Don't Even Think About It

From Pelosi or Trump, Fat Shaming Is Never Cool

Pelosi Jabs at TrumpCommon ground is awfully hard to find right now. But here’s an easy one. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a D or an R or anything else. Fat shaming is never cool. It just happened last night when Speaker Nancy Pelosi made an off-handed remark about President Donald Trump being “morbidly obese.”

Please, people. This is stupid, no matter where you sit on the partisan spectrum.

Obsolete Terminology

Morbid obesity is terminology introduced by HW Scott et al in 1970 to convey disgust:

When an obese individual attains the gargantuan level of the fat man or fat woman in the circus and maintains this degree of massive obesity for many years, we believe the adjective morbid should be added to emphasize the serious health implications and severe, life-shortening hazards of such grotesque accumulations of fat.

This terminology is fading just as other derisive medical terminology has faded for other conditions. The correct terminology is stage III or severe obesity. Morbid obesity is not a correct description of our President’s weight status (the White House says his BMI is 30.4). It is simply obsolete language that serves for delivering an insult.

Distracting Hypocrisy

Regardless of the medical facts, throwing around these words is a mistake. From a progressive point of view, Abdul El-Sayed explains in a tweet:

From a more cynical perspective, James tweets:

No matter how you look at this unfortunate mistake, it’s dumb. It was dumb when Trump did it. Likewise it was dumb when Pelosi did it. Fat shaming is never cool.

Don’t Even Think About It, photograph © Jan Truter / flickr

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May 19, 2020

2 Responses to “From Pelosi or Trump, Fat Shaming Is Never Cool”

  1. May 19, 2020 at 8:02 am, David said:

    It is not “fat shaming” to point out that someone who is responsible for the country should not be self-prescribing medication which is proven to be both ineffective and dangerous for someone with his BMI.

  2. May 19, 2020 at 1:19 pm, Ted said:

    Your suggestion that it might be unwise to take hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 prevention is correct. However, a person’s BMI has nothing to do with that. Furthermore, it’s always disrespectful and insulting to call someone “morbidly obese.” The whole point of that phrase is to convey disgust. That’s why thoughtful health professionals don’t use it anymore. So yes, as a matter of fact, this is fat shaming. Plain and simple.