list of weight based statements and I started to reflect upon how many of them I have heard especially from movies, music, magazines and television. Messages that influence what is acceptable and not acceptable in how we look. Take a look at my list, maybe you could add even more;
Tubby, twiggy, fatty, porky, rolly polly, sausage fingers, lard ass, butterball, his ass is coming out the front of his shirt, battle of the bulge, canckles, thick, blubber butt, love handles, double chin, saddle bags, porridge thighs, thigh gap, fat, portly, camel toe, muffin top, bingo wings, lollipop head, skeleton, booty, beanpole, whale, itty bitty titty committee, surf board thunder thighs, con-caved ass, two asses, Annies (anorexics), back ass, big man, baby face, pudgy, cow, a moment on the lips forever on the hips, chunky.
Some of these come from cartoons from the news paper, some come from names given to actors or models, and some from movies. I always wonder if the medium reflects society or society reflects the medium, but for sure these descriptors are influencers. Statements of what you don’t want to be or body descriptions that you don’t want to have, these are the ways in which we keep one another in line, reflected in the ways in which we talk to one another either through social media or our reflections of what we have experienced.
Tubby was a nickname for a character in the comic strip ‘Lou Lou’ (1935), it wasn’t meant to be derogatory name but as read, did reflect the characters weight. The point is is that we have since taken it to the school yard but perhaps the question is, was it already from the school yard? And most probably it was. And then twisted into a derogatory term meant to impose shame and guilt, no longer cute and fun cartoon fodder.
The message goes both ways, you can’t be too tall, nor too short, you can’t be too large or too small, you can’t be too hippy or too busty or not busty enough, you can’t be too thin and you certainly can’t be too fat.
The ‘norm’ is decided based upon the context which can change at any moment. ‘Fat shaming’ doesn’t actually have to come from people who fit the social norm, fat shaming can actually come from anybody, even if they are fat. It’s an ‘at least I’m not you’ statement. This reminds me of a South Park episode where a kid in a wheel chair made fun of a fat kid, he couldn’t walk but at least he wasn’t fat.
Whatever the medium, the message is the same, the message is not ‘we are all created equal’ and no matter how much you weigh you’re okay,. The message is that there are societal norms and if you choose to stray outside of those norms then there will be shaming.
The other side of this message is the question of what is healthy? And I think that the societal norm actually is reflective of what has been identified as healthy. Our ‘medium is the message’ statement does not do a very good job in this arena and so the message has been very hard to hear.
The message of what is healthy is continually being confused with what is attractive.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.