I’m not denying that obesity is a major problem in our culture. However, no matter how much of a problem obesity is, there’s no justification for discriminating against those carrying around extra weight. It doesn’t affect who they are at their core as a person. Rude tweets such as the recent viral one suggesting that someone who can’t lose weight also can’t complete a Ph.D. are just plain wrong—and I’m happy to serve as evidence to the contrary on that one!
I’m an avid reader of The New Yorker. I love the breadth of its articles which I learn quite a lot from. Lately, though, I’ve noticed an editorial decline in the structure of articles and an increase in the publication basic errors. Moreover, a recent article on the late singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone flummoxed me completely (Claudia Roth Pierpont, “A Raised Voice,” The New Yorker, August 11&18, 2014: 44-51). In one of the final paragraphs of the article, the author states:
“She was sixty-five years old, and photographs of the events show her standing between Mandela and Jackson, overweight yet glamorously done up, her hair piled in braids and her strapless white blouse a contrast to the African costumes of the chorus all around.”
I truly cringed. I stopped and reread the sentence several times. Surely I had misread. The author could not possibly have said “overweight yet glamorously done up.” Here, in an article on a civil rights activist published in a liberal intellectual magazine, the author had joined in the blatant fatism that is so rampant in our society, and the editor had sloppily failed to remove it before publication. Since when does being overweight become a prohibiting factor in dressing up glamorously? It’s true that fashion choices are more limited for plus-sized individuals, but we are still just as fond as skinny women of looking our best on occasion.
One can easily argue that it was “just” a poor word choice, and that may be true. But the fact that both author and editor of a major magazine failed to recognize what a poor word choice it was stands as evidence to how common and easy it is to publicly discriminate against the obese in our nation.
© 2014 Green Heart Guidance