But She’s FAT. (Or: It Doesn’t Matter and Her Weight’s None of Your Business.)

Via Left in Alabama, ABC News wants you to know what the big To Do is going to be about Alabama’s Dr. Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General nominee: she’s fat.

Well, they haven’t actually been able to get any comment from her office, but Salon and a number of other people have been checking out some photos of Dr. Benjamin on the internet, and she totally looks like she needs to lose a few pounds.

I had kind of had it up to here – here, wherever the top of your head is, but I’m 5’5″ for reference – with the initial pouting about Sotomayor’s diabetes or her appearance, and the woman’s going to be a Supreme Court Justice. I mean beyond the fact that she has Type I diabetes (which doesn’t actually correlate with weight) and obviously understands how she has to take care of herself, it isn’t as if being a Supreme Court Justice requires you to have any great bounty of medical knowledge at your fingertips. Take a look at some of the other charming fellows sitting on the bench. If you’re gunning for looks over qualifications, you might as well throw them all out and drag in the cast of Ally McBeal.

But Dr. Regina Benjamin is a doctor, and a damn awesome doctor at that. If anyone knows how to take care of themselves, it’s probably Dr. Regina Benjamin. Maybe she just understands the overwhelming failure rate of diets. Maybe she just understands that eating habits and physical activity are oftentimes not related to weight – come on, don’t pretend you don’t know at least handful of rail thin friends who can eat what they want and never gain a pound no matter how much they exercise. Or maybe the President picked her because she understands how hard it can be to have access to quality medical care in lower-income, rural areas. Maybe it’s just the oysters and the shrimp she’s paid in when her patients can’t afford anything else. Maybe it’s just nobody’s damn business how much she weighs as long as she’s in good health and capable of doing the stellar job President Obama picked her to do.

The sexism and flat-out fat hatred that requires someone to bemoan the weight of a health care professional they’ve never seen in person and know absolutely nothing about is something that goes on pretty much every day, from Judge Sotomayor to a fat, female-bodied kid like me. What would you rather have in the Surgeon General spot? A good-looking television guy who doesn’t have any problem shaming you about your body, or a more than qualified health care professional who may just understands every body is unique?

To close, I’ll recommend this amazing post from Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose, which is one of many fantastic sites about the fat-positivity/size-positive movement. Just something to keep in mind as people try to ramp up the fatty-hate without even having any idea what the woman’s life is like.

7. Human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Fat people are human beings.

8. Even fat people who are unhealthy still deserve dignity and respect. Still human beings. See how that works?

9. In any case, shaming teh fatties for being “unhealthy” doesn’t fucking help. If shame made people thin, there wouldn’t be a fat person in this country, trust me. I wish I could remember who said this, ’cause it’s one of my favorite quotes of all time: “You cannot hate people for their own good.”

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Filed under bizarro world, healthcare

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