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Mississippi Representative: Ban Food Sales to Fat People [Updated]

W.T. Mayhall Jr.
If you live in Mississippi, or even if you don't, here is the Representative's contact information. Please be courteous but firm when contacting the Representative. This is a civil rights issue that can not go unnoticed.

Likewise, if you have media contacts, we need to get a press release together for this.

This is pretty much unbelievable but is entirely true. Mississippi Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr. has proposed legislation that would ban restaurants and food establishments from selling food to fat people. Sandy at Junkfood Science reports:

[Rep. Mayhall] said that while, regrettably, he doesn’t believe his bill will pass, this is serious. He wrote it, he said, because of the “urgency of the obesity crisis and need for government action.” He hopes it will “call attention to the serious problem of obesity and what it is costing the Medicare system.”

Sandy also links to the bill and its sponsors. Discussion at BABble.

Mississippi folks: we need to mobilize.

ISAA has denounced the bill and is recommending that the public contact the Mississippi legislature. NAAFA has issued a press release.

Israeli Fatosphere Article: I'm Average! | Study: Wanting to Lose Weight Leads to Unhappiness

AnnieMcPhee's picture
AnnieMcPhee
January 31st, 2008 | Link | The only words I can think

The only words I can think of have four letters in them. This thing makes no SENSE is the problem. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. Not from a constitutional standpoint, not from the conception standpoint, not from a legal standpoint, a medical standpoint, or an enforcement standpoint. There is no standpoint from which this thing makes any sense at all.

It could never pass and be implemented. What's truly appalling is that it was ever conceived and ever written.

Which was their point all along.

Zero isn't a size, it's a warning sign. - Carson Kressley

evawhitley's picture
evawhitley
January 31st, 2008 | Link | So much for the conservative

So much for the conservative Republican ideal of keeping government out of your private life.

Seriously, Mississippi doesn't have more pressing needs? How about indoor plumbing for everyone? The 2000 Census says 16.2% of the state's residents make under $10,000 a year. The state poverty rate is around 20%. This moron thinks people are fat because they're eating in public and not because of poor access to health care, and poor nutrition? But that would take money. Far easier to pass a law.

Just out of curiosity: are we allowed to go to the salad bar in Mississippi?

paul February 1st, 2008 | Link | You don't win friends with salad

Just out of curiosity: are we allowed to go to the salad bar in Mississippi?

Only if there aren't any white foods, like potatoes.

Sarahbear February 1st, 2008 | Link | Or cottage cheese? I know a

Or cottage cheese? I know a lot of salad bars that have cottage cheese.

**************
"A diet counselor once told me that all overweight people are angry with their mothers and channel their frustrations into overeating. So I guess that means all thin people are happy, calm, and have resolved their Oedipal entanglements."

paul February 3rd, 2008 | Link | Side note

I've received a couple of complaints from Mississippi-based folks about the indoor plumbing comment, fyi. No need to perpetuate that stereotype in light of the millions of others this bill brings up. Thanks.

Meowzer January 31st, 2008 | Link | This is why I say the number

This is why I say the number one order of business of fat acceptance, before anything else, is to get FAT PEOPLE on board with us. If fat people as a group were actually on their/our own side, proposing a bill like this would be career suicide. He wouldn't even think about it, knowing that his next career, no more than 2 years down the road, would probably involve a mop and a bucket if he was lucky. But too many fat people are too easily convinced of the validity of their second-class personhood, let alone citizenry.

Ursula's picture
Ursula
January 31st, 2008 | Link | Holy hell - that is

Holy hell - that is unbelievable! I'm speechless!

And Meowzer you are 1,000% correct.

Dreama February 1st, 2008 | Link | This would bankrupt

This would bankrupt restaurants in Mississippi, a state where there is no room, given the aforementioned abysmal economic state, for more businesses going under because of ridiculous, heavy-handed legislation. The restaurant lobby, which is large and powerful (on the national level, there are organizations) won't stand for this. The gambling lobby would be all over this too, because it would impact restaurants at casinos on the Gulf Coast.

Given the utter failure education in Mississippi, (they consistently rank in the bottom 3 in terms of public school successes) it would be devastating to destroy that many low-skill jobs, as well. This would throw a lot of people, poor and poorly-educated people, who have been utterly failed by the state of Mississippi already, completely to the wolves.

