Folks, I'm not really in the mood to research and write anything at the moment, because I had a rather painful fall downstairs. (Also, my beloved Hell-Hound is ailing again -- mysterious rectal bleeding -- and when she is in a bad way, I can't easily concentrate on the news.) Fortunately, our friend Ms. Vandal wrote a short piece which she would like to share with a larger audience. Her observations were inspired by this controversy
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From the desk of Ms. Vandal:
A viral video chronicles an experiment involving the picture-driven dating application Tinder. What makes this video alarming is the reaction of the men who have arranged a date with a woman who turns out to be overweight. Although her online profile depicts a svelte young female, the men come face to face with a woman wearing a convincing "fat suit." This is all meant to initiate a dialogue about the discrepancy between online fantasy images and the reality of our growing obesity problem.
This problem goes beyond the social and dating arenas. Research suggests that prejudice against the overweight extends to academia and to the professional world. A Bowling Green State University study suggests that overweight job applicants are less likely to secure a job offer.
Last year, utilizing the hash-tag "truth," evolutionary psychology professor Geoffrey Miller of New York University tweeted these instantly-notorious words:
“Dear obese PhD applicants: If you do not have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation.”
Fat shaming has become an all-encompassing trap. Paul Fussell, author of the revealing sociological tell-all book Class,
states succinctly: “Your weight is an advertisement of your social standing.” He argues that it is difficult to transcend your social class unless you are extraordinarily beautiful. Current beauty standards exclude overweight people.
Of course no one wants to believe that they are guilty of fat shaming. No one is a racist, either -- in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
Granted, there are people who date only within the subgroup of overweight people. According to the Center for Disease control, more than one-third of the population is obese. Pseudo-pharmacology has lead many to believe that weight problems can be solved with a pill.
I write this post to make one simple point: Please,always remember that the other person at the other end of that interview, job application, or online dating profile is a person.
While the Tinder profile experiment may have been deceptive, it does highlight the genuine prejudice which overweight people face everyday.
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I should mention that Professor Miller later apologized for his tweet (which carried a legal risk, since he sat on the Admissions Committee of his university). Later still, Miller claimed that his original tweet was part of a psychology experiment.
The mind boggles when one tries to imagine the exact nature of such an experiment. What was the point? Was he trying to determine how an online community reacts to someone who says something unpopular and offensive?
If so, all he had to do was ask me