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Fat-Shaming: Don't apply if you are obese as you have no willpower. Outrageous.

Friday, June 07, 2013

I read this article called Fat-Shaming by Colin Brooke. He responded to a twitter from a university professor who said: Obese candidates for the PHD program should not even apply. Being obese means that you are weak and have no willpower and would not be able to finish a PHD program. The response was outrage.

Colin Gifford wrote an intelligent, honest, painful response to this subject. It was excellent but also sad. I have been obese and have understood the pain of airports and chairs. I encourage anyone to read it. He also talks about the how the Big and Talk clothes often do not fit.

I am saddened by this I think it is illegal to discriminate on being obese in a job.


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
PSHOWS 6/28/2013 10:24PM

    I totally agree and actually wrote a blog this week about this prejudice.
I am overweight and have been in business for myself because of being discriminated against over weight. Well, actually, I am having a back problem now and it's difficult for me to do my work. Somedays impossible. We need more help for this situation. I don't think there is enough out there.

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SHIRAZSOLLY 6/25/2013 2:38AM

    The professor was probably disciplined soundly. It is illegal to discriminate against people for simply being heavy - although employers can require that someone be capable of performing tasks necessary in their jobs, like bending, lifting heavy objects, standing for hours... etc... However, people discriminate quietly against obese or older-looking or otherwise less attractive (to them) people all the time and it is very hard to prove it is happening. SOMETIMES an employer will go out of their way to seek heavy employees, though, as did one former employer of mine, who hired heavier people because they could pay them less. In a high turnover business, when insurance didn't kick in for 6 months, this was a favorable strategy.

I'm sure if this professor looked around, he would have noticed that a high percentage of others he worked with were also heavy. My parents and my mother's sisters and both grandmothers - were all teachers at one time. All but one were also overweight at some point of their teaching career, if not for their entire teaching career. I am currently back in college and virtually all the profs are overweight. I can't see how this prof didn't see that this was the new normal in this environment. Teaching and grading papers are not exactly high activity jobs.

Comment edited on: 6/25/2013 2:43:07 AM

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URBU2IFUL 6/16/2013 1:33PM

    That is just cruel--can I say moron, or should I just say this has not a clue about anything. I have never been in that position but from my point of view, nobody has the right to make comments or judge. And I am glad that I don't attend UNM--although it is across the street from CNM

Thanks for sharing emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/16/2013 1:37:52 PM

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HAKAPES 6/13/2013 12:15PM

    I was said to read it. I'm sure he has his addictions, too. Or was this just some marketing effort to raise interest? Not a nice one, but effective, anyway.

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ROCKINMOM776 6/11/2013 5:10PM

    Even if they don't say it outright, it has been my experience that certain professionals will overlook a qualified candidate if they don't "look the part of the job." It's certainly happened to me. It is sad, immoral and just plain mean, but sadly that discrimination poster in the workplace doesn't say anything about "weight."

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DDOORN 6/10/2013 11:17PM

    Of course this form of discrimination is wrong, but sadly it is SO difficult to fight against it. Although as someone pointed out, obesity can take a toll on one's health, so can cigarette smoking. However there isn't NEARLY the "looks" and disapproval of cigarette smokers as there is toward those who are obese.


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CAMAEL100 6/9/2013 5:29PM

    I think that they are being slated for stating it on the ad. How many employers don't mention it but discriminate anyway??? I have read studies where a persons looks determine how well they do at interviews so I do believe it can happen for obese people as well.

I think articles like this do a lot of damage to the real message that needs to get out there. Obese people are not stupid but the world is walking into a health crisis with the amount of obese people. Obesity contributes to so many health problems. That was my main motivation for deciding I no longer wanted to be obese. It is not a popular opinion but too many people want to blame outside forces for what they do. That is to believe we have no power within ourselves which is not true. We have so much more power than we think we have and can do so much more than we think we can.

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_BABE_ 6/9/2013 4:32PM

    I am looking for work right now in a conservative city dominated by the oil and gas industry which in turn is dominated by males.....would it help if I was young and perky and slim...I think so...sad but true.

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MSFRANKI1 6/9/2013 3:15PM

  Unbelievable. Thanks for the awareness.

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SHARON10002 6/9/2013 3:14PM

    And many people think it's only the young girls and the women who worry about their body imag, and how they look. Wait until the new health care kicks into full gear next year. We're all in for the shocks of our lives.

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SUSANNAH31 6/9/2013 2:43PM


Comment edited on: 6/9/2013 3:38:11 PM

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GOANNA2 6/9/2013 8:34AM

    Thanks for shaaring this article.

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SUGARSMOM2 6/8/2013 3:13PM

  I get sad when I find these type or reporting . they assume that all heavy people are just lazy , we have so much more going that they do not understand . I am so much more then my weight .

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MANILUS 6/8/2013 11:41AM

    Yeah that is just wrong, people are so judgmental and they have no idea what obesity is really about. My husband told me that his coworkers and friends said they would never date large women because they can't even take care of themselves. Naturally I negated that argument because it is not true.

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WATERMELLEN 6/8/2013 9:22AM

    What a great article on a very complicated issue. I've been reading another article dealing with obesity/politics/morality in my morning Globe and Mail, and plan to post a blog on the topic too.

As a Canadian lawyer (with, yup, one of "those" degrees that fat people can't get which I got when I was) I know that human rights law doesn't protect the obese against discrimination here either . . .

I know that getting "that" degree was in fact a piece of cake (sorry for the metaphor) in comparison with keeping the weight off every day.

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    How truly sad. Thank you for helping spread awareness about this issue.

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GEORGE815 6/8/2013 1:23AM

    Very tough. I remember a student at Oral Roberts University being kicked out for being overweight compared to her freshman weight.

