Back in October, I waded into the rough waters of discussing women’s weight issues, and the discrimination that naturally follows. Again, I know that’s not much of a news flash; in a society that’s obsessed with beauty, of course overweight people, women especially (trust me, I’ve been there many a time), are going to be scrutinized and looked down upon with disgust. From what they wear to what they eat, everything they do is viewed with an eye toward absolute repulsion — because honestly, how dare they believe they’re normal. If you’re an overweight woman, your every waking move is going to be stigmatized.
In fact, rather damning character traits are regularly ascribed to overweight people, without any care as to whether those individuals are actually lazy, greedy, or devoid of self control. Ah, stereotypes. Even when they’re completely untrue, they’re so damn hard to shake.
Is it any surprise that these platitudes follow overweight women into the courtroom?
Over the past few days, everyone has been talking about Jennifer Livingston, the Wisconsin morning news anchor who responded on the air to a male viewer’s email about her weight. In his letter, the male viewer told Livingston that she wasn’t a “suitable example” for young people because of her physical appearance. Her courageous counterpoint went viral, and ever since, she’s been making her rounds on the TV talk show circuit to address what she thinks is the root of the problem, and why people think letters like this are acceptable: bullying.
Now, you may be asking yourself why I chose to write about this today. To be honest, when I first watched Livingston’s video on Tuesday night, I really had no intention to do so. I thought that she was a very strong woman who chose to stand up for herself, and really, for all overweight people, but that her four-minute segment didn’t need to be addressed here at Above the Law. (Not even after being asked in the comments yesterday whether I thought I was a “good role model,” an obvious jab about my own weight.)
But then I found out a little more about the man who emailed Livingston to criticize her weight. As it turns out, he’s a lawyer….
Ed. note: This is the latest column by our newest writer, Anonymous Partner. In case you missed his prior posts, they are collected here.
We all know how difficult to stay at a healthy weight while living the Biglaw lifestyle. Too many hours sitting down, with desk drawers nicely stocked for a quick bite in between phone calls. Sitting inside office buildings all day, with easy access to vending machines stocked with soda and junk food. Carb-heavy breakfasts for client meetings and lateral interview sessions. Food orgies masquerading as CLE sessions and firm meetings. Business development lunches and dinners at fancy restaurants with comprehensive wine and scotch lists. Seamless Web. Two cities, three depositions, one week — equaling plane snacks, room service, and more restaurants. Year in, year out, for a decade or two or three. No wonder your typical Biglaw partner has seen better days waistline-wise.
I know firsthand that it is not easy to drop those Biglaw pounds. But the effort is worth it. In my case, it took some real discipline to arrest what threatened to be a constant addition of one or two pounds a year. I was getting chunky, and as I noted in my first column, I only saw extremes in my older colleagues. I am not a runner, and while working out at home added on some muscle, there was no way I was going to see real results without changing my eating (and drinking) habits.
Everyone has their favorite weight loss tips. Here’s what has worked for me, in terms of keeping the extra pounds away….
If they ask your kid to pose for stock photography that will come up when somebody searches for "fat kid," that's not a good sign.
An article from the Journal of the American Medical Association is making the rounds today. It’s written by a lawyer and a doctor. The authors argue that obese children should be taken away from their parents and placed in foster care.
Yes, it’s entirely possible that this country has become so vain that people want to make letting your kids get fat an offense tantamount to child abuse. But that’s not what’s going on here. The authors aren’t suggesting that parents should lose custody rights if little Johnny has a tubby tummy. Instead, the authors are concerned when little Johnny has diabetes and a measurable gravitational pull by the time he’s 11.
If it weren’t for the fact that foster care in this country is just a little bit better than sending kids to concentration camps, I think I would support this idea. Parents should be on a shorter leash in general….
We apologize again for yesterday’s technical difficulties, but if you thought we weren’t going to weigh in on the Hooters anti-fatty policy you haven’t been paying a whole lot of attention. Yesterday, a Michigan judge ruled that a weight discrimination case brought against Hooters restaurants could go forward.
When the suit was filed, back in May, I sarcastically quipped about fat people being a protected class in Michigan. Apparently, that’s exactly what’s happening. The WSJ Law Blog reports:
According to this story from the Grand Rapids Press, the suit cites Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination by employers based on a number of factors. Height and weight discrimination were added in a 1976 amendment by then-state Rep. Thomas Mathieu.
Mathieu originally introduced the height and weight amendment because he was “flabbergasted” by the number of cases of unfairness involving women seeking office jobs who possessed the necessary skills and personality, but were overweight.
Let’s all take a moment to reflect on the necessary skills and personality needed to be a Hooter’s waitress…
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