Thursday, September 4, 2014

Overweight and Discrimination

Overweight = unhealthy. Right? Not so fast, says Lindsey Averill, the maker of "Fattitude," a documentary slated to be finished in 2015. The film aims to expose discrimination against overweight people. When a fundraiser for the movie went online, Ms.Averill received death threats.

The discrimination is real.

Of course, it's reasonable to say that being overweight implies the person would be healthier at a lower weight.

But how do we know the thin person is healthy? She could be a smoker or have an eating disorder. However, at first glance, she gets the benefit of the doubt. Not so for the larger person.

But everyone knows that overweight people are lazy and self-indulgent.
Well, yes, some of them are. And some thin people are, too. How much self-control do I have?

Well, let's see. Sometimes I yell at my kids, ignore my husband, do exactly what I want when I want without considering the needs of others, and I eat unhealthy food.  Occasionally. Give me a break -- it was Hershey's chocolate, ok? You probably will give me a break because I'm not overweight -- even if my behavior was irresponsible.

But if an overweight person eats the chocolate, we scowl at her. Even when we know nothing about her. We don't hire her because we assume she's lazy when she may be a hard worker. We don't trust her to help with a project because we assume she can't control herself when she may be the one on the team with the greatest integrity.

The next time you see a large person eating chocolate, don't jump to conclusions. Just ask her if she has any to share. If she gives you some, that's a person you want to get to know.

No comments:

Post a Comment