The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Stephen_Hawkins
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

The media should portray Adele's body image more responsibly

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Stephen_Hawkins
Started: 2/14/2012 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,775 times Debate No: 21149
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (5)
Votes (3)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Last week, writing in an Italian newspaper, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld described pop singer Adele as "a little too fat". (1) Herr Lagerfeld's remarks were, of course, outrageous: Adele is not a little too fat, she's much too fat.

This matters because Adele is a bad role model for young girls who might think that being overweight is no barrier to becoming a successful female pop singer as a result of the positive media coverage of this voluminous vocalist.

Just last weekend, for example, Adele, who is English, disgraced herself and her country when she hauled her considerable bulk onto the stage at the Grammy awards in front of a worldwide audience of millions and clomped about like some sort of warbling warthog in a dress - and what's more the show's presenters conspicuously failed to make any derogatory remarks about her weight. (2)

The fact is successful female pop stars are almost universally been nice and slim and so have been excellent role models for teenage girls because they send the message that being slim is desirable - and that encourages girls to lead healthy lives that include plenty of exercise and a balanced diet.

Personally, I enjoy listening to Adele singing but the sad reality is that she is overweight, and that can lead to serious health problems, and for that reason the media should be more responsible and portray her unhealthy body image in a negative light.

Thank you.

(1) http://www.bbc.co.uk...
(2) http://www.bbc.co.uk...
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

I thank my opponent for an interesting debate topic. However, I wish to clarify the resolution of the wording responsibly to be synonymous with truthfully. This is to make sure we stay on the topic that we are discussing at present, and to stop any cases of squirelling.

My opponent's argument seems to come down to the clash point that people will imitate Adele. In other words, that Adele is a role model. But what is a role model? A definition of "role model" is someone worthy of imitation. That's because people wish to imitate the good aspects of a person’s character, such as their ability to sing or to play football, and not the aspects that are socially unacceptable, such as eating habits. I'd like to imitate Boris Johnson for the fact that he is a great politician. If he started doing pot through a bong, then not only would I'd be laughing too hard to coherently write this argument, but I would continue not doing pot. Why? Because we imitate the good aspects of people. Not the bad. With the case of Adele, if I bring up the youtube feed on her song "Rolling in the deep":


"Thumbs up if you listen this song after she won 6 grammy awards"
"I like her voice and lyrics cause she's genuine..if I ever had a second chance with an old soulmate, I would jump at it..cause I am now able to lay all the cards on the table and tell all of the truth"
"One Word to describe her "Amazing"...thimbs up if u think so..its rite"

The video, with 235,000,000 hits, that's 235 million, and rising, is one that is popular for her rise through adversity, not through her weight.

In addition, young people are not solely influenced by celebrities. They do not look up to one person alone, but a range of people, such as parents, friends, teachers and members of the community. Simply by changing the image of Adele, there would not be any improvement made, and it is simply using a scapegoat for the problems of people. This problem is not one that shall disappear by simply showing Adele as being a larger woman.
Also, my opponent criticises Adele for being "some sort of warbling warthog in a dress", then criticising the media for "fail[ing] to make any derogatory remarks about her weight". I contend this is because her weight is not important. The media, including youtube and the music industry, have her singing alone almost all the time. Why? It increases the simplicity of the music, recognising the beauty of such things. If they made her a "warbling warthog", then that would be completely pointless and specifically an attempt to be derogatory for no reason. Criticising people for something completely unrelated to their role is something that I abhor, and wish my opponent can justify this in the second round.

Secondly, my opponent contends that "female pop stars...encourage girls to lead healthy lives". I would make a very important amendment to this. Female pop stars encourage girls to lead 'skinny' lives. Health has nothing to do with it. The size 0 obsession is one that has caused many problems. We've created a society which is pro-size 0, something which is a known cause of anorexia.[1]. The health risks are similar to that of starvation[1]. It can only be a good thing we are moving towards moderation, and allow people to see that size 0 is not important. Let's abandon this care for wieght at all. And the first step for doing this is by pacifying the interest of wieght among the media - and the lack of interest by the bbc reporters is a good start.

