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Tennis star Roger Federer sheds tears of joy after winning the French Open in 2009.


Tennis star Roger Federer sheds tears of joy after winning the French Open in 2009.

Affirming female anxieties

I don't know where to begin. The incredible shrinking woman (Oct. 7) is the worst kind of journalism. The headline is offensive and the photo screams to me all that is wrong in our society.

Young women will take one look at the headline and the photo and all of their anxieties about their bodies will be affirmed.

Weight loss and happiness must go together. This is not an article about health. It is an article about sickness. Eating disorders can be triggered by an article like this. I think the Free Press owes all young people an apology for misleading them about what is important in life.




As someone who has watched close friends and family members struggle with serious eating disorders, I am disgusted by your decision to run the Oct. 7 story, The incredible shrinking woman.

The article perpetuates the damaging and deeply sexist myth our success as women is somehow dependent on the size of our bodies. By choosing to publish an article equating thinness with women's intelligence, wealth, beauty, health and happiness, the Free Press is contributing to a much larger culture in which girls and women are taught, both implicitly and explicitly, our dress size should dictate our sense of self-worth.

It is in the often-impossible pursuit of a thinner body children, adolescents and adults of all genders develop eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Not surprisingly, research shows a dramatic correlation between these types of eating disorders and depression.

According to the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, one in 10 people with an eating disorder will either commit suicide or die from malnutrition within 10 years of the onset of their illness. Instead of framing our conversations about health and happiness around weight loss, it is our responsibility to reshape the conversation so children and adolescents understand healthy eating and exercise are important and worthwhile ends in themselves.

It is North America's unhealthy preoccupation with women's body size and shape that needs to change -- not our bodies.




The most unfair tax

The Oct. 7 headlines and editorial about the PST's political cost all miss the most important point. The PST is the most unfair tax toward the poor.

Despite the premier's assertion, the PST is not the fairest option for financing improvements to infrastructure. This tax is non-refundable, is not aligned with annual income, and covers many things the poor need to buy.

An increase in the PST to fund infrastructure improvements is unacceptable when poor Manitobans are struggling to raise children and fixed-income seniors find it challenging to make ends meet. Let's cancel the PST altogether and raise funds in a fair way.




The Free Press has published an inordinate number of articles and letters highly critical of our NDP government.

We know a government that responds to the needs of its electors has an obligation to find the money to cover their cost.

Day after day, we hear the pleas for more government funding, more schools, more teachers, more hospitals, more doctors, more nurses, more affordable housing, more social workers, more flood protection, more roads and bridges and on and on. Yet, when a government raises taxes it is pilloried.

If a responsible government does not secure enough operating revenue to meet ever-growing needs it must cut programs and services. In Manitoba, Gary Filmon's Progressive Conservatives followed that path in the past. Is that what Manitobans want now? Isn't it time for a greater amount of objectivity in the evaluation of our provincial government?




A dangerous example

The NDP government must be monitored during their Osborne House inquisition. We have to ask ourselves the question: Is the treatment of Osborne House chief executive officer Barbara Judt overly aggressive? Is it coincidence that she is being hammered by the minister, Jennifer Howard?

Judt had the guts to expose government shortcomings and defend Osborne House. It is extremely dangerous when a government tries to make an example of someone who speaks up.

The minister must take full responsibility for those doing her bidding in her department. The deputy minister as well as other senior officials need to be accountable if they follow a political agenda.

Perhaps Premier Greg Selinger should ensure his cabinet ministers are familiar with anti-bullying legislation.

You can handle a bully by exposing them (the media). You can handle a bully by standing up to them (the opposition). You can handle a bully by humbling them (the electorate).




Well, the government has won and will now operate Osborne House as another social agency.

When we see how the government runs and operates Child and Family Services and the health care system, I see nothing in the future of Osborne House but a burlesque show.




A drab fall this year

Joe Bryksa's Oct. 2 photo, Autumn run, would no doubt be as gorgeous as his Free Press photos typically are -- except for one disappointing decision: it was not printed in colour.

All those beautiful leaves in black and white? Doesn't look like autumn in Winnipeg to me.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 9, 2013 A8

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