Saturday, February 16, 2013

‘Fat’ is the new ‘Nazi’

That’s it. I’m calling you out liberals, feminists, and progressives. As one of your own, I see a big problem, and I won’t sit back quietly while you go out there and ruin our reputation much like the Tea Party has done to the GOP.

I’m talking about hypocrisy... big fat... flaming... hypocrisy. Like when Teapublicans who call for small government legislate uteruses... or when thrice married GOP leaders tout family values.

When people in the progressive movement target someone because of their weight, it is hypocrisy, plain and simple.
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

On a recent episode of Bill Maher, he and his panel sat around talking about whether Chris Christie’s weight should affect whether or not someone should vote for him. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not likely to be a strong defender of any Republican, but this question made me physically cringe. Here’s why:

During the 2008 election, I was discussing the merits of Barack Obama’s policy positions with a moderately conservative Mormon friend of mine. It basically came down to that she agreed with a lot of what he stood for, but had a problem with the fact that he was a smoker. I found myself arguing that being a smoker shouldn’t matter, that everyone does things that aren’t necessarily healthy, and that it was a silly thing to consider when deciding who to vote for. She countered that smoking was a huge health risk for the future leader of the U.S., so we should consider it, and that it spoke to his character and will power.

Sound familiar? The point is - it’s easy to take aim at someone you don’t agree with because of a superficial characteristic about them. But these ad hominem attacks have nothing to do with whether or not the person can do their job well.

I think that this was my friend’s way of justifying not breaking from the party she’s always voted for... something I think a lot of us do. At least she was consistent. Her religion teaches smoking is bad, so it’s something she has always believed and considered... But when it comes to the Left judging someone because of their weight, it rises to a level of notable hypocrisy (like, an ‘anti-gay congressman soliciting male prostitutes’ level of hypocrisy).

I believe we’re better than that.

We’re the leaders of the anti-bullying movement. We’re the third-wave feminists who fight against body stereotypes. Our predecessors fought racism and discrimination.

Typically we abhor behavior that takes pot shots at someone’s physical, mental, or cultural differences. We stand up for people when they’re bullied because of their sexual orientation. We welcome different religions and those who have none. And we shout sexism from the rooftops when a woman is judged by her looks.

Yet when it comes to berating Chris Christie because of his weight, you’re suddenly ok with it? Is it because so many progressives have recently become extremely health conscious, so it’s now ok to paint him as a health risk? Is it because people who are overweight “must not be self-disciplined” enough so you think it is an obvious character flaw?

I call bullshit.

Admit it - if you had an overweight family member or friend who was ruled out for a job just because of their weight, you’d be appalled and probably tell them to sue the company for discrimination. And in light of the new study showing that being overweight may actually lead to a longer life - your concern for a possible future president’s mortality is unfounded.

So get over yourselves. Your criticism is coming from no more of a genuine place than Sarah Palin’s concern about the use of the "R" word.

Fat is the new Nazi.

When I was in high school, there were a couple of girls who, whenever someone disagreed with them, they’d say, “So what. You’re fat.” (Imagine that in your best ‘snotty cheerleader’ voice.) This had the effect of simultaneously ending the discussion, proving they had no good retort, and making them look downright stupid. (Of course, they thought it was hilarious and clever because they were in high school and being ‘fat’ was about the worst thing you can be called when you’re a cheerleader.) This is the exact same effect that I see every day in online debates when someone invokes Hitler, which has become known as a corollary of the internet adage, Godwin’s Law.

That’s why today I’m declaring that 'Fat' is the new 'Nazi'. If the only retort you can think of is “he/she is fat” then you’ve lost your argument.

In any debate, the only time referring to someone’s weight can be considered a way to further your argument, is when the result is directly affected by pant-size. For example, if you’re arguing with someone over whether or not Chris Christie could ride comfortably in a Smart Car... it’s ok to bring up his size because it is relevant, not because it is some kind of inherent flaw. But if you’re arguing over whether or not he could fill the shoes of the presidency stick to his policy positions.

1 comment:

  1. Being judgmental is way more of a health risk than obesity. But far more accepted. As a feminist, I can assure you that I have never commented on his weight but have commented the hell out of his anti-female policies.

    A sin to smoke? That is hilarious to me.

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