In short, I am glad the media has a lack of interest in her wieght, and wish this lack of interest was more widespread. Secondly, I hope that my opponent realises that the argument that she is a role model is not important - people follow celebrities for their talent, not their weaknesses.


1 - http://anorexia.emedtv.com...;
2 - http://www.disordered-eating.co.uk...;
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I extend my sincere thanks to Stephen Hawkins for accepting this debate and I would like to reply to his arguments as follows:

During the eighties, a typical teenage girl in Britain bought into George Michael's wholesome, ‘boy next door' image, purchased all his records good and bad (they were mainly the latter) put posters of him up on their bedroom walls and dreamt of the day when they would become his wife. Little did they know that, in reality, George Michael was both a screaming homosexual and hopeless drug addict. Of course, this was all hushed up and his fans may never have realised that they he had jewed out of their pocket money if he had never been arrested for performing unspeakable gay acts in a gentlemen's public lavatory and also been exposed queering up some bloke in a public park (1) and, subsequently, been jailed for a series of drug offences. (2)

Similarly, during the nineties teenage girls swooned over the members of the boy band, Boyzone, blissfully unaware that one of its members, Stephen Gately, was a roaring poof. (3)

During the 2000's many teenage boys emulated the style and mannerisms of ‘gangsta rappers' who drove fast cars, dripped in ‘bling' and were surrounded by ‘bitches' and who glorified gun crime, even though most of these artists were law-abiding citizens.

I could go on, almost ad infinitum, but the point is fans of pop stars do not, as my opponent suggests, admire their ability to sing or play a musical instrument alone, they are fans of the celebrity as an individual: the plethora of fan clubs, tabloid newspaper gossip columns and celebrity chit-chat magazines is evidence of that fact.

My opponent's second point was that female role models who are slender and attractive (or "skinny" as he termed them) can lead to teenage girls developing anorexia. This may be a problem, but it is a very minor one compared to the problem of obesity in young girls. Statistics show that around 1% of girls suffers from anorexia whereas over 15% of girls are classified as obese. (4).

That's why the media should be taking more responsibility in the way they portray female role models, especially pop stars, praising the healthy body images of the nice fit ones by condemning the unhealthy body images of porcine performers like Adele.

Thank you.

(1) http://www.canada.com...
(2) http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
(3) http://abcnews.go.com...
(4) http://www.ic.nhs.uk...
(5) http://www.disordered-eating.co.uk...
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

I'll try and keep this short.

The first two paragraphs of argument hold no relevance, and are simply homophobic rants at George Michael and Boyzone (and the former is a good singer). I think it is reasonable to disregard this as a red herring used to insult a group of people.

The second two are slightly more on topic. At least he is (I will assume) stating that people will asume the roles of people who are portrayed in the media repeatedly and act as if they are them. I would like to point out that the plethora of fans of Adele are not following Adele because she is fat and sings well, but because she sings well. I can simply check the youtube feed and the twitter feeds on her and find constant applause, and the only mentions of her weight are derogatory to begin with.

My opponent points to rappers as an example to show how people imitate celebrities. Quite simply, rappers are different to pop stars, and pop stars are different to Adele. Let's look at demographics:

Hard ("Gangsta") Rap : 15-25 year old men [1]
Blatantly pop music (e.g. Lady Gaga): 15-25 year old women
Adele - 35+ people in general [2]

It's common sense to realise that with Gangsta rap, you're buying into the lifestyle as well as the music. When you get the newest 50 cent album, you're buying into 50 cent. When you get an Eminem album, you are making a statement to the "crew" you belong to. That is the market of the 'Gangsta rap'.

In contrast, pop music and Adele is more feminine, aimed more casually and more of what I'd call "water cooler music": something you can talk about generally at work. However, pop artists like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, etc. is marketed at women 15-25, unlike Adele[4]. Justin Beiber, One direction etc. aimed even younger.

