It is now thirty years since the British television show Not the Nine O’Clock News spoofed the
whole idea of the “rights culture” by reducing it to the absurd – in a gloriously funny sketch that
would not be allowed on television these days.
After all, what could be more ridiculous than fat people
demanding “stout rights”?
However, as employers in Britain have learnt to their cost
since then, nothing is too ridiculous for our politicians and our bureaucrats.
So here is an advance warning: at some point over the next
decade or so, regulators with nothing better to do are going to take
campaigners against “fat-ism” seriously.
If that sounds impossible, well, so does the notion that
there should even be campaigners against “fat-ism” – but, honestly, there really are such
To be fair, scientific research confirms that some have a
far greater genetic predisposition to obesity than others, and for those
without that predisposition to lecture those with a different genetic
constitution is not an approach that will win many friends. (That, though, is
no excuse for requiring doctors to violate their duty to
give their patients medically appropriate advice, welcome or not.)
However, this blog is being written by someone with a
definite inclination to obesity, who can therefore state the truth without fear
of being accused of prejudice.
That truth is that, whatever your genetic predisposition, it
is physically impossible to put on weight unless you choose to eat more
calories than you burn off.
Anyone who wants to do that should have the right to do so –
that is their choice. However, they must admit that is their choice, and not
pretend that they had no choice.
More than that, they should accept responsibility for their
choice – and for the consequences.
Fairly or not, a potential employer – or, for an
entrepreneur, a potential customer – will view a fat person as less
self-disciplined, and more likely to be slow and lethargic. These are not
desirable traits in the business context.
They cannot be blamed if, all other things being equal, they
go with fitter alternatives.
Also, employers have a vested interested in, as well as a
natural preference for, having their organisations represented by good looking
...but then it is only a matter of time before we have campaigners