Friday, January 27, 2012

My faith renewed in PCRM

Just over a week ago, I posted an open letter to PCRM regarding their foray into what was formerly PETA's exclusive territory: body-shaming imagery in their campaigns. When PCRM President Dr. Neal Barnard posted  in his blog about the subject five days later, I assumed that was all the response I could hope to receive. I am happy to report that I assumed incorrectly. Yesterday, Dr. Barnard responded directly to my concerns.

I won't rehash the entire dialogue here, as many of Dr. Barnard's points were already covered in his blog. At this point, we still disagree over whether the images were shaming. But what really impressed me was his genuine acknowledgement of my concerns and his openness to discussion. In fact, Dr. Barnard closed:
Will some people be upset? They might be, and I would value your thoughts about how best to deal with that. But our focus, of course, is to try to stop a deadly problem.  
So that’s our take on it. But, needless to say, we’re all in this together. So if you have a better idea, please send it along, and we’ll certainly look at it.
I did, therefore, send along a suggestion for another way to frame the message. (Messaging is my day job, after all.) I hope that he will find it useful. I also shared with him information about the Headless Fatties Phenomenon, such as this article on research from Yale that led to the establishment of guidelines for how to responsibly present obese people in the media. I hope that he will see my point about the ineffectual and stigmatizing nature of such imagery. But even if we continue to disagree, my faith in PCRM as an organization that cares about people has been restored.

Thank you, Dr. Barnard!

UPDATE: I re-thought all of this, following a big realization.

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