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Too Fat to Work

March 18, 2009

Time to tell my boyfriend to stop looking for a job.  No seriously, this family, in the UK claims that they are too fat to work.  And Mr. I is way fatter than these people, odd how he has no problem being a productive member of society (when we aren’t in the middle of a huge recession that is. )

They receive over 30k a year in government benefits for various reasons.  All, apparently, because they are fat fat fat fatties.  Not, because, y’know, they are people who for various reasons have chosen not to work.

The promotions of misconceptions about fat people in this article is RAMPANT.  I can’t even comment on them, the best I can do is list it:

  • Fat people are too lazy to exercise
  • Fat people are sick because of their weight (epilepsy now? What ISN”T caused by Teh Fat0RZ)
  • Fat people with disabilities are a burden to society
  • Fat people don’t know how to eat properly

All of this sums up to the idea that fat people are a burden on society.  What about thin families with disabilites?  no comments on them huh?

Though I must say the things they list as disabilities, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, are things that IMHO should not prevent one from working at some jobs.  (Obviously not all jobs are suitable for people with issues like that, but there is probably SOMETHING.)

They also perpetuate some ideas about weight losss like,

  • Losing weight will fix the problems in their lives
  • Losing weight permanently is possible

Have I covered it all?  Because.. I don’t really know who to be mad at.  The Telegraph for printing this horseshit, this family for allowing social attitudes about fat and disability to prevent them from findign fulfilling productive lives?

The article does do 2 almost productive things:

  • Point out how hard it is to eat healthy on a budget (except for the sneering listing of their caloric intake, nice guys, nice.)
  • Point out that weight is in fact hereditary (y’know except for the entire tone of the article that makes it seem like they are just useless whiners who could be thin if only they just worked hard enough.)

This article is bad, not just like, poorly written and generally full of horseshit, but it is also bad because it is a big step backward in the movement to make people see fat people differently  Since society already thinks that fat people are lazy and eat too much then this article will just further prove that point.  To society fat people who eat healthy and exercise and lead fullfilling lives and aren’t sick, these people are the exception.  Families like this one are the rule.

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  1. Google tells me that 24 stone is 336lbs.

    Asthma and epilepsy are NOT a result of being overweight. Both can make it harder to exercise, which can result in mobility problems and some weight gain, but usually not hundreds of pounds. Good GOD this is stupid.

  2. Vidya permalink

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure that this article basically amounts to a fabrication by the author. I mean, the family (pictured) probably really does exist, and most/all of those few members perhaps don’t presently have jobs, but I have a very difficult time that anyone would claim fatness as the basis for indefinite social assistance eligibility (okay, except for that time Homer Simpson did it). My hunch is that these folks actually qualify on the basis of their respective medical issues (some of which are perhaps unstated in the piece), and that the author has manipulated the facts (and perhaps misquoted the people involved).

  3. Wow. So Mr. Twistie with his Type II diabetes and high blood pressure can’t work? I’d better tell his boss that. Of course then the entire office would fall apart and implode because Mr. Twistie is quite literally the only one there who understands anything about how computers work and he spends half his life cleaning up the mess when someone opens YET ANOTHER OBVIOUS SPAM EMAIL and downloads the attachment.

    I note, too, that while the parents’ weight is given as pretty much the sole reason they can’t work (despite the fact that both have medical issues that could – if bad enough and depending on the line of work they used to do – lead to getting disability no matter what their weight), one daughter is on more or less unemployment benefits rather than disability ones, and the other is in training for a career in hairdressing. So it would seem that the two daughters are both making an effort to gain employment, which runs counter to the concept of the article that fat fatties can’t work and thus are a drain on society.

    Seriously, whoever wrote this needs to go back to Journalism 101A and learn how to recognize what facts are being reported.

    I did, however, appreciate the fact that food economics and genetics did manage to worm their way into the tale.

  4. That’s mortifying – talk about perpetuating stereotypes!

    As someone who just moved back from the UK, I’d like to note that the Telegraph never wrote an article on how I, a DEATH FAT! person worked full-time for the five years we lived there.


  5. eli permalink

    In what world is epilepsy a result of being overweight?

  6. fillyjonk permalink

    Vidya, that was my thought too. Since the last thing I read in the Telegraph was hysterical whinging over Obama snubbing the Browns by getting them insufficiently warm and personal gifts, e.g. model helicopters for their boys — very rude because it rubs it in that Obama has a helicopter and Brown doesn’t! — I am getting the sense it’s another Daily Mail. It’s hard for Americans sometimes to know what foreign publications to write off and which to take seriously. I glanced around the Telegraph site and I’d say it’s a cross between USA Today and the Enquirer.

    Basically, I call shenanigans. There’s no way this is actual journalism.

  7. La di Da permalink

    The Daily Mail is not fit to be used as bird cage floor liner. Daily Fail!

  8. Catgal permalink

    This article offends me as a fat person! I have been employed at the same place for 17+ years, and during some of those years I was 300+ pounds on a 5’4″ frame. I don’t know what else to say. It’s a complex issue with, I am sure, other health factors.

    But seriously, EPILEPSY!!!! WTF???

  9. Caitlin permalink

    FJ, yeah, the Telegraph’s basically another tabloid.

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