So, I actually had the pleasure of watching this happen real time.
And, by pleasure, I meant the eye-roll inducing, headache-causing, frustration-inciting kind. So, not really pleasure at all.
After this fine, upstanding, evolutionary psych professor realized the error of his ways (also known as “was properly upbraided by his colleagues), the following tweets appeared:
My sincere apologies to all for that idiotic, impulsive, and badly judged tweet. It does not reflect my true views, values, or standards.
— Geoffrey Miller (@matingmind) June 3, 2013
Obviously my previous tweet does not represent the selection policies of any university, or my own selection criteria.
— Geoffrey Miller (@matingmind) June 3, 2013
…and then, his account was mysteriously locked, so that he could no longer be subjected to non-academics telling him how much of a fat-shaming scumbag he is– er, might be. Might be. Of course.
Jezebel’s – of course – Laura Beck had this to say:
Ruh roh! Who do you think got a call from the chair of his department? Oh! Maybe they called to offer him tenure? Ya think?
Miller’s apology isn’t irrelevant, but it is suspect, and I sincerely hope that he’s never allowed on an applicant review committee — or even able to conduct an interview.
I hope it goes without saying that body weight has no correlation to the greatness of one’s mind. If it did, we wouldn’t have Psycho, Matt Foley, or the last two contiguous states. I’d also hesitate to not call Oprah the smartest, savviest person alive. The cruelty and inaccuracy of statements like Millers can’t be emphasized enough, especially considering that many fat people read his tweet and it reinforced the societal message that our weight is our worth — not just physically, but mentally, as well.
Most depressing part? This man teaches a postgraduate level Human Emotions course. [source]
Those of us who remember the Psych Today situation with the professor who made the world’s most disparaging remarks against Black women? We remember that that guy was an evolutionary psychology professor – a highly respected one – as well.
What so many of the write-ups about the situation overlook, is the fact that this guy lectures at NYU and is, apparently, well-respected in his craft and followed, on twitter, by quite a few academics…
…who promptly began to chime in and validate his fat-shaming. “OBESE PEOPLE DO LACK WILL POWER.” was damn near a chant in that dude’s mentions column. (To be fair, there were plenty people dressing him down for his comment, as well.) I was shocked by it, but then again, I wasn’t. Considering the fact that professors with his expertise enjoy a far larger salary than the average person, that can absorb the cost of buying even the most frivolous “healthy convenience foods” at even the most expensive grocery/health food/foodie/food snob, I don’t expect them to be sensitive to people who have neither the money nor access to those stores.
And, don’t you worry, baby – I’m already aware that half of the people reading this have already written off that argument, and that’s fine. “But what about the people who can afford those products (considering half the US actually lives in poverty, yes… half , that number might not be as high as you think) and do have access to those stores (again, not as many as you think)?” they say. Do they have the knowledge it takes to work with fresh ingredients? Hell, if stores can barely understand how to keep produce fresh and instead sell processed food in abundance because they can’t afford the expense that comes with selling fresh food… do you think the average person new to fresh produce is gonna know? And, if they don’t and are willing to learn, how long do you think it takes to learn? How willing is a person going to be to learn, if they only waste money with rotting food in the beginning?
And, in a society that not only encourages emotional eating, not only uses it as a marketing tactic, but also refuses to embrace or accept or acknowledge it as an eating disorder… does it not make sense to see a lot of people who might be stress eating as a means of coping with a high-octane grad school program? And, by extension, people who are overweight as a result of that stress eating?
I mean, and this isn’t mere excuse-making – when I go speak places and have very frank and open discussions with people about their food choices, this is what I hear. It’s not fat-apologia; it’s trying to understand the legitimate barriers to healthy living, so that we can create resources to help people.
And, Mister Brilliant Evolutionary Science Scumbag Guy, one bonafide way to create resources for people? Is by punishing them for their size, and implying that they shouldn’t be admitted to their respective programs because of their size. You know, because if they were merely bulimic, at least you can’t tell if they have “will power issues.”
That last paragraph…was said by no one. EVER. EV. ER.
The weird thing about this dialogue – and the people who chimed in agreeing with him – is that it leaves us to wonder. Does size discrimination play any kind of role in graduate school admissions? Is this something worthy of exploration? Are biases playing a role in the process? I mean, education is clearly identified as a marker of upward mobility – even though the unemployment rate was high, it was considerably lower for college graduates than it was for non-college grads – and closing those doors to some because of their size directly affects their ability to live the healthy lives people expect us all to lead. The size discrimination is counter-intuitive used in this way.
His mentions, as of late, have been full of people razzing him for his statement and, while I don’t encourage that – I’d much rather you come follow me on twitter, instead – I don’t think it’s a bad thing to let him know your thoughts. Ahem.
Talk to me, y’all. Help me understand. What am I missing?