So we have the unfortunate position of being politically in bed with restaurants and gambling. Whoohoo, vice central. I think we can afford that alliance in this case, because there are just too many things wrong with this idea. It should also align us politically with every social justice concern in the country, given the capacity this shortsighted, venomous concept has to wreck complete havoc on the lives of an already severely marginalized population.

BUT, as convinced, as Meowzer put it, as many fat people may be of their second-class status, of their personal moral failing, or of their need to conform to society at (not)large, when you think about what this would mean -- that you can't travel in or even through Mississippi when fat (think of the impact on interstate commerce with truckers, railroad and boat workers) you can't be a fat tourist in Mississippi, that you can't be a fat businessperson from elsewhere coming to deal with Mississippi companies, that fat people would be excluded from business meetings, from country clubs, from family celebrations, from church and civic group events, that in some places it would mean that fat people couldn't even buy "healthy" food from grocery stores because there are stores that have cafes or delis or coffee bars that have health department oversight like standalone restaurants -- I don't think even the most self-loathing fat person would take that sitting down. I don't think anybody who can think beyond the tip of their hate-filled nose would take all that sitting down.

GiniLiz February 1st, 2008 | Link | Dreama, While I agree that

Dreama,
While I agree that even the most self-loathing fat person wouldn't take that sitting down, I also think that extremely obvious hate legislation like this makes it easier to pass less extreme legislation. When next year folks propose some anti-fat school cafeteria legislation or something, the fat people and others in the state won't react strongly to it, because they will think to themselves "well this is far more reasonable than that crazy bill last year. This one makes sense and could work!" Providing an extreme example distracts people from the "milder" hatred. In fact, I'll bet that this bill will be rejected, and people will say "well good, now we can focus on smarter ways to eliminate obesity. Let's form a new task force to work on some passable legislation."

paul February 1st, 2008 | Link | Excellent point, GiniLiz.

Excellent point, GiniLiz. Not only does this piece of garbage legislation need to be batted down but so does any subsequent one.

Meowzer February 1st, 2008 | Link | You're so right, Dreama.

You're so right, Dreama. And believe me, I have no illusion that a bill like this would actually pass; even Rep. Mayhall knows it wouldn't. But the fact that it wasn't simply laughed out of committee means we still have way too much frigging work to do.

wallflower February 1st, 2008 | Link | I'm not going to make

I'm not going to make comparisons between racial discrimination and fat discrimination, I'm going to point out that this is de-facto racial discrimination. Several non-white ethnic groups have genetic tendencies towards more adipose tissue, higher BMIs, and the appearance of carrying more body fat. African Americans, some Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics are the major groups that generally run to large. African Americans are statistically taller than the average population, which even in non-fat individuals can give the appearance of carrying more adipose tissue. This is carte blanch permission for restaurants to racially discriminate based on subjective measures. Trust me, the whiter a restaurant wants it's particular clientele, the fatter the non-white clientele is going to look to them.

This arrogant pinhead might just as well lobby to bring back the "whites only" signs and have done with it. I'd love to hear what the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP has to say about this bill.

BabySeal February 1st, 2008 | Link | My God-dess. I probably

My God-dess. I probably should not be criticizing other countries when my own has so many wrong things going on and our own political class is a joke, but this man is seriously off his rocker. To my mind he should be removed from his office for spending thime on something so idiotic and thus betraying the trust of those who woted for him.
Also, although this will never pass, it is really, really scary.

AnnieMcPhee's picture
AnnieMcPhee
February 1st, 2008 | Link | GiniLiz, I'd say that's

GiniLiz, I'd say that's exactly what they're shooting for.

Meowzer - I still can't believe it got written, much less did not get laughed out of existence as soon as it was written. Of course it can't pass, but that doesn't mean it's not frightening that it exists. Or that, as Gini points out, it will spur on nothing but an onslaught of less-crazy-sounding legislation that people will now be more desensitized to.

Between that and reading an old blog post by Mememememe saying that not only should fat children be taken away from parents, but that authorities came "this close" to actually doing it, I just want to curl up with a couple giant steaks, a vat of etouffee, a giant carton of malted milk balls and a gun, then not let anyone near me. I'm not a binge eater but knowing that others are working tirelessly to prevent me from eating at all is scary enough to make me binge anyway.

Maybe I need a break.

