Each year, we select a body image hero, someone who has taken a stand during the year or over the years, to make a difference in the way that women think about their bodies.
Last year we honored Francie Berg, founder of Healthy Weight Week 22 years ago and a pioneer in the move away from diets and body loathing. Before that, when Francie still ran the week, Deb Burgard, PhD, who we’d definitely call a body image warrior, was honored.
This year, we’re branching out beyond our professional community to honor a young woman who took a stand that put her in hot water. I think we’d all agree a trip to the principal’s office is hot water for a 13-year-old girl.
2015’s Healthy Body Image Hero
To borrow from a Huffington Post article, Ireland Hobert-Hoch doesn’t seem like your average student protestor. She gets straight As in school and her mom says she not one to cause problems.
But when her teacher tried to weigh her in school, as part of the school’s BMI testing (something that won a Slim Chance Award this year), she refused. According to an interview in The Des Moines Register, there was a bit of back-and-forth between her and the teacher that ended up with Hobert-Hoch being sent to the principal’s office.
Ireland Says Her BMI Isn’t The School’s Business
In the interview, Hobert-Hoch says she resisted because she didn’t feel like it was the school’s business. But perhaps more importantly, she said it made her feel uncomfortable, and that it makes everyone uncomfortable, especially being weighed in front of everyone.
We can certainly agree with that. In this day of weight stigma, body weight is not just a number on the scale anymore. It’s a measure of a person’s worth, in the misguided eyes of many people.
Read This Related Article:How Weight Stigma Hurts
We also want to give a shout-out to Hobert-Hoch’s mom, who clearly supported Ireland in not basing her self-worth on a number on a scale.
Hobert-Hoch says she had told her that weight is not that important — it doesn’t make up who you are. And she didn’t want Ireland to constantly worry about her weight.
Ireland says she’s glad she took a stand because she saw other girls starting to do so after.
“I’m glad I did it. Now I feel like…we may not have to be weighed in school anymore and other kids won’t have to be uncomfortable.”
Here’s to young Ireland Hobert-Hoch — our 2015 Healthy Body Image Hero!