Following the election of Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto on Monday evening and throughout the campaign critics would often point to his physical appearance as a flaw. Comments reigned in on Twitter shortly after the election results were posted, demeaning him based on his physical appearance.
When questioned about said comments, some Tweeters thought that it was acceptable to mock fat people because it was something that one could control.
“Because Race & Sexual Orientation AREN’T a choice but being morbidly obese IS A CHOICE and fair game,” was tweeted at me.
“You can control your weight,” said another.
Shame on you, humanity.
Obesity is not always a choice.
“It will be a real shame if Fat Ass kills off the TTC Streetcars,” was an example of the many tweets attacking Toronto’s new mayor.
Imagine if that quote read: “It will be a real shame if The Queer kills off the TTC Streetcars” or “It will be a real shame if The Wop kills off the TTC Streetcars.”
Media and human rights groups would be screaming from their soapboxes for justice – and rightfully so. Attacking someone based on sexual orientation or ethnicity are values unacceptable to Canadians and most other citizens of the world.
So why do we accept fat slurs? Why is it fair game?
In a society that has seen its fair share of bullying issues in schools (and even the workplace) we need to set a better example as adults and show that mocking someone for their physical appearance is not acceptable. Furthermore, we complain about the level of political discourse in this country, yet we allow it to get to that level.
Recall the 1993 Canadian Federal Election. The Conservative Party ran an ad campaign attacking Jean Chretien’s facial features. We all know how that ended up for the Conservatives. Canadians rejected the intolerance found in those ads (among other things).
Unfortunately, we sometimes let physical appearance cloud our judgment and discount people with good ideas. Whether you agree with Rob Ford or disagree with Rob Ford or couldn’t care less about Rob Ford, attack him on his ideas, his policies, his track record. Just don’t judge him based on his physical appearance. As human beings, we should not stoop to that level.
After reading some of the election commentary over the past 10 months, it is no wonder we often end up with electoral choices where none of the above is seen as the best option. Who would want to put themselves through all the scrutiny?
Given that the digital age has proven we all live in a glass house, it would be best if no one were to cast a stone.
Some food for thought (pardon the pun): We in the western world mock those who pack on a few extra pounds while other societies appreciate and celebrate largess.
Now please excuse me while I go hit the gym to shed my “MBA 20”.
- Mocking other people based on physical appearance is wrong.
- Attack ideas, not people.