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SUSUSUZZZIE 6/8/2013 12:05AM

    Thank you for sharing. I had heard of Geoffrey Miller’s tweets but not Collin Gifford Brooke's response. I'm grateful to be more aware and I hope this conversation leads to more conversations and greater awareness.

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CAROLISCIOUS 6/7/2013 11:15PM

    It is so sad how differently people are treated and thought of because of their weight. My employer announced that as of 2014, they will no longer hire smokers. I asked if obese people were next and I was told no...and that it was illegal to discriminate due to weight. Reading the responses to you blog has got me wondering if that was the truth.

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SUSANNAH31 6/7/2013 10:56PM

    It is unfortunate that so many people hold those beliefs about obesity.

They contribute to the shame that seems to be a constant in the life of an obese person.

How sad.

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LALMEIDA 6/7/2013 9:12PM

  That is discrimination! Perhaps the obesity in some people have more to do with a health condition more than willpower. People can really be ignorant! Why can't they give everyone a chance and make a determination based on performance rather than ones physical appearance. They are the ones losing out!

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SANDICANE 6/7/2013 6:54PM

    What saddens me about this is that obesity is an epidemic in North America and because of this fact, the posting caused such a stir....

It is TERRIBLE TERRIBLE TERRIBLE that there is so much obesity!!! It makes me heart-sick.


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DESERTJULZ 6/7/2013 6:29PM

    How sad is that attitude? One of my very obese friends has way more willpower than I do to work hard and accomplish work-related goals. She makes a much better team leader or manager than I ever would. However, the willpower to outshine everyone around her with her solid work skills does not translate to being fit and eating healthfully...

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SALLYKWITT 6/7/2013 5:37PM

    It is sad, but obesity is not a protected class. So many of us have multiple health problems, but being fat is not on the list of federal groups that cannot be discriminated against.

The lists are different for the EEOC for work and the HUD Housing protected classes.

I was a Real Estate Broker and Trainer before I became disabled, and my husband was the state rep for Fair Housing from the PA Association of Realtors, so this is a topic near and dear to our hearts.

From Wikipedia-

Protected class
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Protected class is a term used in United States anti-discrimination law.[1] The term describes characteristics or factors which cannot be targeted for discrimination and harassment. The following characteristics are considered "Protected Classes" and persons cannot be discriminated against based on these characteristics:

Race – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
Color – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
Religion – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
National origin – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
Age (40 and over) – Federal: Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Sex – Federal: Equal Pay Act of 1963 & Civil Rights Act of 1964
Familial status - Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1968 Title VIII (Housing, cannot discriminate for having children, exception for senior housing)
Disability status – Federal: Vocational Rehabilitation and Other Rehabilitation Services of 1973 & Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Veteran status – Federal Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974
Genetic information – Federal: Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

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19-VICKI-56 6/7/2013 5:04PM

  I think a lot of people feel if a person's fat then they're sitting around all day eating bon-bons and watching TV. It "MIGHT" be true for about 10%, but most over weight people I know are hard workers and are trying to get healthier in one way or another. I think way too many people only see the outside of a person without taking the time to see what's on the inside. And those people are to be pitied because they could well be missing out on some of the best friendships/love/responsible people they'd ever want to meet. emoticon emoticon

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SNOWYOGA 6/7/2013 4:31PM

    Thanks for this.Your right not a nice thing to do to others, but just think if the tables were turned and it was them, they sure wouldn't want it. But they never think of that emoticon emoticon I couldn't get there, but I will try again later

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WORKNPROGRESS49 6/7/2013 3:33PM


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    You can't discriminate against all kinds of people but obese people are fair game. Although I do disagree about many of the misconceptions about obese people, unfortunately, as an obese nurse I can attest to the fact that people who are obese put an undue strain on our society. I don't know that I would want to hire me if I had someone who was of equal skills and was thin. Not because I'm lazy and weak but because I if I don't get my weight under control I will have a host of costly medical problems. Employers now want healthy people who show up for work and don't use their health benefits. You can't blame them. The bottom line is that whether we want to or not we all need to be moved in some way toward a normal weight. As a nurse I have often thought of all sort of ways this could be accomplish but there is still the old fashioned way - through hard work. The majority of us can use that approach. I don't make excuses for myself. I have medical conditions that make it difficult for me to lose weight but I could do it if set my mind to it. It requires sacrifice and focus. Some people, like you, are willing to put in the effort to achieve good health and the rest of us need to join you there in whatever way gets us there.

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MADEIT3 6/7/2013 2:23PM

    Both my parents were overweight - my dad obese - and both had PhDs. It's plain ignorant to put "stupid" "weak" and "fat" together. For shame!

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SLIMMERJESSE 6/7/2013 1:51PM

    I'd never been overweight in my life, but 8 years ago a number of factors changed that. I immediately noticed how differently people in general treated me, as well as specifically in interviews or meetings for potential projects. It was dramatically different and very sad.

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GINA180847 6/7/2013 1:36PM

    Nothing meaner than people!

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MJ7DM33 6/7/2013 1:25PM

  Thx for sharing!

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ALISHAB3 6/7/2013 1:17PM

    Thats disgusting. Its not will power, its caused by antibiotics, an unfortunate immune system, and in children its caused by a rhino virus (aka the common cold.) What a load of daddy cow organic matter.

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VELMATULIP 6/7/2013 12:34PM

    It truly boggles the mind how cruel people can be! Thank you for sharing.

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MANDELOVICH 6/7/2013 12:32PM

    How shocking, horrible and sad. Thank you for sharing.

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COCK-ROBIN 6/7/2013 12:22PM

    Yes! Things like that shouldn't happen! emoticon

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