Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rob Ford and Weight Discrimination

Why do so many people think it's okay to use weight discrimination against Rob Ford because they dislike his politics and decisions? I have some big problems with this.

1. If you make fun of the weight of a fat person you don't like, you are making fun of the weight of everyone who is heavy.

Using weight as an insult, an often ignorant and cruel insult, shows that you discriminate against all heavy people, especially when you assume things about the person's character, based on his weight. Many people only reveal their problem with heavy people, or at least only become conscious of it, when the subjects are people they don't like.

2. Schoolyard bullying tactics are not effective or logical discourse.

What does Rob Ford's weight have to do with his policies? What does making fun of his weight accomplish? The only explanation I can think of is that they think his weight is a reflection of his character, evidence of his supposed incompetence, lack of interest in issues and a reason he is so disliked. The stigma against heavy people. If you use weight to assassinate someone's character, you're just a bully. An ignorant bully. And you're contributing nothing, except to the stigma against heavy people.

3. You can't justify making fun of someone's weight.

Liberal opponents of Ford, who would normally be against making fun of people's weight, start using weight as a weapon against Ford. I've read arguments for this like "Well, he's done our city wrong, so calling him fat is okay." Why is it a privilege to avoid discrimination? This implies that it's something that must be earned. You might as well say, "I'll only call you a fatty if you do something I don't like," or "I'll only let myself stigmatize fat people if I don't like them," Such a deal doesn't even make sense. The purpose of discrimination is to bring down the entire group with the undesired feature, not, as many argue, to just make fun of the individuals they cherry pick to support their agenda.


  1. Interesting. Tall people are never stigmatised because of their height though sometimes - often - extremely thin people are scorned. Perhaps we're all too weight-conscious.

  2. Isn't it amazing that people will resort to that so quickly?

    There's been some discussion of NJ Governor Chris Christie being the GOP Veep nominee, and the online discussion has appeared to dwell almost exclusively on his weight!

    Talk about schoolyard taunts... It's got nothing to do with politics. Apparently, most people online are 8.

  3. Jablog - Yes, tall people definitely don't face the same stigma. The argument for fat stigma is "Being fat is a choice, so they deserve it."

    Katy - It IS amazing that they resort to it so quickly, like they are just waiting for an "excuse" to use it, that it can be justified. But then bam, they turn around and act so tolerant, so progressive. I agree that many people online are very immature and also ignorant and hypocritical.

  4. Actually I have been insulted for being tall quite a bit (obviously not as common as fat jokes, but just letting you know it does happen)! I'm female and 5'11". I'm not sure if it's because I'm female, but I have been insulted quite a bit! To my face!

    One instance that comes to mind was at one of my first jobs, they had a really low counter with the cash register on it. Some guy said something about raising the counter up and then said "Oh that was a LOW blow" and then laughed. I couldn't respond because I was at work and would have gotten in trouble.

    Some people will insult other people about anything. It's not just weight. What kills me is when my obese coworkers watch people walking by the store and make fat joked about them . . . just because they are fat does NOT make it okay for them to insult other people. How rude! I just get sick of being around such negative, insulting people all the time . . .