Fat Rights: Dilemmas of Difference and Personhood by Anna Kirkland

By Anna Kirkland

Writer Interview at the Brian Lehrer ShowAmerica is a weight-obsessed country. during the last decade, there is been an explosion of shock within the U.S. approximately humans getting fatter. Plaintiffs are actually submitting proceedings arguing that discrimination opposed to fats humans can be unlawful. fats Rights asks the 1st provocative questions that have to be raised approximately including weight to lists of presently secure features like race, gender, and incapacity. Is physique fats a hallmark of a personality flaw or of incompetence at the task? Does it pose hazards or bills to employers they need to be allowed to sidestep? Or is it easily a stigmatized distinction that doesn't endure at the skill to accomplish such a lot jobs? may perhaps we think fatness as a part of place of work range? contemplating fats discrimination activates us to reconsider those simple questions that attorneys, judges, and usual voters ask earlier than a brand new trait starts off to appear appropriate for antidiscrimination coverage.Fat Rights attracts on little-known felony instances introduced through fats electorate in addition to major court cases over other kinds of physically distinction (such as transgenderism), asking why the limits of our antidiscrimination legislation leisure the place they do. Fatness, argues Kirkland, is either just like and provocatively diversified from different safe qualities, elevating long–standing dilemmas in antidiscrimination legislations into stark reduction. notwithstanding thoughts for protecting distinction might be scarce, Kirkland evaluates the to be had options and proposes new methods of navigating this new criminal question.Fat Rights enters the fray of the weight problems debate from a brand new point of view: our inherited civil rights culture. The scope is extensive, protecting even more than simply weight discrimination and drawing the reader into the bigger context of antidiscrimination protections and the way they are often justified for a brand new staff.

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Extra info for Fat Rights: Dilemmas of Difference and Personhood

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It can potentially find support in all of the strategies I listed previously or be rejected within any of them. Fatness is a liminal category in the law, and therefore it enjoys openness as an analytic category that more solidified categories like race and gender do not. As a feature of identity, it both shares in and departs from the usual features of a legally protected trait. Is being fat something that a person cannot help? Is it an immutable trait? Is being fat unhealthy and therefore something we should reduce in the population, like smoking?

35 Just as in Ms. McDermott’s dispute with Xerox, the solution was to focus upon the individual traits of the employee. The Court concluded that the fact that a gender-based generalization is true does not excuse its use against individual women who do not fit the generalization. Of course the city cannot know when any of its employees will die, so it simply cannot assume anything about any particular individual’s life span. ”36 Los Angeles had to quit funding its pension plan based on actuarial logics of personhood (though the Court did not make them offer the women a refund).

Manuel’s case exemplifies use of the first strategy I defined: arguing that group members can function just as well as anyone else and that their defining trait should be ignored. ” Could we say that in promoting this view of Ms. Manuel, we are promoting her inherent dignity as a human being? Wouldn’t talking about that be a strategy, too? A logic of personhood that rests on inherent dignity would also ban reasoning based on surface-level characteristics. This transcendental logic of personhood best fits with a quasi-religious concept of the person in which there is absolute equality, because, of course, this dignified core of personhood does not vary based on our outwardly appearing talents and traits.

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