Too Fat To Cheer? CBS Houston Polls Readers On Cheerleader's Weight
Kelsey is a dancer for the OKC Thunder Girls with an enviable physique. But this week, she's not getting press for her moves between quarters. Rather, she's the subject of ridicule by CBS Houston (in a post that stated that they're simply reporting the "word on the streets of OKC") for being too chunky to cheer. Or is she? Claire Crawford, the writer at CBS Houston who took on this hard-hitting story, wasn't ready to make a solo judgement.
So she asked her readership to vote. Too chunky to cheer? Or just the right amount of jelly? (I'm loosely paraphrasing here, but not as loosely as you might hope.)
The thing is, it doesn't matter how blatantly not-chunky Thunder Girl Kelsey is. It doesn't even matter that she's a professional NBA cheerleader with a skin-showing uniform. What matters here, is that it's none of anyone's freaking business if she's got junk in her trunk except for her and her doctor.
What matters is that this week in Houston, young, healthy, athletic women and girls saw Kelsey being called out as fat and decided that they could probably stand to lose a few. The 16 percent of women who still feel confident enough to wear bathing suits in public threatens to dwindle with each and every story of this nature.
What matters is that, because the author of the CBS Houston posting was a fellow woman, her post immediately opened up a discussion in her comments section and on Twitter about Crawford's own appearance and weight, and therefore her ability and/or right to judge someone else's. (Hint: It doesn't matter what you look like. No one has that right.)
What matters here is that we've created an environment for women where it is totally OK for people to criticize our bodies for pageviews.
This week, Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero also posted about body image in a way that got my inbox moving. As an overweight woman, Haley has long been the subject of body snarking and ridicule and has set out to bait and photograph those who mock her appearance. The results are eye-opening, to say the least -- even New York's finest, committed to protect and to serve, can't help but have a chuckle at Morris-Cafiero's expense.
I've been clinically obese and clinically underweight, and the one thing that both of those sizes had in common was that people on the street stared at me and commented on my eating habits as if it were their right to do so. This is not OK. There's just as much vitriol in "Eat a sandwich!" as "Are you sure you should be eating that?" -- and neither is appropriate. The American approach to body image is fiercely lacking, and Crawford's poll on Thunder Girl Kelsey's right to wear her uniform at her weight is a shining example of how even women are guilty of body snarking and ridiculing their peers for shock value without a second thought to how it effects the overall treatment of our gender.
Upholding my faith in humanity, commenters on CBS appeared equally quick to call out the post for the click-bait garbage that it was as they were to respond to the poll.
Well, Hillywilly, I didn't say ALL of you were upholding my faith in humanity.
Thunder Girl Kelsey, if you ever read this, I hope you took that poll for what it was -- idiotic. Rock on with your bad self.
[Update: CBS Houston appears to have removed all evidence of the post, and Claire Crawford's Twitter account has gone dark. I'm quoting the post below as it appeared on CBS Houston this morning for reference:
The Rockets looked terrible in Game 1, but some say they weren’t the only bad-looking people on the court.
We’re not trying to be ugly. We are just discussing what men like in women, specifically NBA cheerleaders.
This pretty blonde has been criticized by some folks in OKC for having “pudginess” around her waistline. But if she’s comfortable wearing that tiny outfit and dancing for NBA fans, then good for her.
Her photo before the season started.
Besides…not every man likes women to be toothpick skinny. In fact, I’d say most men prefer a little extra meat on her bones. Am I right?
What do you think? Is this chick “too chunky” to be a cheerleader?
Either way, I wish she had a little more up on top, if you know what I mean…
We think she’s beautiful. What do you think?
(Before the post was deleted in full, an editor's note appeared noting the deletion of Crawford's commentary about wishing Kelsey had "more on top".)
The following poll then appeared on the page:
TO BE CLEAR, THAT IS AN IMAGE OF CBS' POLL, NOT AN ACTIVE POLL BY THIS AUTHOR. //update.