Tag Archives: University

Body Hatred–We have an “App” for That!

iphoneappsadArrrrrrrgh!  A good friend recently shared this link with me.  (Warning–following link leads to stupid picture and ridiculous article.  Please check your sanity points level before you engage.)  It’s an article about an upcoming Anti-obesity app that will show people how they will look in the future if “their diet and exercise habits don’t change”.  Developed by the same folks who created an anti-smoking app that shows people what they will look like if they continued to smoke, the idea is that people become so horrified at their future, fatter selves that they will magically stick to restrictive diets and vigorous exercise programs and will stay svelte and beautiful for-EVAH.

Except maybe not.

It’s instructive that the story suggests that people using the app will be able to enter queries asking “what I will look like in four weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks, 26 weeks or a year.”  Because one year is about the point at which many weight loss attempts start to go south and regain becomes common.  It’s interesting that the article does not suggest you will be able to ask what you will look like in five years.  Perhaps that’s because by that point, you have a 90-95 percent chance of looking the same or even larger than when you started.

Also, it’s been widely reported that bodies metabolize food and exercise very differently.  I’m wondering how this “app” will account for that.  We all know there are some people who eat a lot of junk food and spend a lot of time watching TV but never gain weight.  We also know some people eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and exercise quite a lot but don’t lose a lot of weight.  So how will this app account for those differences?  My guess–it won’t.  It will be based on some ridiculously over-simplified, generic, set of statistics that are custom-built to have the biggest impact on your “avatar” that has little or possibly even NO basis in reality.

beforeafterThere are many things about this upcoming app that make me angry and a little crazy.  But maybe one of the things that makes me most upset is the notion that this app, built by researchers at a freaking UNIVERSITY are working with the notion that shame will help make people thin.  Just how many research studies do we need exactly to prove that shame doesn’t make people, especially young people thin?  Seriously?!  And does the app have a convenient “Thinspo” feature that allows people with eating disorders utilize these visualization features?

Come on colleges and universities!  I mean, totally fabulous “Love Your Body Week” programs aside, you’ve got a way to go here.  It’s not just Professor Terrible that’s the problem.  It’s the fact that you approve and even allocate funding for projects like this stupid app.  It’s the fact that fat people are less likely to be admitted to your universities than thin people.  Maybe it’s time to stop focusing so much on people with big fat wallets and start focusing on being fair to people who are simply fat.

Love,

The Fat Chick

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Why We Can’t Forget Dr. Geoffrey Miller AKA Professor Terrible

It seems a lot of the uproar surrounding Dr. Geoffrey Miller has died down.  But a new study out of Bowling Green University helps to confirm that this issue of discrimination against fat college applicants is real and maybe it’s really, really important that we don’t stop talking about it.

For those of  you who might not remember, Dr. Geoffrey Miller got himself in just a little hot water for tweeting:

“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”

As I predicted, the PR poo storm did indeed hit “Biblical proportions”–at least for a while.  Dr. Geoffrey tried a multitude of evasion tactics, including a half-hearted, insincere apology and claiming that he was doing some sort of research experiment.

Many of us, including me called shenanigans on his post tweet wiggling.  And the University of New Mexico pledged to look into the whole “research experiment” claim.  They did.  And not surprisingly, they decided that the claim was baseless, that the tweet doesn’t qualify as research and they are continuing a disciplinary investigation. UNM suggests that the investigation would take several more weeks.   NYU, has not indicated they have any intent of pursuing disciplinary action against the tweeting professor.

Since then, the world has not paid much attention to Dr. Geoffrey Miller  or the issue of fat discrimination in college.  And that’s not good.

Because the study out of Bowling Green indicates that this business of fat discrimination for college applicants is a really big problem.  And as the amazing Lesley Kinzel of Two Whole Cakes points out in her brilliant article in xoJane, this is hardly the first study to indicate that fat bias in college admissions.

But the Bowling Green study looks very specifically at the issue of when college students experience the discrimination and the disproportionate effect the discrimination may have on women.  The study found that when fat and thin students did an in-person interview, the fat applicants were less likely to be admitted to college.  However, the study found, when applicants were interviewed over the phone, fat students were admitted at about the same rate as thin ones.

So my dear readers, I suggest that this is no time to be quiet on the subject of Dr. Geoffrey Miller, his ill-considered tweets or the subject of discrimination in college admissions.  Maybe now would be a good time to write some letters to NYU and UNM to let them know that Dr. Geoffrey Miller should not be let off the hook and that we are deeply concerned about college admissions discrimination.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Like my posts?  You’ll love my stuff!

Buy my book: The Fat Chick Works Out! (Fitness that is Fun and Feasible for Folks of All Ages, Shapes Sizes and Abilities)–available in softcover and e-book versions

Buy my DVD: The Fat Chick Works Out! (A Safe, Easy and Fun Workout for Klutzes, Wimps and Absolute Beginners!)

Buy a book or a DVD for a friend and save $5!  Just enter FRIENDBLFT in the discount code box!

Check out my Training Programs–both in person and via Skype (Starting at just $25!)

or

Book me to speak at your special event!