One of the most annoying things about political correctness is that it seemingly has no end in sight. It doesn’t matter how much more tolerant and open minded we as a society become, these people are always going to find some new “victim group” that needs protection, and demanding that we wrap them up in cotton wool. In a lot of prior cases (sexism, homophobia, racism etc), the victim group was being discriminated against for something they had no control over. The black guy couldn’t help that he wasn’t white. The gay guy couldn’t help that he was attracted to other guys instead of girls. The woman couldn’t help that she wasn’t a man. I can understand completely why people wanted to stand up for these groups because they were being unfairly treated for something they couldn’t change.
Although, I will say that I think social justice has gone a bit too far in certain cases (radical feminists who want to oppress men, rather than being equal, people claiming that a white cop killing black thug in self defence is racist, people demanding that we allow biological males to play on girls sports teams, because they feel like girls on the inside etc), I do at least acknowledge that these groups were genuinely disenfranchised, and that they needed and deserved to be treated better than they were.
Now however, the social justice movement has become a total parody of itself. Now, we are expected to go to ridiculous lengths to make sure we don’t offend anybody. The latest idea is to make it illegal to “discriminate” against overweight people. Now let me just make this clear. I don’t believe in bullying people and I understand that weight can be a sensitive issue. At the same time, I’m also aware of the obvious reality that excess weight can be very dangerous, and can shorten lives. In the Western world (most notably America, though other countries are catching up) obesity and the illnesses related to it, have drastically increased in the past few decades. While I don’t think being abusive is right, I do think acknowledging extremly unhealthy behaviour is important. As far as I’m concerned, encouraging someone to become healthy is more important than not upsetting them.
Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with me.
Dr Sarah Jackson suggested laws banning discrimination based on age, sex or race should be extended to cover people who were overweight.
Researchers behind a landmark study into weight discrimination found those who were subjected to jibes about their size were dramatically more likely to suffer from depression.
The renowned psychologist made the claim following two studies into the links between weight discrimination and quality of life.
Researchers argued that poking fun at fat people was often seen as socially acceptable, but the ‘fattist’ taunts led to a drop in quality of life.
I’m sure plenty of people would feel bad about their weight regardless. I remember that I used to be heavier than I wanted to be (I wasn’t obese, but I was definitely overweight). I didn’t get picked on for it, but I was always aware that I weighed more than I should and I felt ashamed of it. Eventually, I took the initiative and started eating better and exercising, and sure enough, I lost weight. Even then, I don’t see why jibes are a bad thing (unless it gets to the point of harassment and bullying). The point is to encourage you to take action to get healthier. It’s just like how we try to discourage smoking by forcing them to do so out in the cold, and by increasing the costs to do so through excessive taxation. Sometimes, we have to be cruel to be kind.
The study of more than 5,000 people by University College London calls for a major rethink of how fat people are treated in the UK.
In the survey, participants were asked how often they encounter discrimination in their daily lives, including being threatened or harassed.
Some said they experienced abuse almost every day, although researchers said the vast majority rarely or never experienced discrimination.
So the vast majority don’t experience discrimination? Then why are we acting as if this is a major issue then?
“In the United Kingdom, the Equality Act 2010 legally protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, disability, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, or gender reassignment; making it clear that discriminatory behaviour of this nature is not to be accepted,” said Dr Jackson, lead author of the report.
“However, our results indicate that discriminatory experiences contribute to poorer psychological wellbeing in individuals with obesity, but there are currently no laws prohibiting weight discrimination.
“This might send the message to people that weight discrimination is socially acceptable.”
So essentially what you’re saying is that people are going to discriminate against obese people unless we have explicit laws forbidding them from doing so. Any proof? I could see them not hiring an obese person for a job they wouldn’t be physically capable of doing (for example, would you hire an obese person as a personal trainer in a gym) or if they were providing a service that the size of the person made impossible to accommodate (for example, asking an obese person to buy two seats in a plane because they can’t fit into one). I don’t look at that as being discrimination. I just see that as acknowledging reality. Should we pretend that an obese person can take up the same space on a plane as an average sized person, or pretend that an obese person should be training people in the gym, just so we don’t hurt their feelings?
Experts said examples of obese people being discriminated against also included being treated disrespectfully and receiving poor service in shops.
Anecdotal evidence. For all we know, these people were just pricks who acted like assholes to the staff, and then when the staff didn’t give them great service in return, they just assumed it was because of their weight.
Earlier research into ‘fat shaming’ found making people feel bad about their weight had no impact on their ability to slim down.
In fact, those who reported experiencing weight discrimination gained more weight than those who did not.
And plenty of people who do end up losing weight do so because they feel bad about their weight. In fact, isn’t that the reason why everyone who loses weight does so? They feel bad about their weight, so they take action to change that so they won’t feel bad anymore. I really can’t think of anyone who is overweight who decides that they feel good about their weight, so they’ll take action to lose weight.
Dr Jackson concluded that other methods should be used to encourage weight loss, but the most recent study goes further in calling for recognition of fattism as a significant problem.
It is a significant problem, but not for the reason you think it is.
Professor Jane Wardle, co-author of the latest report, said: “Combined with our previous work showing that weight discrimination does not encourage weight loss, we can see that weight discrimination is part of the obesity problem and not the solution.
“Weight bias has been documented not only among the general public but also among health professionals; and many obese patients report being treated disrespectfully by doctors because of their weight.
“Everyone, including doctors, should stop blaming and shaming people for their weight, and offer support, and where appropriate, treatment.”
But outspoken hypnotherapist Steve Miller has rejected the findings.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said political correctness around obesity was making people fatter.
“Of course I do not advocate bullying fat people, but letting them know they are dangerously fat and giving them some constructive fat shaming if needed is an absolute must if we are to slim people down.
“The truth hurts but it can also save lives. We need to tackle fat head on and trust me, no-one loves a fat person like I do.
“Fat people can do something about their weight, they may hide behind excuses but they’re more than capable of changing their lifestyles to shed the pounds.”
At least the article ends with someone who talks sense.