Zero isn't a size, it's a warning sign. - Carson Kressley

richie79's picture
richie79
February 1st, 2008 | Link | So this would cover ALL food

So this would cover ALL food sales? Jeez Louise. Nothing like a bit of forced starvation to really remind those fatties of their place in society.

I remember that back in the autumn I posted about the UK Government's Foresight report, which suggested that the existing supermarket loyalty card schemes could be adapted to prevent those over a certain BMI buying 'unhealthy' foods. One newspaper columnist suggested that a cheaper way would be to fit width restrictors to the snack aisle.

But this is truly terrifying and clearly motivated by hatred.

Eva, I'm increasingly realising that anti-fat sentiment is the one thing which seems to unite the Left and Right. Conservatives seem to view 'obesity' as an issue of moral conformity; Progressives a social problem which justifies all manner of misguided 'help' and 'assistance', even to the point of infringing our civil rights 'for our own good'. If there were an election tomorrow I'd have no idea who to vote for; there seems to be a broad consensus between otherwise polarised political positions that the 'obesity crisis' is a major threat to society and one which can only be solved with ever-greater levels of coercion and intervention. i'm glad I'm not voting in the US, since with health being a major battleground all the candidates have made their positions on fat quite clear.

And Meowzer, once again I agree 150% with what you said; it's time to start dishing out the blue pills to those who've been 'blinded to the truth' by decades of misinformation and self-hate. If we could mobilise the political clout of fat people (after all, we are now supposedly in the majority) maybe a fat-friendly political party would clean up in an election held a few years from now. I won't be holding my breath though.

wriggle99 February 1st, 2008 | Link | Poor fatties?

Why is fatness in poor people always a sign of bad nutrition and lack of gym facilities?
Isn't that the same as saying, if you go to the gym and eat a balanced diet you must be slim.

Diets among the poor maybe lacking in some areas - who's aren't according to the pyramid and very few people seem to eat their 5 portions everyday. That's obviously not the whole story, there is more to being poor than just the food you do or don't eat, and seems to go against the assertion that fat is not intrinsically a sign of ill health.

Is there any evidence that the poor fat are any more or less likely to be unwell than the poor plump or slim? Why do the rules change because you are poor?

Dreama February 1st, 2008 | Link | Is there any evidence that

Is there any evidence that the poor fat are any more or less likely to be unwell than the poor plump or slim?

I don't think anyone has quantified this. But not only do we have to contemplate nutritional deficits and stress, we've got to recognize that under our very broken system, access to regular healthcare is considerably difficult for the poor, especially the rural poor. It's a very complex and difficult matter to puzzle out and our basic metrics of poor and not poor, fat and thin, well nourished and nutritionally disadvantaged, insured and uninsured are all involved.

BabySeal February 1st, 2008 | Link | "Is there any evidence that

"Is there any evidence that the poor fat are any more or less likely to be unwell than the poor plump or slim?"

My humble opinion (and it's no more than that, an opinion) is that it could be more likely to have nutritional deficiencies if you're poor, and nutritional deficiencies do not equal good health, imo.

wriggle99 February 1st, 2008 | Link | I suppose what I'm asking is

I suppose what I'm asking is why would nutritional deficiencies lead to fat, what is the theory behind that? If poor people are nutritionally deficient isn't that across the board of weights.

Poverty is also about stress, the survival kind not the, I've got to finish this report today kind. You are constantly fighting to keep your head above water, therefore possibly triggering that fight/ flght response. It may be different in the U.S. but it seems almost like it's the working poor and their children that are more likely to be fat or plump as opposed to the children, and their parents that hang about the streets at all hours, most of them are whippet thin.

BigLiberty's picture
BigLiberty
February 1st, 2008 | Link | My god, thank you for

My god, thank you for another link for my "Criminalizing Fat" page on my blog (the page of which is still not complete enough to be published, grr).

This is astounding. How can a government recognize that 95% - 98% of diets fail, yet in the same breath host a representative of the people who believes not selling food to "fatties" is going to solve the "obesity epidemic"?

The primary consequences - the forced starvation, i.e., physical abuse, of one group in society by the rest of society, are horrifying.

The secondary consequences - the scapegoatism inherent in legitimizing real physical abuse against one group, the effect it will have on children who are refused food because they're "fat" even though no growing human should be subject any kind of starvation, whatsoever, is also horrifying. Not to mention the whisper of eugenics hinted at by these kinds of statements --- naturally fat people won't want to have children that are fat, so that they don't get physically abused, and likely this sort of law would also legitimize the forced removal of fat children from their parents so they can be properly "trained" to be naturally skinny (i.e., placed in weight loss concentration camps until they're visually normal).

If anyone wants to march on this guy's office, I'm game. Let's get a group together. This is dangerous, dangerous stuff. This isn't just a joke... "Oh, what an idiot LOL" and so forth. There are many hateful individuals out there (just read the YouTube comments on the lovely Joy Nash's "Fat Rant" video for a quick primer) that see 'no use' for fat people, due to ignorance or evil disposition or whatever.

*************
Not only will I eat your baloney, I'll bust it, too.

paul February 1st, 2008 | Link | And

I mean this sincerely: I hope there are people within NAAFA and ISAA working on some sort of action and/or response to this. To me this is a total make-or-break moment.

And a wide-open invite to those organizations: put up a mini-site, a page, whatever with the pertinent information about this (what action steps you're taking) and it'll get top bidding here at BFB.

DeeLeigh's picture
DeeLeigh
February 1st, 2008 | Link | I guess Mississippi just

I guess Mississippi just missed the ole' segregation and wants to bring it back in a new (/old) form. Have you seen the three sponsors of the bill? They're all older white men, and all of them look like they're probably "overweight" or "obese" according to BMI (in other words, normal looking for their age - not skinny). Something tells me they'd still be eating at restaurants if the bill passed.

paul February 1st, 2008 | Link | Wouldn't it be interesting

Wouldn't it be interesting if there was some sort of "pass" that would let one with a high BMI eat at a restaurant if this bill made it? Like, ohidontknow, proof that someone was on a diet or had WLS? Separate the "good" fat folks from the "bad" ones.

BigLiberty's picture
BigLiberty
February 1st, 2008 | Link | I know it's been mentioned

I know it's been mentioned here that the restaurant industry wouldn't go for this (and I agree), but I wonder if it would make it more palatable to their lobbies if this sort of "pass" were included?

And someone mentioned on Rachel's blog, I think if this sort of this came into being they'd make you include your BMI on your driver's license. If you were on a diet or were going to have WLS, maybe you could get a 'sticker' to put on your license signifying your 'pass'. Shocked

iluvrobots's picture
iluvrobots
February 1st, 2008 | Link | DONE

Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr.,

I understand that you have proposed legislation that forbids restaurants and food establishments from serving food to anyone who is obese. I find this extremely disturbing and shocking. What you have proposed is discrimination and unacceptable. I am 5′9″ and 290 lbs and am considered “obese” according to our government’s BMI charts. This country’s idea of “overweight” or “obesity” is grossly inaccurate and not based on the person’s actual health or eating habits. Personally, I am not a binge eater and am happy, healthy and should be treated no differently than someone who weighs less than me or more than me! I am completely horrified at the thought of going to a restaurant and being weighed and told that I couldn’t eat there. Or maybe you think we should be labeled or carry cards to show our BMI? What you are proposing is no different than racial or religious discrimination. We should be coming together as a country to accept all different types and sizes of people and not imposing segregation. I urge you to reconsider proposing and supporting this House Bill. We are not the enemy and there should be no war on obesity. I am not a virus or epidemic and should NOT be quarantined. I deserve to treated fairly and with respect and dignity. I deserve to be treated like a person and have the right to go out and eat at a restaurant without judgement.

paul February 1st, 2008 | Link | MeFi

Unsurprisingly, the MetaFilter thread on this went to pot quickly. Diet talk in under 30 comments! "I did it, so can you!"

BigLiberty's picture
BigLiberty
February 2nd, 2008 | Link | Ugh, unsurprisingly to me,

Ugh, unsurprisingly to me, here is one of the earlier comments:

If they really want to cut down on obesity, they should...

send the portly kids to re-education camps.

And people think I'm extremist for suggesting the next step in this "war" of the Kool-Aid Drinkers against Everyone Else is to mandate kids of a certain BMI that go to public school go to weight-loss summer( cough concentration cough) camps.

Suggesting this bill may be ridiculous, but then sending kids to the weight-loss summer (cough concentration cough) camps will look mild in comparison.

