I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Chris Christie is fat and this should disqualify him from being president at least until he’s thinner because everyone knows that being fat is unhealthy. Some people wonder if being fat is more of a disqualification than being depressed.
Here’s why I think it is just bullshit “I’m grossed out by your body” disguised as “But I really care about your health.”
Because being fat is not the most telling physical sign that your health is shitty. No, there is in fact a bodily indicator that predicts far better than a person’s weight whether that person will live to adulthood, die early, and suffer from poor health outcomes all along the way. This physical trait correlates to higher suicide rates, more violence, even higher accident rates.
And, it is even possible to mitigate some of the effects of this physical trait through medication or, in some cases, when necessary, surgery.
Medication and surgery to deal with this condition are common enough that, even if you don’t know someone who’s taken those steps, you know of someone who’s taken those steps, and heard rumors of others who have taken those steps.
And yet, no one looks at that physical trait and says that everyone who has it should be making efforts to mitigate it and that the success of their mitigation attempts should determine whether they’re qualified for public office.
People with this condition have worse health outcomes across the board than the rest of the population. And yet, if I were to argue that I wasn’t disgusted by this condition, I merely couldn’t help but notice the person’s body and the physical indicators of this condition, which are so closely correlated with such terrible health outcomes, and, out of concern for that person’s health, I am saying they must change, even if it means pills and surgery, there is not a single person reading this blog who wouldn’t say to themselves, “Wow, Betsy has some real deep issues with men.”
None of you would say “Oh, yeah, totally. We should start when they’re children.”
Because people aren’t grossed out by men’s bodies. So men can be as unhealthy as they want and no one starts talking about the correlation between being men and being unhealthy as something to be solved by trying to change what they look like. But fat people? Oh, that’s apparently a great excuse to let your disgust about a type of bodily appearance have free reign.
And everyone’s just supposed to accept that this prejudice against a type of appearance is different than every other prejudice rooted in a type of appearance, because this time, you have what “everybody knows” and “what science says” on your side. Unlike all those other times before.