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Zero

January 5, 2011

*UPDATED*

Any of you heard of Kenneth Tong?  Probably not, unless you are an avid Big Brother or celebrity magazine fan, because he has never done anything of note.  He does not appear to have contributed in the slightest to the progress of humanity or human happiness.  He has never invented anything or provided entertainment.  He was once in Big Brother UK for less than a week.  In fact, the sum total of his achievements, as far as I can see, is Zero, which is apposite.

Recently an odious worm who claims to be this human non-event has spent their time on Twitter using their following to express their opinion that all women should aspire to being a ‘Size Zero’ (Size 4 in UK clothing).  This account (@MrKennethTong) is not ‘verified’ as genuine by Twitter, but it looks likely to me that it is the account of Kenneth Tong.  The fact that this account has over 9000 followers speaks volumes about British ‘culture’, but that is not my subject today.

Kenneth Tong is not a medical professional and has no apparent expertise in nutrition, yet this Twitter account regularly pushes the idea that food is bad for women and that any size greater than ‘Size Zero’  is fat.  He does this by using casual insult and tired cliché. Here’s a representative quote:

“Assure you that my words aren’t a publicity stunt. I wholeheartedly endorse managed anorexia, as to be fat or even not thin is to fail life.”

And another one:

“Dumb people should stop Tweeting me and say to be size zero is to be ill, I assure you those Supermodels look healthy on the cover of Vogue.”

And one final one:

“What’s in your lips today is in your hips tomorrow.”

Wow.  I have rarely seen such a perfect storm of irrationality, arrogance and banal evil.

There is no scientific evidence that women should be ‘Size Zero’ and/or anorexic to be healthy, quite the opposite in fact.  Anorexia is an eating disorder, not a lifestyle.  Someone who is too thin is at risk from a number of predictable and debilitating conditions.  Anorexia is effectively self-harm.

This account has over 9000 followers, but only follows one other.  Despite having no qualifications in mental health or nutrition this idiot continues to espouse a theory apparently plucked from thin air or possibly inspired by a fame-hungry desire to date ‘Supermodels’.  I have not discounted the possibility that they are aiming to make money in some way.

I personally discount this man’s opinion on any subject almost out of hand, but unfortunately not everyone will.  I suspect quite a large number of vulnerable people will come into contact with this crap and will give it some credence because Kenneth Tong has been on the telly and he’s got quite a lot of money (wealthy family I believe).  Anorexia is a serious mental health issue, especially among young women.  This kind of bullshit, spouted by a ‘celebrity’ probably counteracts a great deal of the good advice from medical professionals.

What I’m trying to say is this.  I love Twitter.  All kinds of people say all kinds of things about the subjects they find important.  Most of it, including mine, is 9/10 navel-gazing and boring, but harmless.  When someone seeks to attack and undermine the health of other people then they have crossed a line and should be removed.  In the meantime, can we please ignore this account and its vitriolic ramblings until it stops trending and the author disappears back up their own fundament.  Rant over.

UPDATE: Kenneth Tong has since stated that all this was all an experiment to see how easy it would be to quickly gain fame using social media.  So far, so blah.  What is interesting is that he gave an interview to a journalist, Johann Hari, a matter of hours before his announcement.  The transcript and report of the interview can be found here.  Pretty disturbing reading really.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Scarlett permalink
    January 5, 2011 23:18

    There is absolutely no such thing as “managed anorexia”. There is dieting to maintain a certain size (which is NOT anorexia); and there is an all-consuming eating disorder that has nothing to do with appearance, leads to emaciation and malnutrition-related health problems resulting in an appearance so far from the aesthetic “ideal” as to be laughable, and cannot be voluntarily acquired, “managed”, or dismissed.

    As a person who has lived with anorexia and bulimia for 10 years, I find Tong’s sentiment so ignorant as to move almost beyond the offensive and into the laughable.

    Thank you for spreading awareness of this, and for your rational response to this man’s incredible stupidity.

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