As we all know, the internet is full of morons that spout some ridiculous and disgusting views. Twitter in particular, seems to have a high concentration of them and right now, the biggest twitter twat is a man by the name of Kenneth Tong.
Tong, for those who don’t know (and I didn’t really know who he was until a couple of days ago), was a contestant on Big Brother – one who didn’t last on the show very long. The last few days he has caused outrage on twitter by posting tweets encouraging women to be a size zero and championing what he calls “managed anorexia”, as well as promoting diet pills. As a result, he has become one of the most talked about subjects on the website, for all the wrong reasons. His views are so abhorrent that I have even found myself tweeting him telling him exactly what I think of him. And as people who know me will tell you, I am not like that at all.
Usually, I would try not to draw any more attention to someone as idiotic as Tong, mainly as that is what people like him thrive on. However, in this case, I made an exception. What shocked me most about his tweets is just how ignorant he is about eating disorders. Anorexia is NOT a lifestyle choice – nobody wakes up one morning and decides that they’re going to become anorexic. It is an illness. The way Tong talks about it, it’s as if he thinks people can manage it the way they manage their time, or the music on their iPods. Furthermore, it’s pretty clear from his tweets just how he views women in general. Needless to say, the content of his timeline is at best ridiculous and at worst downright dangerous. Even if his one man crusade to make women starve themselves skeletal turns out to be some sick wind up (and I already think he’s well on his way to being sectioned), there will no doubt be some young girls who will have been taken in by his words.
Sadly, Tong is just one of many people on the internet who peddle the notion that to be so thin that your bones are on show is to be beautiful. Type the word “thinspiration” into any search engine and you’ll find listed a whole load of pro-anorexia websites. I once accidentally stumbled upon such a site when searching for something else. The content knocked me sick. The media – especially the tabloids – have a lot to answer for too. I have lost count of the amount of times I have seen an article in a newspaper expressing concern about the number of young girls worried about their weight – only to turn the page to find an article berating a female celebrity for daring to wear a bikini when she clearly doesn’t have a size eight figure. The Daily Mail in particular is notorious for this sort of thing.
What is worse though, is seeing clothing retailers endorsing size zero by making clothes for the super skinny. I was horrified to see Asda were selling some of its clothing range in a size four (which is officially size zero according to the British dress size system). Retailers would use the argument that they are trying to cater for all shapes and sizes, and I can understand that. However when even a supermarket chain is prepared to offer some of its clothing, especially those aimed at a younger market, in ultra tiny sizes it is disturbing to say the least.
When you take all these things into consideration, it is no surprise that there are so many girls out there who are worried about their bodies – and so many like Tong who are intent on exploiting their insecurities. Hopefully, Tong will soon have his account shut down thanks to the sheer might of the Twitterati’s decent majority. It won’t remove the “thinspiration” menace outright, but it will be a start.
In the meantime, I shall end my blog post by linking to this one:
UPDATE: Earlier today (11/01/2011) the odious Mr Tong declared via Twitter that his little pro-anorexia crusade was a hoax – a “social experiment”. He said that he did it for a bet after a discussion with one of his friends (this guy has friends?) , over whether someone can become a internationally famous (or maybe infamous in his case) figure through using the internet and twitter in particular. He then went on to say that he finds anorexia to be “a disgusting and illogical idea” and said that he would be making a donation to a charity that helps people suffering from eating disorders.
I suppose at this point all of us who condemned him should be feeling a bit stupid at having fallen for it and allowing him his fifteen minutes of fame in this way. Truth is, I don’t. Because like I said in my original post, hoax or not, there are people out there who would have been taken in by the “thinspiration” bollocks that Tong was spouting. He was encouraging girls to starve themselves, and responded to those who had a pop at him for what he was doing (both famous and non famous alike) by mocking their weight. For him to abuse people and make them feel bad about themselves, only to then turn round and say “LOL JK”, is actually a very twattish thing to do. Fact is, it takes a pretty sick mind to use a serious illness as the basis for a wind up. And if Tong had anything about him, he would have realised just how upset people were getting and killed off his little “bet” before now. But I guess he just loved the attention too much.
Anyway, he’s had his fifteen minutes. Now he can crawl back under the rock where he belongs. Or fall under a double decker bus. (I personally prefer the latter).