Female Blogger Weight-Shames Cheerleader—Why Are Women So Mean?

Oklahoma City Thunder cheerleader Kelsey Williams (Photo by Getty Images)By now, you've heard about CBS Houston sports blogger Claire Crawford criticizing Oklahoma City Thunder cheerleader Kelsey Williams' weight in the blog post heard 'round the world.

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Last week, blogger Crawford wrote, "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. 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?" Crawford followed up with a poll asking readers whether Williams should tone up (You can see a screenshot of the post here).

On Monday evening, CBS Sports Radio 610 in Houston confirmed that a Digital Content Manager had been fired. The station wouldn't confirm who wrote the post but various news sources have identified the blogger as Anna-Megan Raley, a Digital Content Manager who blogs under the pseudonym "Claire Crawford."

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The tirade was posted just days after Delta Gamma sister Rebecca Martinson stepped down from her sorority at the University of Maryland because of her profanity-laced email calling her sisters “boring", “weird,” “mentally slow” and “stupid.” Of course, these two incidents are hardly isolated. In 2009, conservative pundit Laura Ingraham commented that Meghan McCain was “too plus-sized to be a cast member on the television show The Real World.” And in 2012, celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson told Du Jour magazine that women use pregnancy "as an excuse to let their bodies go" and that  many clients come to her with "disaster bodies." Celebrities aren't immune to weight critique either— Kim Kardashian has been routinely blasted for her pregnancy weight and in July, Kate Upton was described by Skinny Gurl blogger as having "huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs [and] terrible body definition."

Where's the sisterhood? "There are a few reasons why a woman would criticize another woman's weight," says Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., a New York City based licensed marriage and family therapist. "Unfortunately, weight seems to be our culture's accepted form of criticism, Because weight is often perceived as something people can 'control', some think they have license to judge people for it."

Hokemeyer adds, "It's also easy to be mean behind a computer. Blogging is also a one-dimensional experience that doesn't force a person to deal with the consequences of their behavior because the writer doesn't look their target in the eye or observe body language or general social cues that may stop them from being mean in real life."

And finally, Hokemeyer says Crawford may have blogged about Williams' so-called flaws as a way to boost her own self-esteem. "Sometimes when people feel insecure about their body they try to thrust that insecurity on someone else to make themselves feel better," he says.

Aside from being just plain offensive, Crawford's post was the ultimate backhanded compliment. She got her message across (Williams isn't attractive) but also deflected personal responsibility by writing that "some folks" have criticized the cheerleader's weight. Then, she gives Williams phoney encouragement ("If she's comfortable wearing that tiny outfit, then good for her!") and mentions that most men prefer a "little extra meat" on a woman. She wraps up by writing, "I wish she had a little more up on top, if you know what I mean" but that she is beautiful. Okaaay.

Williams could not be reached for comment but on Wednesday she tweeted, "'To be womanly always, discouraged never" and later added, "We wouldn't know what blessings were if we didn't go through trials. Thank you to everyone for the compassion and love today. I'm in awe."

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