By NATALIA HAWK
That’s the word currently making headlines around the world after a blogger decided to use it in the same sentence as the word “cheerleader”.
Here’s what happened.
Claire Crawford, a writer for US news site CBS Houston, wrote a blog post about a cheerleader named Kelsey Williams and used this photo of Kelsey to accompany it.
In the blog post (which has since been taken down), Crawford asked if Kelsey was “too chunky” to be a cheerleader. Because according to Crawford, Kelsey “has been criticized by some folks for having ‘pudginess’ around her waistline.”
The blog post included a poll question which asked readers what they thought of Kelsey’s weight. The optional answers included: “she could use some tightening up in her midsection” and “she has no business wearing that outfit in front of people”.
The Internet saw the post and collectively lost their shit.
There were hundreds of comments on the post, as well as hundreds of votes on the poll. News outlets from Canada to Australia covered the story as a lead news item, slamming Crawford for calling Kelsey fat. There were calls for her resignation.
The only problem here? Crawford never actually said called Kelsey ‘chunky’. She simply made the observation that Kelsey had been critiqued by “some folks” in Oklahoma and used it as a starting point for a story. She was the messenger, reporting on a community reaction to one girl’s weight.
There was tsunami of news coverage about her “pre-Olympic body” and how it didn’t look fit enough. Toned enough. Skinny enough.
And then Leisel dived into the pool and proceeded to win her 9th Olympic medal.
Good one, world. Because why should we focus on how good her swimming is if we can talk about how good she looks in a swimsuit?
Similarly – Kelsey is a veteran cheerleader. She’s been doing it for many years and she’s good enough to be doing it at a professional level.
She’s also a very nice person, judging by her reaction to the media storm over the last few days. She tweeted: