Sunday, February 03, 2008

Why Isn't It Politically Incorrect to Torment Obese People?

I've had it. Fat Doctor, this is your piece to blog about. Why can a legislator even propose a bill that would forbid restaurants to serve obese people? (I know, I know, you don't eat them anyway, unless they're served with dijon mustard). Even if it is Mississippi, what is this guy thinking? Substitute Native Americans, black people, Jews, Irish Nuns, Homosexuals, Cat Lovers, and he'd be tossed out of office. Why is it okay to target and torment the obese?


Mississippi Pols Seek To Ban Fats

New bill would make it illegal for restaurants to serve the obese

FEBRUARY 1--Mississippi legislators this week introduced a bill that would make it illegal for state-licensed restaurants to serve obese patrons. Bill No. 282, a copy of which you'll find below, is the brainchild of three members of the state's House of Representatives, Republicans W. T. Mayhall, Jr. and John Read, and Democrat Bobby Shows. The bill, which is likely dead on arrival, proposes that the state's Department of Health establish weight criteria after consultation with Mississippi's Council on Obesity. It does not detail what penalties an eatery would face if its grub was served to someone with an excessive body mass index. (2 pages)


MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2008 Regular Session

To: Public Health and Human Services; Judiciary B

By: Representative Mayhall, Read, Shows

House Bill 282

AN ACT TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FROM SERVING FOOD TO ANY PERSON WHO IS OBESE, BASED ON CRITERIA PRESCRIBED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO PREPARE WRITTEN MATERIALS THAT DESCRIBE AND EXPLAIN THE CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A PERSON IS OBESE AND TO PROVIDE THOSE MATERIALS TO THE FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO MONITOR THE FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. (1) The provisions of this section shall apply to any food establishment that is required to obtain a permit from the State Department of Health under Section 41-3-15(4)(f), that operates primarily in an enclosed facility and that has five (5) or more seats for customers.

(2) Any food establishment to which this section applies shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health after consultation with the Mississippi Council on Obesity Prevention and Management established under Section 41-101-1 or its successor. The State Department of Health shall prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese, and shall provide those materials to all food establishments to which this section applies. A food establishment shall be entitled to rely on the criteria for obesity in those written materials when determining whether or not it is allowed to serve food to any person.

(3) The State Department of Health shall monitor the food establishments to which this section applies for compliance with the provisions of this section, and may revoke the permit of any food establishment that repeatedly violates the provisions of this section.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2008.










15 comments:

Roy said...

Mississippi, huh? Don't they already have separate bathrooms and water fountains for people who are obese?

You'd think they would have prior experience with this line of thinking, but I guess that whole doomed to repeat history thing is true.

Midwife with a Knife said...

Not only that, but aren't a larger proportion of mississippians obese than much of the population? What's that going to do to restaurant businesses, if 1/2 of their patrons fail the pre-meal weigh in?

Aqua said...

It is shameful how so many people treat obese people. I hear so many people, professionals, lay people, even Drs make comments about obese people that they would never make about any other group of people.

I'm not obese and I spoke with a Dr about how depressed I was and she told me if I lost a few pounds my depression would probably get better. What a piece of garbage.

Anyways, in the Vancouver Sun Newspaper today they had an interesting article on just this topic: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=21de82c7-d2bb-422b-95a0-930f507b3f12&k=1131

Sorry, but whoever came up with the Mississippi proposal is an uninformed oaf.

Anonymous said...

I'm obese and I'm so used to dealing with this kind of prejudice and discrimination that nothing fazes me anymore.

I used to have Anorexia Nervosa (restricting sub-type 2) and weighed little more than 80 pounds. People actually told me they admired my willpower. Can you believe that???

Oh, well. I don't take these things to heart anymore, thankfully.

Good post.

Jonathan Schnapp said...

Go tell it on the mountain!

Except this isn't at all limited to the technically obese. Overweight people of any sort get made fun of and tormented.

I think a big part of this is our current culture of health. "Body Fascism" I once heard it called. If physical fitness is next to godliness (move over cleanliness), then every one of us (myself included) that is overweight or out of shape are going to hell. Sort of. Or at the very least it shows that we're too lazy and weak willed to be skinny and athletic.

Pardon my art school deconstructionist rhetoric. :P

resonance said...