However, Adele is completely different. Adele's target market is "your moms, sisters, grandmas, coworkers and dads"[3]. Adele is aimed at the older parent market: it's aimed at people of all groups, but not aiming to penetrate the teenage "boyfriend material" icon of Justin Beiber, nor the "crew" icon of gangsta rap. It's aimed at adults - responsible adults - and it alone is a good reason why people don't imitate her. Responsible adults take her to heart. And that, listeners, is why the media does not need to portray Adele more honestly of her figure: who would they be impressing? They'd be going out of their way for no reason whatsoever.

Finally, my opponent points to refute my claim by stating that "[anorexia] is a very minor one compared to the problem of obesity in young girls." then that the 15% of girls classified as obese are much more than those classed as anorexic. Now, I want to make this into a syllogism to make sure the argument is as one sees it:

P1 - If more girls are obese than anorexic, then obesity should be the problem tackled first.
P2 - More girls are obese than anorexic
P3 - Being derogatory to fat people in the media will make people thin.
C - Therefore, we should be derogatory to fat people (and therefore Adele) in the media.

Now, the premise that is problematic for me is the third one (P3). There are two reasons:
There is sufficient reason to suspect that obesity is caused by celebrities being overweight
There is sufficient reason to suspect that by being derogatory to fat people, they will lose weight.

The first assumption of P3 (the correlation equalling causation) has not been satisfied. Even with lists of trivial things that cause obesity, celebs are not one of them[5]. This removes the possibility of this argument being sound, and has not been presented to satisfaction by my opponent.

Secondly, bullying promotes obesity, not stops it. The bullying of the media would actually make it worse, it would isolate people more and more, and make obesity more of a problem in society.

In conclusion, the media should not attack Adele for being fat. This is an unfair and poor assault that the media will have done, and should be stopped. Attacking Adele will not make people thinner, but make them gain wieght, if anything. But more importantly, people see role models for what they are: being inspirational. Let's give children some credit: when they see Adele sing, they know she is a good singer, and they will not try and imitate her. But even then, kids are not the people exposed to Adele the most. It is adults. Responsible people. People who know obesity is bad for you, and this excessive parentism of the state will not enhance public health, but will detract from what is important here. Her singing talent.

Thank you.



2 - http://www.prefixmag.com...
3 - http://www.prefixmag.com...
4 - http://prezi.com...
5 - http://www.independent.co.uk...
6 - http://www.cbsnews.com...
Debate Round No. 2
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by baggins 2 years ago
baggins
Pro is apparently not a fan of late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan!

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 2 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Sorry, the sources could not be posted in the debate. Also, source 1 is:

http://www.audiblehype.com...

where the exclamation mark is an i. "no profanity" and all that.
Posted by brian_eggleston 2 years ago
brian_eggleston
Apologies for not proof-reading either of my contributions: they were both written on the hoof and contain numerous grammatical mistakes. Please deduct points for this.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 2 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
"The media should portray Adele's body image more responsibly" reworded to "The media should portray Adele's body more truthfully", in order to keep PRO's arguments 100% in-line with the motion.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by trippledubs 2 years ago
trippledubs
brian_egglestonStephen_HawkinsTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: pro did make me laugh though
Vote Placed by Mimshot 2 years ago
Mimshot
brian_egglestonStephen_HawkinsTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: "he had jewed out of their pocket money" pretty much sealed the conduct point. Pro spend most of his characters on prejudicial rants, giving con the opportunity establish the errors in pro's argument while making solid points of his own. Also, it's not like heavier contraltos are a new thing.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
brian_egglestonStephen_HawkinsTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Media critics rarely make derogatory comments about celebrity drug use or alcoholism. They report the fact, sometimes, but unless they publicly go berserk in some way, it's ho hum. Adele's weight is self-evident, so in terms of media, she's on the uncriticized plane with drug users. Will leaving Adele uncriticized counter the innumerable body images used to sell records, soap, automobiles and everything else in society? That's not plausible. Con argued the fine points well.