Legislation against "fattism"

Discussion in 'Lighter Life Forum' started by Jezebella, 19 October 2009 Social URL.

  1. Jezebella

    Jezebella Playing the Angel

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    I have just been watching the London evening news on BBC. Not sure if anyone else saw it. They had a very interesting item and then debate. Basically in SF in the USA it is now illegal to discriminate or bully overweight people. Doctors cannot discuss your weight with you if you don't want to talk about it. They are claiming it is as bad as people discriminating against others for gender, age, disability and race.

    We all know a lot of bullying takes place, and to prove it a woman who was from London, who was beaten up on a night out because of being overweight was intereviewed. This is obviously totally unacceptable. They also interviewed a lady who is pro this legislation and a gentleman from the Obesity forum. Most of us know the excuses we have made, and most of us have lost the weight and maintained it. Do you think this legislation is a good idea or not? Would you support it? There is legislation against violence and bullying which would cover incidendents as mentioned above.

    To put it in perspective, both smoking and being overweight are mostly personal choices with negative health effects. Should we be left to our personal choices or should the government intervene??? Will this legislation help?

    Sorry this is all a bit rambly, but your thoughts would be appreciated.

    Jez
    xx
     
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  3. roundrachel

    roundrachel Silver Member

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    heard the debate on the Jeremy Vine show today while I was driving. The woman was saying obsese people could do any job including being a firefighter, air stewardess etc. Peronally, when I was 23 stone I had trouble tying my shoe laces let alone anything physical!

    I struggled to stay awake in meetings because I was so lethargic all the time. Walking was a struggle and whilst I didn't have any time off due to illness, I was in poor health and setting a poor image for my company (I work in sport)

    I agree that nobody should be discriminated against because of their weight but there needs to be an honesty that if you're morbidly obese, there are some jobs you just won't be able to do as well as someone with the same qualifications but a normal BMI.

    I don't think being obese should become socially acceptable but I also think any kind of bullying is obscene for whatever reason.

    It's a very interesting debate. The woman on the radio didn't know how much she weighed and guessed around the 22 stone mark but claimed she should be able to do any job she wanted. Every job has a criteria and if you're not fit enough to do it because of your weight (army, police, fire etc), you can't possibly think of that as discrimination can you? It's just the way the world works!
     
  4. Jezebella

    Jezebella Playing the Angel

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    Interesting stuff, I battled with things when overweight - even walking up and down stairs in tube stations! They have a longer version of the programme on now on BBC2

    Jez
    xx
     
  5. The Rose

    The Rose Rosie

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    This is an interesting debate, so can i throw a few more things in here. There are lots of legislations and laws against violence, however, this does not prevent people being abusive verbally or physically towards them. How many people have been beaten up because they are black or because they are gay? Legislation would not prevent this.

    I just think that laws are made to be broken and we will always get imbeciles in this world who will abuse others. Can we prevent this, I really dont think we can.

    Are people that are black given the best jobs, no they are not. Are people that are overweight given the best jobs, no they are probably not a lot of the time. It seems a lot more acceptable in America to be overweight but not here.

    Hope I havent offended anyone but I honestly do not think any legislation will make a difference.
     
  6. Foxtrot

    Foxtrot Is back in the saddle!

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    Discrimination laws are a blooming nightmare from an employers point of view. You want the best for your company and those that already work there but have, at all times, to be seen to be over and above such a thing as discrimination. I don't really care what you look like, what or who you have sex with or if you are green, I just want you to have the best qualifications for the job. I've still got to call in for interview the 4' 10", African, blonde, lesbian who's in a wheel chair who applied for the job of shifting 5 tonnes of steel through the store room each day even though she's obviously not appropriate for the job. (Appologies if you are 4' 10", African, blonde, lesbian and in a wheel chair but we don't actually have that position to fill anymore.) All you can do is put someone through their paces and give them the chance to prove themselves.

    Where did that thing... common sense, go? :sigh:
     
  7. Jezebella

    Jezebella Playing the Angel

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    Agreed!

    Jez
    xx
     
  8. randomgurl

    randomgurl Full Member

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    My personal views is that legistation should scrap racism, sexism, every other-ism and instead have it under one broad catorgory as 'discrimination'.

