So, yeah. I’ve been continuing to follow the saga of Dr. Geoffrey Miller and day two of what just might be his worst week ever. In case you missed it, this whole thing started when Dr. Miller tweeted:
Dear obese PhD applicants: if you don’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation. #truth
Cue the poo storm of epic proportions. It’s enough to keep writers at Jezebel, HuffPo, Jane and Bitch magazines happily scribbling for weeks. I mean we are talking about worldwide calls for Game of Thrones-style retribution here. But amongst all the yelling, are some very interesting developments.
First, there’s this video response from Miller’s colleague and UNM Psychology Department Chairwoman, Prof. Jane Ellen Smith.
It is interesting to note that Professor Smith seems to take this whole tweeting business pretty darn seriously. But right in the middle of the video, she reveals the third-act-dramatic-twist! Professor Smith says that Dr. Miller is now claiming that the whole tweeting business was part of an “research study” he was running.
So were his initial support tweets of his original hate tweet followed by his hasty apology about his original hate tweet followed his frantic tweet declaring that of course neither he nor the university actually follow any practices that might be implied by his original hate tweet all part of the “social experiment” as well? Was it part of his experiment to close down his twitter feed to all outside viewers who are not confirmed followers part of the experiment? 140 characters isn’t a lot to work with, but somehow I think this dude still doth protest too much. I am encouraged that Prof. Smith says she’s going to look into the validity of his claim.
It’s amazing just how much passion has been stirred up over this whole thing. I am really, really excited to tell you about a new blog started by Dr. Cat Pausé called Fuck yeah! Fat PhDs all about being fatlicious in academia. In this blog she is posting images of fat people in academia, many of whom somehow managed to get accepted into a program, complete coursework, finish their dissertations and walk up to the platform to receive their diplomas all while sporting bodies above a BMI of 25. Imagine that!
Look, I don’t know Dr. Miller. I can only comment on the things that I see. And what I see is a guy that didn’t have enough will power to wait 30 seconds to consider his life, his career and his responsibilities as a human being before hitting the send button on a hateful one hundred odd characters all about, wait for it, will power. His apologies and the subsequent “social experiment” defense, seem a little suspect to me.
So, if Dr. Miller wants me to believe in his sincerity, he’s going to have to put some actions behind those hundred character mea culpa statements. Let me know that he’s read some of the brilliant writing about Fat Stigma from such visionary teachers, researchers and writers as:
Amy Erdman Farrell, Dickinson University, author of Fat Shame: Fat Stigma and the Body in American Culture
Abigail C. Saguy, UCLA, author of What’s Wrong with Fat?
Dr. Linda Bacon, UC Davis, author of Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About your Weight
of course, if he’s still confused about Health At Every Size or Fat Stigma, I would be happy to come and speak on the topic at any of the universities he’s affiliated with. Or they could hire any of my many amazing colleagues like Ragen Chastain, Golda Poretsky or Marilyn Wann to speak. If he actually makes some kind of attempt to learn from his mistake by spending just a little time listening to those of us who have spent decades doing actual, you know, science around this topic, I might be inclined to believe him.
Or maybe I’ll just tweet about it.
The Fat Chick
The Fat Chick
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I can definitely see how tweeting random fatphobic comments would benefit an evolutionary psychologist. Ahem, ahem.
As someone who has done quite a bit of actual social scientific research into fat stigma, I can tell you I am 100% positive Dr. Terrible is NOT doing this for research purposes. In order to do publishable research, he would have to propose his research to an IRB (think of them as the ethics council) and get their approval. I can guarantee you no IRB, ever, ever, *ever, would condone this kind of research. Think of them like nervous, lawyerly peeps, and you get the idea. So, honestly, any academic who has done actual research knows his claim is pure BS.
Thanks for charting this drama, Fat Chick. Such fun! ❤
Thanks Lesleigh. It’s a little like a soap opera, isn’t it? Well at least we only have to master three looks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TktV93g9H3g :o)