***********

Not only will I eat your baloney, I'll bust it, too.

Sarahbear February 1st, 2008 | Link | Does anyone here on the blog

Does anyone here on the blog actually live in Mississippi? I know that it doesn't matter--that this is a national (even global) concern simply because of the example it is setting--but I was curious if anyone actually hails from this state. You can write the government of another state, can't you? Will they blow me off because I don't live there?
**************
"A diet counselor once told me that all overweight people are angry with their mothers and channel their frustrations into overeating. So I guess that means all thin people are happy, calm, and have resolved their Oedipal entanglements."

Sarahbear February 1st, 2008 | Link | I drafted this letter to the

I drafted this letter to the assclown that wrote the bill. I'd like some feedback on it before I send it to him.

"Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr.,

I am shocked and appalled by your proposition of House Bill 282. What this bill proposes is discriminatory as well as abusive, and is certainly a violation of personal privacy. This bill is nothing more than veiled prejudice. It is not designed to help anybody. Targeting the fat population of Mississippi for humiliation and for psychological and physical abuse is in no way helpful or motivational, and it certainly is not civil.

The proposition of Bill 282 is reminiscent of racial and religious segregation. What is next? Will you separate fat children into special weight management facilities veiled as schools in order to "promote their good health?" Will you promote the extraction of fat children from loving households because their parents saw to their nutritional needs and, as a result, the children got fat?

Obesity is not a disease and it does not need to be "cured." And it certainly does not need government intervention. Most often, when people reach or surpass the government standard of obesity as set by Body Mass Index, it is not a result of irresponsible lifestyle. Fat is a natural body component and the amount of fat on a person's body relies largely on genetics. Certain groups of Americans that hail from ethic backgrounds tend to naturally accumulate more fat than what is considered "appropriate" or "healthy" by BMI standards. Examples include African Americans, Hispanics, Polynesians, and others. Fat is not indicative of health. Cholesterol, glucose levels, blood pressure: these are indicative of health, and often times have nothing to do with fat percentage.

The bottom line is this: The government has no sovereign right over my body. My body is not government property. I and every fat person in this country deserve to be treated with all the respect and obliged all the rights afforded to thin people. And I will eat out in public whenever I damn well please."

**************
"A diet counselor once told me that all overweight people are angry with their mothers and channel their frustrations into overeating. So I guess that means all thin people are happy, calm, and have resolved their Oedipal entanglements."

JeanC's picture
JeanC
February 1st, 2008 | Link | "My body is not government

"My body is not government property"

OOOOOOOOO, may I steal this to quote on my blog, with proper attribution of course.

Sarahbear February 1st, 2008 | Link | Awesome! ************** "A

Awesome! Laughing out loud

**************
"A diet counselor once told me that all overweight people are angry with their mothers and channel their frustrations into overeating. So I guess that means all thin people are happy, calm, and have resolved their Oedipal entanglements."

JeanC's picture
JeanC
February 1st, 2008 | Link | Kewlness, Done!

Kewlness, Done! Smiling

MichMurphy February 1st, 2008 | Link | This makes me

This makes me extraordinarily sad.

richie79's picture
richie79
February 1st, 2008 | Link | "My body is not government

"My body is not government property"

And that is, or should be the crux of the argument. If only we could get it through their thick skulls. Maybe we need to scream it from the rooftops, put it in big neon letters just to make damn sure they get it, because the fact that something like this can even be dreamed up clearly demonstrates that they're not 'getting it' right now.

Whilst I don't know as much as I'd like about US law, I wouldn't be surprised for a minute if this bill is actually unconstitutional, for that very reason. I'd be very interested to hear what the Supreme Court thought of the idea.

BigLiberty's picture
BigLiberty
February 2nd, 2008 | Link | Unfortunately -- though I'm

Unfortunately -- though I'm not a Constitutional Law scholar by any means -- states can take control of your body and your health if they deem it in the interest of "public safety, healthy, or welfare."

There are many, many gross civil injustices that have used this loophole. If they can argue that your fatness harms the public in some way (hmm, like the argument that we fatties cost our 'government' trillions of dollars, for instance---oh, how they wish it were true!), then they can, using this loophole, totally take over our bodies in the name of "public welfare."

