Psychology professor and PhD student mentor Geoffrey Miller decided to publicly declare fat people as too incompetent to complete a thesis. Really.
Don’t cha just love screen caps? Someone who should definitely know better announced his prejudiced opinions of fat people on Twitter. But I’ve gotta give him credit for being honest — I wish everyone was so forthright with their bigotry.
But the story gets even juicier. The prof apparently also has a strict no fatties policy for his doctoral candidates. Why hasn’t anyone reminded him he’s a doctor of philosophy, not medicine? He shouldn’t be weighing in on people’s bodies. From Jezebel:
Here’s what his UNM psych department page says he’s looking for in lab group PhD students:
I am looking for bright, motivated, conscientious students with very strong GRE scores (above 700), a strong commitment to a research career in evolutionary psychology, good research experience, and solid academic training in psychology, biology, and/or anthropology. Interested students should contact me directly by email. [Ed.: NO FATTIES!!!!!]
When the backlash came, and oh did it come (it’s an official eating day of rest for the fat nation — us chuberoos and chubettes take one every five years, so this was poor timing on Miller’s behalf), the dummy quickly deleted the tweet and issued two apologies:
My sincere apologies to all for that idiotic, impulsive, and badly judged tweet. It does not reflect my true views, values, or standards.
Obviously my previous tweet does not represent the selection policies of any university, or my own selection criteria.
As someone who is morbidly obese, I feel like I’ve accomplished quite a bit while maintaining my fat ass. But, ya know, that’s just me.
Anyway, I sent a letter to Miller and you can read it below. Feel free to send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I rarely send people negative comments. I find hate mail unproductive and tasteless, but upon reading your comments on fat people, I felt compelled to reach out to you.
I know there are many uneducated people who say and do uneducated things. I’m a fat gay woman — people say things and have attitudes about my identities and appearance that are at best misleading and at worst, blatant lies. But I’ve found most of these people are not people in a position such as yourself. As a person who is perceived to be a white cisgender male professor and student mentor at prestigious institution, your opinion is held in high regard. You’re the exact description of the societal construction of a smart person. Your identities and positions lend credibility to what you say, be it true or not. So, I’m sure you’re not accustomed to people telling you that you’re wrong, let alone when to shut up.
As someone who studies psychology and human behavior, I would think you would understand the affects your words have on others. In my experience, nearly every person who is socialized as a woman is societally trained to hate her body and to think she’ll never be enough. She can’t be thin enough. She can’t be smart enough. She can’t be chaste enough. The list goes on. So to publicly shame and humiliate PhD candidates is not only reckless and unprofessional, it is a deliberate contribution to misogyny, reinforcing the narrative that the worst thing a person could be is fat. In a world filled of people like you, it’s no wonder so many people have eating disorders, low self-esteem and other psychological issues: When every message someone receives about themselves is negative — be it undeserving of love or unable to write a dissertation because of their size — there is no other outcome except some sort of emotional distress.
Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Everyone. Fat people are not just the butt of a joke or lazy or unintelligent. Someone else’s body is not your business. At all.
I advise you to be careful about what you say and do. Exercise some willpower, and stop being a bully.Thank you and take care.
At 300 pounds, I’m surprised I had the willpower to finish this blog post.