Sunday, May 27, 2007

Update from Meme Roth

Meme Roth responds to my angry letter and writes:

Thank you for taking the time to write, Ms. XXXXX.

I understand that you are upset. And while I believe my comments can be controversial, I'd also like to be certain it's my comments we're talking about. Also, I do believe it's fair, and even crucial, that we talk about child/teen obesity in this country, regardless if it's taboo to use the word "overweight." For the record... I was invited onto news shows to discuss child obesity and the American Idol show.

I have only ever used the words "tragedy" or "nightmare" to describe America's child obesity epidemic, not a person, and not a performer on American Idol. Nor have I used the word "obese" to describe Jordin Sparks. Nor have I said her size should prevent her from winning. I stand 100% behind only the statements I made, nothing scripted to introduce any interview.

National Action Against Obesity's mandate is to 1) Rid schools of Junk Food; 2) Eliminate "Fake Food" from the food supply that contributes to obesity and disease; 3) Eradicate Secondhand Obesity-- obesity handed down from one generation to the next...or across the culture; Plus) Promote exercise across all ages.

I have said and will continue to say that Jordin Sparks is an amazing talent and effervescent personality. Her extra weight is a reflection of today's society and a culture where many of our children have compromised health due to unhealthful food choices and inactivity.

What seems in comparison to morbid obesity to be "just a little extra weight" does indeed increase our children's odds significantly for diabetes, heart disease, etc...and even more so if someone is Latino, African American, Asian or Native American. We now are seeing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and of course, type II diabetes, in our children at rates like never before.

The context of the comment about Jordin's imminent weight loss was aimed at unhealthful Hollywood handlers.

Hope the holiday wknd is good to you. And thanks again for sharing your viewpoint.



By all means champion exercise and better food options at schools but don't trot out a beautiful young woman like Jordin Sparks and make an "example" out of her. If you need an example, where were you Jerry Falwell died? Didn't he have heart problems? Or is it just easier attacking 17 year old girl? You may have never uttered the words "she is obese" but you insinuated it many times. At one point you said, "She is not the vision of health, she's the vision of unhealth."

You owe this young woman an apology or your cause has lost all credibility.

PS: From what I've read in the comment threads at feministe, this woman had no credibility to start with anyway.... sigh.


Allie said...

That seems to be her form letter, I think somebody else in the feministe thread got it as well. Maybe this means she's getting so much email about the subject she can't possibly read it all...or maybe she's just avoiding real discussion. Who knows.

hipparchia said...

"National Action Against Obesity's mandate is to 1) Rid schools of Junk Food; 2) Eliminate "Fake Food" from the food supply that contributes to obesity and disease; 3) Eradicate Secondhand Obesity-- obesity handed down from one generation to the next...or across the culture; Plus) Promote exercise across all ages."

Those are all noble goals, and I agree with her on 1, 2, and 4 [which she labeled "plus"].

But yes, she was way out of line with that remark about looking at Jordin and seeing heart disease, diabetes, etc. Besides, evidence is piling up that diet and exercise are more important than weight.

Adrienne said...

Um, hello Ruben Studdard?

I was just talking to a health professional who was urging me not to set my goal weight loss at 75 lbs. He clucked and said, 'You're one of the few women left in the world brave enough to wear your curves.'

Hopefully Jordin knows that so many people are rolling their eyes at Meme. I remember when I was 17 if someone even insinuated that I was overweight I would freak out, I can't imagine if someone said it on National TV.

The Angry Belly said...

Meme Roth clearly has some type of psychological disorder. She is an outright bigot. How can you issue an opinion on a person’s medical condition by looking at them. Resist the Cult of the emaciated!

The Angry Belly, The Angry
"Because Fat People Need Heroes Too!"

Anonymous said...

two words "dumb bitch". Lucky she was not talking about my child. I would kick her little skinny butt . You bo not pick on kids

Anonymous said...

Below a letter to Ms. Roth

I don’t watch American Idol unless I’m being held captive at an airline gate or waiting in a long line at the grocery store (where I of course will have avoided the central aisles and shopped only along the vegetable, fruit and whole grain laden periphery). But I couldn’t avoid this latest tempest in the teapot of American pop culture involving your founder Ms. Roth and the recent winner of American Idol, Jordin Sparks.

MeMe Roth is of course correct in her estimation that Americans eat too much, surround themselves with easily accessible empty calories and are sedentary. But her vicious sand bagging of a young women of color, has done your organization’s efforts to raise awareness of these problems and to correct them more harm than good, especially among communities of color where the hectoring attack on national television of a 17 year old talented girl of color by a skinny, white, mean spirited, blond, suburban drone named “MeMe” will be dismissed as the delusional rant of an unfulfilled scold – to put not too fine a point on it. I don’t necessarily agree with every aspect of this assessment, but as someone who shares your concern about obesity and about the junk food industry’s stalking of young children, I assure you that is how she came off. By any reasonable, informed estimation unbiased by prejudice for bone thinness as the feminine ideal, Jordin Sparks is not obese or fat as Ms. Roth clearly implied. As a self appointed nutrition expert --forgive me but I’m unaware of any academic or professional credentials that vouch for Ms. Roth’s expertise -- she should be familiar with the developing consensus that some people will never drop below a certain weight unless they starve themselves.

One is left to wonder whether Ms. Roth is completely unaware of the other food-related epidemic that grips American culture, as thousands of once happy, assertive girls grow into neurotic, anorexic and bulimic young women starving themselves to perfection and causing their families anguish and panic. One is also left to wonder whether Ms. Roth has chosen to exorcise her own food demons not just on the backs of the dangerously obese, but on the lives of healthy women and girls who have chosen to eschew the obsessive pursuit of rail thin waifishness and compulsive exercise that perhaps Ms. Roth has adopted in favor of the normal development of breasts, hips, thighs and buttocks. Perhaps she is resentful of women who have, despite the best efforts of fashion advertising, managed to avoid an aversion to their own bodies. And if Ms. Roth finds my speculation, and, no doubt, the unkind speculation that countless other people are making about her, about her personal life and her mental health (or lack thereof) intrusive or offensive, perhaps she will come to understand the limits of her armchair medical practice, will give us a break from her self aggrandizing tedium, and return to doing something that has even a meager chance of convincing people to eat a wide variety of healthy foods and exercise regularly. We can only hope.

Hampton Smith

Anonymous said...

Humph! I got that same "form" letter from Ms. Roth. Now I didn't send her a death threat, but I did tell her she looked like an f***ing cadaver and needed to gain 20 lbs. I guess for her weight gain is the same as death eh? Of course, she's gonna keep up with her spin. Meme hears only what she wants to hear, sees only what she wants to see and she wants to see a nation of spindleshanks and hear women hating themselves for not being thin. what a sad life she leads.

Tobes said...

Hampton Smith = my hero

Anonymous said...

Has Meme Roth or the drones that support her ever read The Obesity
Myth by Paul Campos? He shows proof
that a fat and fit person is actually healthier than a skinny person living a sedentary lifestyle?

Meme Roth is warped. As a straight
black woman, I found her comments
about Jordin Sparks to be incredibly sexist. Where was she when fat Ruben Studdard won? And since she's so "concerned" about the so-called obesity epidemic
to be mis-guided and delusional.

If she's so concerned, then why
not put pressure on Congress to
make health-care affordable for
ALL Americans, or boycott inner-city fast food restaurants.

She also believes that we should
boycott Redbook, a magazine that
used its own employees as models because some of the models were
"overweight." She really sounds
supportive of women. Glad to
know that the next generation
of women are going to hate
their bodies!