I think this is a power reserved solely for the states, however, though someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm a scientist, not a lawyer! LOL

This is why I'm so adamant that it is in the interest of fat people we NOT move to a universal healthcare system. Right now we can still argue that we're paying for our OWN healthcare, and everyone can f*ck off. But in a universal healthcare system, when everyone's taxes go up to pay for their plan, the non-fatties are going to be baying for our blood. Or, at the very least, our fat.

You see, it doesn't matter that it isn't true. It's sad but, it doesn't matter. Truth lags behind fear, and right now we're a long way away from getting the true Facts of Fat out there in the sphere of public knowledge.

pocomommy February 1st, 2008 | Link | My brain keeps screaming the

My brain keeps screaming the feminist slogan regarding reproductive rights: KEEP YOUR LAWS OFF MY BODY!

englishqueen01 February 1st, 2008 | Link | "Food establishments"

So this would cover ALL food sales?

I would believe the careful wording of the bill - "food establishments" - would include, eventually, grocery stores, carry-out restaurants and any other place that serves food. No doubt a BMI Identification Card would be required to go to the grocery store and before you were allowed to buy that pint of Ben & Jerry's.

"My body is not government property"

Yes, I find it highly ironic that the same people who freak out about abstinence only education and even the mere suggestion of abortion restrictions can use the "Keep your laws off my body" argument and then - by and large - are the same people who'd turn around and say "Ban junk food" and find this sort of legislation appealing. Whatever your positions on abstinence ed and abortion, you have to agree that the hypocrisy (and the discrimination against us) is both glaring and obvious.

BigLiberty's picture
BigLiberty
February 2nd, 2008 | Link | It's clear that Fat Hate

It's clear that Fat Hate stretches across popularly-defined ideological boundaries. Old, young, Republican, Democrat, American, non-American, white, black, brown, yellow, gay, straight, bi, woman, man --- we can all be fat.

This is an issue which strikes at the very core of the humanity of a large group of extremely diverse individuals.

And it is a way for all of us to come together, and show everyone else groups based on physical characteristics are arbitrary and harmful. I forget which blog it was, but a woman commentater mentioned she had missed being discriminated against for being black, and for being a woman, and believed she'd could live hate-free in this day and age. But now she's being discriminated against because she's fat.

We have to realize these are all the same issues, the same attempts to classify in order to control. I've read backlash from historically oppressed groups about mentioning 'fat hate' and 'racial hate' in the same breath, for instance. But it's all about ignorant classifications, in order to marginalize and, in the end, control.

The sooner we, as a society, start placing the emphasis on the diversity *within* an individual rather than without, and on individual minds, histories, and personalities rather than group minds, racial histories, and fat personalities, we could start to think about finally growing up as a species. Until then, it's just going to be another classification after they get tired of oppressing us (or we fight back).

Fat acceptance is much bigger than fat. No pun intended. Eye-wink

jportnick's picture
jportnick
February 1st, 2008 | Link | Letter just sent to Representative Mayhall

Dear Representative Mayhall:

The bill you have recently proposed which would prohibit restaurants from selling food to fat people is offensive, misguided, and certainly not in the best interest of the people of Mississippi or any other state. If you want to help people to be fitter, more healthy, and better nourished, introduce legislation which will help make fresh fruits and vegetables available to people even in the poorest of neighborhoods. Support programs which will assist young mothers in learning how to provide good nutrition for their children without either starving or overfeeding them. And you could help make outdoor exercise possible by sponsoring bills which will support the creation and maintenance of open air recreation areas which provide a safe and pleasant environment for people who wish to exercise outdoors. These are all ways to encourage people to take good care of themselves without either shaming them or depriving them of the nourishment they need to live.

Depriving people of food is not a solution. If fact, there is evidence to suggest people who are fat have, at some point in their lives or the lives of their ancestors, been deprived of fuel, so their bodies tend to store glycogen more efficiently than thinner bodies do. You might be surprised to find, should your legislation be passed, people becoming fatter as they are forced to go for longer periods without food.

Finally, you must consider that when you deprive fat people of food, you disproportionately are discriminating against the African American and Latino population of your state. Surely, sir, you understand that this is not a way to help people. It's a way to harm and punish people instead. Please reconsider your proposal, not just for the good of fat people, but for all the people of Mississippi.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Portnick
Personal Trainer
San Francisco, CA

BigLiberty's picture
BigLiberty
February 2nd, 2008 | Link | I've seen this on several

I've seen this on several blogs, but I think I should mention it now.

