Feeling pretty is not a job requirement for 105.7 The Point radio show host Lux, but on occasions like PointFest, she’ll seize the chance to get dressed up, something she loves to do, knowing that video interviews have quickly become part of her job. While the men at her station throw on jeans and a t-shirt for PointFest, Lux opts for something nicer — in this case, a form-fitting pink dress and jacket, one that compliments her hair color.
There was no way of knowing the monochromatic outfit would draw vitriol from social media, but what started as a negative moment has evolved into an opportunity for mental health awareness.
When Lux posted a picture to Facebook of herself at the event, she left it unattended as she went about her day's work, interviewing bands like Shinedown and enjoying the event. As she went back to share the photo of her and Shinedown after their interview, she opened the comment section on the original post. The comments struck a chord.
One man had commented on the way she looked — specifically her body and how “Jenny Craig called." When prompted further for explanation by another commenter, another troll added “she’s let herself go and needs to lose some lb’s.”
Lux’s scrolling continued, this time with another man commenting on how far apart the radio personality’s eyes are and that she was “trying to show cleavage with below average A’s.”
“For some reason, the way that the comments were presented really hit me in a way that told me I needed to stand up for myself,” Lux says in an interview with the RFT
. “If nothing else, to raise awareness that I am one of many millions of people who deal with this kind of stuff and the damage it can really do. When you think you're just making snarky or funny comments online, you have no idea what it does to the other person on the other side.”
Lux has struggled with mental health issues and is recovering from an eating disorder. She's lost a friend to suicide. Because of these experiences, the radio show host has for years walked and raised money for the Missouri chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The comments hit as Lux is preparing to walk again on September 26, further propelling her to call attention to the trolls.
“When you have people saying that kind of stuff to you, it adds up to a low self-worth, low self-confidence and self-esteem, depressions, sadness, loneliness, angriness — all those emotions that are risk factors for suicide,” Lux explains. “So I thought, 'Well, I'm walking, I'm raising money. And if nothing else, I also need to remind people that these kinds of words weigh heavy. You don't know where anybody is, what they're dealing with in their life. And, you know, even getting a couple of these a week can be really, really harmful.'”
The radio show personality says she gets about ten to twenty comments like this a week, but she couldn’t shake these ones off for some reason.
As the target of trolling and harassment, she notes that the impact of those comments build up over time. "Your body still intakes that kind of that punch, that critique, that cringe, that embarrassment, that shame, whatever it is,” she says.
Lux adds while her male counterparts at the station have also been body shamed, the sexism toward women's appearances can't be ignored. She credits her colleagues for providing a support system. Still, she finds that many people seem to consider harassment as just part of her job, or that she's inviting the scrutiny of her body because she’s in the media industry.
“The old phrase ‘face for radio’ came from the fact that we weren't used to being seen. So, we didn't really worry about this,” Lux says with a laugh. “And now that I'm out there all the time, I'm enjoying it. I'm happy to use the platform to explore creativity and talk about causes that are important.”
The recent examples of body shaming that she’s shared publicly have been met with a wave of support from her fans and band Shinedown
. Lux has turned the moment into awareness for the way these comments can affect people.
She has directed her followers' attention to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an organization close to her heart, in posts about the upcoming walk. CEO Robert Gabbia says in a press release that the suicide awareness walks Lux actively participates in can help turn “hope into action.” Last year, the walks raised $25 million for the foundation's education and support programs.
The Missouri iteration of the walk, called Out of the Darkness and held virtually last year due to COVID-19, had 1,255 participants and raised more than $180,000.
“We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss,” Kellen Wolters, the foundation's Missouri chapter board co-chair, says in a press release. “Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”
The mission to raise awareness is also playing out in digital spaces. Instagram has become a place where Lux talks candidly about her mental health issues. After she received the comments, she shared on her platform a TikTok video about her experience with body-shaming — so far, the video has drawn nearly 15,000 views and hundreds of comments on Instagram
. She keeps poking fun at the comments, a creative way to not keep her feelings bottled up, she says.
Making videos is just one way of confronting the impact of body shaming. Lux notes that “talk saves lives” is one of the AFSP’s slogans, which is what she strives to do by being open on her platforms. For her, it’s making “silly” videos, but for others it could be writing it down. The goal is twofold, Lux explains, to get the feelings out but also to talk about the issues and “feel comfortable and not ashamed by them.”
Lux says that she made the videos to address the situation publicly and “teach people to be kind.” When asked if the trolls ever apologize, she replies that, while it is shocking, it does happen. She says sometimes they reach out to apologize and tell her what they said sounded awful. Other times, they attempt to explain what they meant.
“I love to have those conversations,” Lux says. “It is more important than ever now that we allow each other to evolve. We're all gonna step in it. We're all gonna trip. We're all gonna fall. We're all gonna make mistakes, but if you're willing to recognize it and then actually make the effort to make that change, I think that takes some serious guts, some balls to step back into my DMs and be like, ‘You know what? That wasn't cool.’”
Lux is participating in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Walk on September 26. You can sign up to join the walk on the organization's website
and participate at Creve Coeur Lake from 12 to 3:30 p.m. or donate to the cause at supporting.afsp.org
Follow Jenna on Twitter at @writesjenna. Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
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