    There was an incident a few years ago with my then nextdoor neighbour who was 14 or 15 at the time. He had been bullied for years about his weight (and later developed an eating disorder)... and noone would do anything about it. He made one comment to one of is bullies and it was seen as racism (I dont even think it was a racist comment!) and because of the 'seriousness of anything with an ism' he was immediately suspended from school. Hows that fair? And just because my neighbour was overweight instead of an ethnic minority why wasnt he entitled to the same protection?

    In my personal experience I believe I was sacked for being overweight (might be just my belief, but the new boss started talking about 'image' and that his new uniforms might be a bit skimpy for me shortly before then and after being sacked neither me or the other staff could see a real reason.)... though I don't think a obese person should be intitled to any job if it was an 'ism' ... just fair treatment. A highly unfit person -wont- be able to do some jobs, just as there are limitations for those with disabilities.

    Legislation wont help though... not unless companys are required to have a certain amount of obese people working or something strange like that.

    It wont stop people being jumped or beaten, or insulted either.... but it might help tings to be taken more seriously...
     
  9. Jezebella

    Jezebella Playing the Angel

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    The quota system certainly does not work. It was implimented in SA shortly after the Democratic Elections. You had to have a black director on your board of directors, x many black employees, coloured employees, indian employees etc - if you were white you came last (reverse racism) What was sad was people were employed for colour not skill - lots of companies did fall apart. The same has happened in SA sport - a quota system of how many people of ethnick minority must be on your team etc - Personally I think, give people chances yes, but if they can't do the job, then don't employ them. It would never happen in a Western country.

    Jez
    xx
     
  10. Blonde Logic

    Blonde Logic Yes. You can.

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    I would have to disagree with part of this.

    I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. And my entire life, I felt judged for being fat.

    I found life in the UK much more tolerant of my size - in my jobs here I never felt ostracised, or an outcast. Back home, I always felt it was something that set me aside from the rest.

    Hard to say how much of it was imagined - I just know no one on any of my teams at work here ever made me feel like an outcast. I found it quite refreshing after life as a fat person in skinny California.

    It is probably different in the deep south of America, where obesity IS a huge problem - there diet is heavy fat, lard, fried foods, etc.

    I don;t know....i just never felt as self consious in the uK about my weight as I did in the US. :
     
  11. Beeswax

    Beeswax Tiny dancer

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    My only tuppence worth is to agree with BL - I used to live in CA as well and if anything there's a sort of fetish for athleticism there. It's not enough to be slim (I was slim! But still felt not up-to-scratch) because it's all about being *toned*, and talking about the gym and doing spinning classes till you die and drinking wheatgrass smoothies... arg.

    I also lived in the deep South (well, Georgia!) and while there were more overweight people there were loads of slim healthy types too - except they weren't as full-on as the peeps in CA! However I did live in a college town so that may have skewed things.
     
  12. Minerva

    Minerva ...passing through.

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    Now then, this may or may not be off topic... But if we can't protect people against even the most basic of rights: not to be discriminated against for just the colour of their skin, then how do you suppose we protect people through some form of 'choice' in the way they have become the way they are? When I was fat I knew it was my fault and that I didn't do enough to help myself out of the problem. When I smoked I knew it was my own choice and I stood in the rain waiting for the bus - because people under the shelter shouldn't be exposed to my second hand smoke, it's not fair on them. I quit smoking, and I would fully expect the same respect from a smoker.

    Watch this Panorama episode; I didn't realise how disgusting people can be against another human being. BBC iPlayer - Panorama: Undercover - Hate on the Doorstep


    Now then, yes, overweight and obese people should be treated equally and fairly because it's not always as straight forward or as easy as 'just losing weight'. Sometimes it is a medical condition, sometimes a psychological one, and sometimes even a personal choice. We are all still people and deserve the same chances. But, definitely for some roles that demand a level of physical fitness (i.e. public sector; fireman, policeman etc) you cannot employ someone who can't pass the test as he would be putting the client (i.e. the citizen) in danger because s/he can't do his role 100%. You can't really demand a 'target' for employing overweight people either - if they don't meet the job desciption. I don't believe there should be targets at all - after the scandals at the London Met about equality - while it is an absolutely wonderful thing to be given a fair chance - it can sometimes go too far - as is the case with the rise of the female rights movements. After all, if you think about it, who wears the trousers in the work place now? I'd say the woman - she cries 'wolf' and the world takes notice. ... a man does the same? People wave their hand at him and say he was being an arse.
     
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