Though this bill is de facto racial discrimination based on the aforementioned reasons, I don't think we should try to appeal to racial discrimination in order to make our case seem more 'worthy.'

Fat hate, and fat discrimination is wrong. So, of course, is racial discrimination. But I get the distinct feeling many people feel like their arguments are made more legitimate because there are racial discrimination issues brought up by the bill. We have to realize that fat discrimination is, itself, worthy of backlash, worthy of the letters.

rebelle February 1st, 2008 | Link | Holy crap! So, are we

Holy crap! So, are we allowed to go to grocery stores? Does this unmitigated fuckstick think fat people don't NEED to eat, like, ever? That eating for fat people is like crack for an addict or booze for someone who's intoxicated? Uh, dude, they ain't the same thing! This man needs for someone to pick up Gary Taubes' book, which is quite hefty, and whack him upside the head with it. (GT is not, I think, completely fat-friendly, but he lays out an interesting theory as to why some people get fat-- and how much they eat has nothing to do with it).

This reminds me of something I caught on TV more than a decade ago. At the time, I was a serial dieter, and it still angered me, for reasons I couldn't put my finger on. We had this little blond college brat trying to make a name for herself by opining fat people should not be allowed to eat in restaurants because, see, smoking's not allowed in restaurants and both are unhealthy!

This triggered quite a response, including from supermodel Emme, who said it was "very hurtful."

But that wasn't it, really. The troubling part is this: Smoking is a BEHAVIOR. When you ban smokING, you are banning a behavior. Fat people are PEOPLE. When you ban them, you ban people. The law calls that discrimination.

This representative really needs taken to task, and in such a way that makes it very, very clear to those who would sympathize that he's WRONG about what causes fat in the first place and absolutely WRONG to try to address it like this, in any event.

Un-Frickin-Believable

BigLiberty's picture
BigLiberty
February 2nd, 2008 | Link | I don't think fattists

I don't think fattists really believe fat people eat for nourishment, too. They just see the fat cheeks, the non-slender necks, and the food moving into the mouth and most likely get so disgusted they're nauseous or even put off their own food.

Fattists see fat people in restaurants the same as non-smokers see smokers; the smell of the smoke is disgusting to those who don't smoke. To fattists, the sight of fat people eating is disgusting.

rebelle February 1st, 2008 | Link | Oh, and perhaps it is also

Oh, and perhaps it is also worth contacting the head of Mayhall's party and the speaker of the house for the Miss. Legislature, plus all of his Democratic colleagues (at least, I presume there are a few in Miss.) Can anyone find that information?

beakergirl February 1st, 2008 | Link | Holy cats, this is just so

Holy cats, this is just so wrong on so many levels.

1. If this were to pass, the state government would be telling business establishments that they could not sell a legal product to a segment of the population based on size. (I can see, for example, not selling booze to minors, but this is a totally different thing).

2. It's not like there isn't a whole mess of other problems - education, poverty, lingering racism, lack of job opportunity, illiteracy, substandard housing, etc., etc. Work on that stuff first.

3. Why should the taxpayers of the state take this kind of crap? Every person over 30 BMI should boycott their state taxes for a year. Hell, they can't throw 'em all in jail!

4. How the HELL are they going to pay for enforcement of this? Are they going to recruit a whole force of "restaurant cops" to keep the restaurants "pure" for the thin people? MS is one of the poorer states out there; I cannot imagine them being able to afford to enforce this. Or are they going to ask people to snitch on those "evil" restaurants who feed the large folks?

5. It is completely and totally impractical. What if you're driving through MS and your car breaks down? Do you have to go and apply at the City Hall for an "eating pass"? What about fat people who get put out of their houses for some reason (or are just having renovations done and can't use the kitchen) - do they have to fast until they can start using the "approved" foods again? What about emergencies? There is just so much in this plan that is so...I don't know, it's like cutting a person's arm off because they have ugly fingernails or something. It's draconian and it won't work and it will cause tremendous misery if it passes.

(If it were to pass, maybe everyone in "friendlier" states need to start a "refugee" program to help the people-of-size in Mississippi get the Hell out of there. That might be the best message to send: I don't like your politics so I won't pay taxes in your state or live there any more. Yeah, it's sad, people might have to leave their families behind or their long-term family homes....but cripes. If my state were doing that I'd feel unwelcome and I'd want to move away.)