This AP article claims that it was not intended seriously.

"I was trying to shed a little light on the number one problem in Mississippi," said Republican Rep. John Read of Gautier, who acknowledges that at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, he'd probably have a tough time under his own bill.

It's still a really dumb idea.

Fat Doctor said...

OK, OK, I give. I haven't been over to your site for awhile because I've been working hours that would make residents cry, but the title of this post brought me over!

I think the reason this would not work is evident, but it sure got me to think, and I think that is the purpose of the bill. At our next all-you-can eat buffets, won't we all be a bit more careful? :)

My biggest concern is that 200 on one person is obese, but on another person it's not. BMI, baby! And who is going to weigh and measure each diner and then get out the little calculator?

Food police, literally. And they should all look like my mother.

Maybe they'll require us to put our BMI on our driver's licenses.

Mine, by the way, has gone from 50.4 to 44.8 in only 41 days. Not that I'm bragging or anything. Ha!

Health Psych said...

Yep, how's that going to work? The Maitre D' measures you and weighs you in at the front desk?

What a disgusting idea. It has to be a joke, surely.

Tracy said...

Just starve them down to size? That's ridiculous. If I lived in Mississippi, I'd be sending some enraged letters and they would never be getting my vote again.

Also, what if it was a health food restaurant? What if the person is obese due to a medical condition and not overeating? What about all the pregnant women who will technically be considered obese by their BMI? What about the football players who have 5% body fat but 50 extra pounds of muscle? What if it's an obese person on a strict diet who is out for their birthday treat? I even know someone who lost 100 pounds by eating almost exclusively at McDonald's (it helped her with portion control).

No one deserves to be humiliated just for trying to go out for a nice dinner.

Jonathan Schnapp said...

I'm suddenly reminded of a scene from the French animated film, "The Triplets of Belleville."

In order to control his weight as the cyclist character prepares for the Tour de France he'd eat his meals while sitting on a scale and he'd eat until he reached a certain weight.

Maybe that'd work well for all-you-can-eat places?

Sarebear said...

Then there's the movie Shallow Hal.

I still think the part where Anthony Robbins does his wierd thing to the guy is freaky, and I hope he actually doesn't do that to people!

'Twas an uncomfortable movie for me to watch.

Although I must say, last year when I was bored and so watched some of America's Got Talent, there was a trio of "fluffy" gals who'd sing, and often wear burlesque or short dresses, not always, and they were lauded by the judges for showing that people of every size can go after their dreams, can go up there in front of millions of people (or 2, depending on whether it's American Idol or America's Got Talent lol), and, even for showing off their bodies.

Now, normally I'd be like, ok, sex-objectification time of women, but in one way it was refreshing that they were seen that way, and the male British judge, who, we learned then, apparently PREFERS his women on the fluffy side, gave them a variety of compliments. Some of them were very flirty w/sexual overtones (not like, I want to do you right now, although at points he had a blush on his face that made me think that's what he was, ahem, "thinking"), in that way that men usually are with the beauty-queen looking types.

So while I don't want to promote women as JUST sex objects, it was nice to see that he admitted his preference on television (I could see him mull it over briefly, but he chose to, and yay for saying that big women ARE beautiful), that they were courageous enough to go out and try and do their act in front of so many, and they made it quite a way through (I thought they were better singers than the British male judge gave them credit for; definitely better than most of the other singers that got through then).

Urm, I guess I just kinda went up on a soap box, lol! Sorry!

Sarebear said...

er, not that I promote women as sex objects AT ALL. I kind of came across that I did in part or something, it just was worded wrong.

Gah. You can't hear me cause my foot is in my mouth, lol!

Assrot said...

How did you get a picture of me and when do I get my payment for you using it on your blog?

:-)

Joe

KC said...

Obese people can Loose weight but these idiots will always be A$$HOLES!

If they succeed in this in any state, I propose we make substitutions in the language, *i.e substitute the word obese for gay, and see how the sh*t flies then!

Anonymous said...

Sarebear

Simon Cowell may have stated his preference for larger women, but all I ever see in the UK press is pictures of him with skinny, model-type women.

The man is a huge hypocrite!

As for the bill, utterly preposterous. I wonder what's next...Illegal for bisexual men to attend Chippendales concerts, incase it pushes them over the edge?