Photo Credit: Vladimir Khmelnytskyi/flickr/getty images
To borrow a phrase -- better to be thought a fool than to type a comment and remove all doubt!
1) An obesity researcher admits there are lots of myths and unproven “truths” in his field and vows to test the common knowledge “factoids” we all love to throw around when it comes to talking about diets and weight loss.
Some myths he wants to disprove:
- Small things make a big difference. Walking a mile a day can lead to a loss of more than 50 pounds in five years.
- People who are too ambitious will get frustrated and give up.
- Slow and steady is the way to lose. If you lose weight too fast you will lose less in the long run.
Some unproven ideas he wants to get to the bottom of:
- People who snack gain weight and get fat.
- If you add bike paths, jogging trails, sidewalks and parks, people will not be as fat.
- Add lots of fruits and vegetables to your diet to lose weight or not gain as much.
This is great news -- important news. This guy is really trying to solve the problem of obesity – with truth! But the commenting turned nasty. How did a discussion about obesity turn into this: “I am not insulting the women, but I do not like hearing the excuse that "I had kids and that's why I'm fat" ... or that it's normal to be that heavy during/after pregnancy.”? Out of curiosity -- what would he have said if he was insulting women? And how over-exaggerated must his sense of self-importance be to make the comment in the first place -- if he doesn’t like to hear it he is welcome to stick his fingers in his ears and say “la la la la” until it’s over.
2) Then there’s the case of the American University Phi Sigma Kappa brothers who thought it would be a genius idea to print shirts that said "Please don't feed the sorority girls" on the front and "Campus Beautification" on the back. These charming gents were told by the college to destroy the t-shirts but recently a student recovering from anorexia saw one of the boys wearing the shirt at the gym and wrote about why it was offensive. Cue unbelievably inappropriate comments: “Why women are at such a higher probability for anorexia? Because they are dumb and dont [sic] want to take the time to learn how to correctly diet so they just stop eating and think that will work.” Thanks for sharing, dude. “[The t-shirt] is a reference to sorority girls who crash fraternity parties to get free junk food and fatten up on it. It's not an attack on women in general who buy their own food and exercise.” Oh, well that’s fine then. Wait…no, it’s absolutely not.
3) Finally, we have the hoopla created when the show Girls ran a plot line that involved Lena Dunham having a fling with a man who is both gorgeous and a doctor. Apparently this is just too much to comprehend. How can a girl like that get a guy like this? Am I small-minded if I'm stuck on how this fantasy is too much of a fantasy? Yes. Yes you are.
I don’t know who these guys are, or why they have so much free time to pounce on every opportunity to oppress women with hateful comments on the internet. But I imagine that if you were benefitting from a world where women judge their value based on whether or not men find them attractive, you’d be willing to dedicate some serious time to making sure that those women don’t challenge the status quo too. For me, every time I see these comments I become more determined to do just that.