Now that classes have ended for the semester, I have regained my ability to read for fun! As a result of this new-found free time and renewed joy in leisure reading I have spent a ridiculous amount of time at various bookstores over the last few weeks.
Yesterday I found myself at Barnes & Noble for an hour or so, just to get out of the house. I really didn’t want to add to that already GIGANTIC pile of books to be read, so I decided to spend some time looking at books that I knew I would never want to buy. This is how I ended up flipping through Glenn Beck’s An Inconvenient Book: Real Solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems. (Link goes to the Google Books preview.)
First off: save your money. Glenn doesn’t actually solve a single problem, he just complains a lot about how messed up our culture is and makes extravagant claims about how conservatism could fix everything from troubled marriages to oil dependency.
What struck me the most, though, is the whole chapter in his book devoted to body image.
That’s right, the man who just recently spent eight minutes pretending to vomit on his show, in response to a skin cancer PSA that Meghan McCain took part in. In the PSA McCain wore a tube-top and positioned her body so as to appear naked (the point of the PSA was to equate leaving the house without sunscreen to leaving the house without clothes.)
[I'm not the BIGGEST Meghan McCain fan, but her response to Beck has made me like her that much more!]
Beck continued on to advise her to:
“Put some extra clothes on. Like, lots of extra clothes … has she thought about a burqa, just to be extra safe.”
Meanwhile, in his book (which came out before this whole mess) Beck wrote about the need for the modeling industry to truly enforce standards that promote models who look like the “average” American woman (… like Meghan McCain?) or, at the very least, discourage models from becoming life-threateningly thin. He also talks a bit about the societal pressures that young women face in regards to their body image. (You can read most of the chapter for free, here!)
Yes, he said plenty of problematic things in this chapter too: for instance, constantly referring to young girls as “prostitots” complete with a “charming little drawing that shows a “prostitot” growing up. However, mixed in with the problematic messages, there seemed to be a man who genuinely wanted his daughters to grow up in a world where they could feel comfortable in their bodies.
How is this the same man who went on to fake vomit in response to a woman’s body on his national radio show?
Glenn gives some pretty solid advice in his book, bringing the responsibility for protecting young people’s body image onto the parents:
“My family has an unwritten rule, if you wouldn’t spend time with someone in real life, then don’t let them into the living room via your television set either. It seems simple, but these days we’re not just letting people into our living rooms; we’re letting them right into our kid’s bedrooms. [...] Celebrities only have power because we give it to them.”
- Glenn Beck, page 67 of An Inconvenient Book.
This isn’t the whole solution, but cutting out negative media messages is a great start to helping to shape positive self-esteem for yourself and those around you. May I suggest starting by cutting Glenn Beck out of your lives? (After all, you wouldn’t want him vomiting all over your living room!)
Also, a sidenote to anyone else with a WordPress powered blog: working in the new distraction free mode really is convenient. I love how the sidebar slides down the page with you as you type!