This kind of thing makes me see red. It's just hatred, disguised in the icky cloak of "we know what's best for you" NO YOU DON'T. And I don't care if Rep. Mayall think fat people are icky-yucky and he shouldn't have to have his lovely public lunches (at taxpayer expense no doubt) ruined by having to look at a person-of-size. If he's so put off by the large, he could just stay home.

Sarahbear February 1st, 2008 | Link | They posted this on AOL

They posted this on AOL news, albeit a very small headline with nothing drawing attention to it, and I was glad to see that the majority of the 177 comments it had received, most were outraged or at least incredulous. There were a few commentors who agreed with the bill, and other commentors quickly took them to task. Maybe there's hope for the generous populous? Or at least AOL users. Which is saying something.

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"A diet counselor once told me that all overweight people are angry with their mothers and channel their frustrations into overeating. So I guess that means all thin people are happy, calm, and have resolved their Oedipal entanglements."

rachelr's picture
rachelr
February 2nd, 2008 | Link | This bill is outrageous and

This bill is outrageous and sensationalist and there's no chance in hell it will ever pass. So, I have to ask myself: Should we even give it publicity? Think about it... Why else would a right-wing nutso introduce a bill he doesn't expect to pass other than he wants people to get up in arms about it?

I wonder if we should treat this bill and this bigoted legislator the same way we treat the anti-gym guy who hires people to infiltrate fat acceptance blogs for viral publicity's sake. Maybe the fact that the media hasn't picked up on this story is a good thing, after all.

Sarahbear February 2nd, 2008 | Link | I see your point, Rachel.

I see your point, Rachel. But I think it's a little too late now to turn a blind eye, or the other (fat) cheek. On the one hand, I do see what you're saying, but on the other... how can we not react to this? I was telling my mother about it. (My mother is a very small, petite woman.) She didn't say anything unsupportive or call me silly for being so angry, but she just shook her head and said, "Where do you fin these things? And why?" The 'why' part was what surprised me. Why? I told her that if everybody sat back and just said, "I'll let someone else deal with it," or "I'll just ignore it and it will go away," nothing would ever change.

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"A diet counselor once told me that all overweight people are angry with their mothers and channel their frustrations into overeating. So I guess that means all thin people are happy, calm, and have resolved their Oedipal entanglements."

Meowzer February 3rd, 2008 | Link | The Anti-Gym guy isn't in a

The Anti-Gym guy isn't in a position to pass actual law. This guy is. And it's not just a publicity stunt, it's a trial balloon. I don't believe for a minute that he won't keep trying until he comes up with some kind of restriction of food sales to fat people that actually will pass. Restaurants might not go along with keeping us out entirely, but making us order off a special "diet menu"? Sure, they'll go for that. Would grocery stores agree to sell us only foods on the "approved" list? Sure, why not? After all, lots of fat people would LOVE to have their food choices taken away from them, since they're sure that all the "bad" stuff they eat is the only thing standing in between them and the Dream Of The Good Body. So fat people need to WAKE UP, not yawn and say, "Oh, this is just another nutjob, group ignore." For a media figure, sure. For a lawmaker, hells no, no, no. Those people are dangerous.

sevendayswonder February 1st, 2008 | Link | FYI

Just got an e-mail from ISAA officially denouncing it. Thought I'd let y'all know. Honestly, I don't know what that means other than I got an e-mail saying so. Hopefully the news will reach more people who will express their outrage at such an unconstitutional proposal.

vidyapriya February 2nd, 2008 | Link | It is completely and totally

It is completely and totally impractical. What if you're driving through MS and your car breaks down? Do you have to go and apply at the City Hall for an "eating pass"? What about fat people who get put out of their houses for some reason (or are just having renovations done and can't use the kitchen) - do they have to fast until they can start using the "approved" foods again? What about emergencies?

Yeah. Living with a crazy landlady in a house in which I'm not allowed to cook or eat, it's unimaginable -- I would literally die there. As one of those classic still-fat-even-while-barely-eating people, the ignorance behind this makes me especially angry.
Though I doubt he's very concerned about what Canadians think, I wrote an email to Mayhall anyways, on principle.

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