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Splain splain splain

Imagine the subject line sung to the tune of "Chain of Fools."



Background and some good snarking here:
http://bioethicsbulletin.org/archive/dan-callahan-thinsplains-obesity/
"Dan Callahan Thinsplains Obesity" by Dan O'Connor, PhD

So this bioethicist Dan Callahan published some concern trolling suggesting that because social disapproval helped him quit smoking, it would probably work for us to shame those fat people -- just a little bit (he literally called it "stigmatization lite") -- into losing weight.

Callahan suggests that those fat people should ponder the following "uncomfortable questions":
  • If you are overweight or obese, are you pleased with the way you look?
  • Are you happy that your added weight has made many ordinary activities, such as walking up a long fight of stairs, harder?
  • Would you prefer to lessen your risk of heart disease and diabetes?
  • Are you aware that, once you gain a significant amount of weight, your chances of taking that weight back off and keeping it off are poor?
  • Are you pleased when your obese children are called “fatty” or otherwise teased at school?
  • Fair or not, do you know that many people look down upon those excessively overweight or obese, often in fact discriminating against them and making fun of them or calling them lazy and lacking in self-control?
I thought it might be good to ask Dan Callahan some questions too:
  • If you often express ignorant, hateful opinions about other people who are just trying to live their lives, are you pleased with the way you think?
  • Are you happy that your hate has made the lives of many people harder?
  • Would you prefer to lessen your risk of being publicly humiliated because of your ignorance and hate?
  • Are you aware that, once you get into the habit of talking about how some people are worse than other people solely because of their appearance, your chances of becoming and staying a decent human being are poor?
  • Are you pleased that you are contributing to bullying at school, eating disorders, and suicide? How about when your children are teased at school because you are such a poor role model for decent behavior?
  • Fair or not, do you know that many people look down upon those who publicly display hatred and fear of normal differences, often in fact making fun of them or calling them stupid and lacking in self-control?
Actually it's kind of interesting making up "uncomfortable questions" for people who experience oppression. For example, here are some questions that women might want to ask themselves:
  • If you are female, are you pleased that the way you look is often considered more important than your intelligence and other talents?
  • Are you happy that your gender has made many ordinary activities, such as getting a good job in a number of fields, harder?
  • Would you prefer to lessen your risk of being harrassed?
  • Are you aware that if you have children, your earning potential stops increasing?
  • Are you pleased when you are blamed by experts for all your children's problems?
  • Fair or not, do you know that many people look down upon women, often in fact discriminating against them and making fun of them or calling them overemotional and lacking in self-control?
Further question sets and the question whether it's useful to blame people for their oppression left as exercises for the reader.

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/799982.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. I prefer that you comment on Dreamwidth, but it's also OK to comment here.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
pyrzqxgl
Jan. 28th, 2013 08:01 am (UTC)
*applause*
sabotabby
Jan. 28th, 2013 02:51 pm (UTC)
*internet high-fives*
eeyorerin
Jan. 28th, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
What always gets me is that the people saying these things or advocating saying these things seem to think that fat people have NEVER heard this before from anyone, and we are just waiting for someone to tell us that we are fat and then -- poof! -- everything will magically change. "Oh my God! How did I not realize that I was fat! I will go change immediately because I would never want to displease you!"
firecat
Jan. 28th, 2013 07:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's why "thinsplain" is the perfect name for it. There's a complete lack of any attempt to model what life is like for the person you're 'splaining to.
graymalkin13
Jan. 29th, 2013 03:31 am (UTC)
BRILLIANT!!!! :D
dandelion_diva
Jan. 31st, 2013 02:44 am (UTC)
Well said.
jillzilla
Feb. 10th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC)
I didn't feel shamed by the original questions by the questionable bioethicist, which is nice. And yet your rewriting the questions in terms of gender so incisively got to the centre of the absurdity of the original questions that I could see even more clearly how ridiculous they were. Thank you!
firecat
Feb. 10th, 2013 07:47 pm (UTC)
Hooray for both of your comments!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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