Monday, 18 June 2012

They tricked me into judging

This "article" from the "news"paper was so bad that I forgot to include it with the worst articles of the week.  It still makes me shudder.

There I was, minding my own business, when I suddenly got slapped in the face with:

The question appeared beneath a photo of an actual human being.

I was being asked to contemplate whether or not I thought a stranger, a woman I knew nothing about, might, in my opinion, be fat.  How is that any of my business?  What right do I have to go around deciding such things?  Do people really do that?  What would it matter if I thought she was fat?  What would it matter if anyone thought she was fat?  Is it bad to be fat?  How much body fat makes a body "fat"?  Do I think she's fat?  Oh no, I just asked myself if she's fat.  They got to me with their shock tactics.  I really don't feel qualified to judge her fatness or lack thereof.

No, wait, they weren't directly asking readers for their opinion.  It was just a headline, like 'Do bears like honey?' then you turn to the page about bears and there's a story about how they do or don't like honey.  I feel so much better about the world.  It's just them imposing their views about the poor woman's body, they're not actually imploring people to evaluate and judge her.

Fair enough, I'll see what they have to say when I get to the Body and Soul liftout.

Really?!  The cover of the Body and Soul liftout was this question next to a photo of the woman.  They really are asking me if I think the woman in the photo is fat.  Are they allowed to do that?  Surely not.  Am I supposed to be classifying people this way?

The article included another full page photo of the woman, whose name is Melanie, which is good to know after you've just evaluated the size of her body.  The article basically said that some expert labels Melanie as slightly overweight.  There was even a section on the dangers of being overweight and what you should do if you thought you were overweight as if having a Body Mass Index of a certain number means you should whip yourself into (a smaller) shape, you big fatty, even if you're still perfectly fit and healthy.

As if that wasn't enough, they had to go and ask people "Do you think this woman is fat?"  Surely that's not allowed.  Surely there are rules against that.  People actually responded.  They responded as if they had a right to respond.

They were shown a photo of Melanie and told that her body represents the body of the average Australian woman.  I can only assume they didn't see Melanie in real life because at least one of them would have had at least one black eye from Melanie punching her after hearing the appalling comment she made.  I can only comfort myself in thinking that Gemma, 19, was being sarcastic.  If she was for real, I...I...I just don't know.

So, Gemma, do you think this woman is fat?

Does she mean South Australia: The Festival State?  Well, being in the same state as Melanie, I have just enjoyed some shows at the Cabaret Festival.  I felt quite comfortable in the audience, I was very much at ease laughing and applauding...oh, wait, she doesn't mean SA.  What state is she on about?

How disgustingly, horribly, morbidly gigantic is the woman she was referring to?

She must have really let herself go.

Does she even fit on one page of the newspaper?

Maybe Gemma was trolling.  Please don't be serious.  Meanwhile, now I've gone and judged Melanie's body as not fat.  I didn't want to judge.  It was a trap.  They made me judge.  This is one of the reasons I don't read the newspaper.

UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot about this bit...

YAY!  Let's all judge her body together!!!


  1. I love that you make critical thinking so accessible and readable!

  2. I'm going to take that as a huge compliment because when I was in first year uni they offered a critical thinking subject and I didn't even understand what it was, let alone think it was something I was capable of doing.