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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Barber: Criticize Trump Without Fat-shaming


I am doing something I never thought, in a million years, I would: I am defending Donald Trump.

Trump recently underwent a medical exam assessing both his physical and mental state. While he was declared cognitively sound, the White House doctor said he has a body mass index (BMI) of 29.9 which puts him right on the verge of obesity. The doctor has recommended an improved diet with fewer carbohydrates and fats and an increased exercise regime.

In the wake of the exam, I find a disturbing trend: critics of Trump have taken to fat-shaming. As soon as news of Trump’s weight broke, the internet immediately began to jest about it. Comedians such as Stephen Colbert took the bait, as he joked that Trump bribed the doctor to say he was not obese. A Twitter trend called “the Girther Movement” has launched verbal attacks on Trump’s body weight, questioning whether his weight is really 239 pounds and laughing at his body appearance. Girthers are demanding that he weighs himself on television as proof, as well as making fat-shaming comments.

I despise Trump as much as any leftist, but I have some very real concerns about how these so-called Girthers are choosing to deal with the issue of Trump’s weight. Folks, we have a lot of material to draw on without bringing up weight. I can give you a list of other places to start:

Trump is discriminatory against immigrants coming to our country. He has been accused multiple times of sexual assault. He has made inflammatory comments about foreign leaders. He actively attacks any media outlet which portrays him in a less than favorable light. He is hot-headed. He aggravates countries like North Korea, drawing very real danger to the people of the United States.

He himself has made fat-shaming comments, such as implying that Kim Jong Un is “short and fat” and calling former Miss Universe Alicia Machado “Miss Piggy.” In fact, Trump’s focus on women’s appearances and weight have been a huge point of criticism. Many beauty standards are ridiculous and unattainable. The average person in the US is overweight and there’s nothing about being overweight that makes someone any less valuable. We are supposed to be fighting against this kind of bigotry, not returning it in kind. By imitating his ways and mirroring the disdain he expresses for people who are overweight we are hypocritically contributing to the same cruelty we claimed to be against. This kind of talk works not against Trump, but against the improvements to society for which we are striving. 

I guarantee that everyone knows someone who is overweight. Your family members, friends, loved ones, people you sit next to in class, neighbors and more are hearing who you really are when you choose to fat-shame. A person’s value isn’t determined by a number on a scale, it’s determined by their character.

Trump isn’t a bad president because he’s overweight. He’s a bad president because he is racist, sexist, transphobic, Islamaphobic, homophobic, classist, egotistical, inexperienced, boastful, etc. which have nothing to do with his physical appearance. Be critical of him, but be critical of the things that really matter.

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    Gerry LeonardJan 25, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    You are spot on with this Shea.