Everyone's talking about it. It's all around feminist spaces and the fatosphere. Have you heard yet? Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico sent out a tweet saying: "Dear obese Ph.D. applicants: If you don’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation #truth." TRUTH, y'all. Once his employers got wind of the backlash Miller issued an apology. One Tweet read "My sincere apologies to all for that idiotic, impulsive, and badly judged tweet. It does not reflect my true views, values, or standards.” And a second tweet followed: “Obviously my previous tweet does not represent the selection policies of any university, or my own selection criteria.” Obviously Geoffrey? Because it doesn't seem that obvious to me. What seems obvious is your own bigotry.
He later claimed that this was all part of some social experiment. If it was, I doubt he would have deleted the tweet and made his twitter private (can't take the heat Geoff?). The University is looking into the claims, but hopefully will see fit to fire his bigoted fatphobic ass.
So lots of people are working to prove his claim wrong. There's a new tumblr, Fuck Yeah! Fat PhDs which includes grad students from around the country. What I want to talk about is the elitism in this tweet and the idea that fat people are inherently stupid because they can't become thin. First of all, full disclosure, I never finished college. Because of my untreated bipolar I had a breakdown my second semester and never went back because, to be honest, my bipolar is still not fully under control. I didn't not finish college because I'm fat.
More so, fatness is correlated with lower income so at least a portion of fat people likely don't have the resources to go to college. So this tweet gets into classist areas as well. But really there's an overwhelming stereotype of the fat stupid person (think the simpsons or family guy). As Miller's tweet implies, fat people are just too stupid to get thin. You know, we can't count calories because math is hard. Or carbs as Miller says. Science has even tried to prove it. Of course, "science" also said that black women were "objectively" less attractive than other races. Oh look, another evolutionary psychologist (feign surprise).
The ignorance and bigotry in these stereotypes is astounding. Fat people come in all types- body wise and intellect wise. Just like thin people (fat people are just like thin people?! Tell me it ain't so!). It's, very simply, another oppression method. One has to wonder if it plays into the fact that fat people are less likely to be hired or promoted and that thin people make more than fat people. For Miller to potentially roadblock a student's education based on how hot they are is disgusting.
And of course, this whole thing implies that anyone who doesn't attend college/get a PhD is just a less worthy person than someone who does, which is why I think that proving fat people can be intelligent only goes so far. We need to have an open discussion on these elitist attitudes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that higher education isn't a great great thing. I'm saying that not everyone has the same resources- physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, time-wise, etc and that we can't blame or devalue people based on that.
So, what are your thoughts on the Geoffrey Miller incident?