Monday, August 23, 2010

whatcha saying there?

This upsetting news story posits, as is often done recently, whether or not obesity in young children can be attributed to abusive parental behaviors. The actual hedline is "Is Childhood Obesity a Sign of Child Abuse?" But the title (in the HTML sense) of the webpage is "Obese Children: Are Their Parents Abusive?"

which has a much different ring or implication, and I wonder if ABC News even knows that they spoke a separate truth there. Or (to be a bit dramatic, but--must be said) if they realize how badly some parents treat their kids because they are fat. The page title tells you so very much about how people see the word "obese"--what they assume about those to whom the word is applicable and those who are responsible for them. Nobody would ever use an adjective in the "obese" spot associated in any way with a lack of choice ("Gay/Autistic/Short Children: Are Their Parents Abusive?") these days and not miss that second meaning--and then change it.

Addendum: I just noticed that the link to the article on Facebook (which was caught my eye in the first place) is yet another variation. It actually originally read: "Are Obese Children Abused Children?" Even more open-ended.


Really sad-mad story via Jezebel about a woman, Michelle Fonville, pictured, who was levied a $5 surcharge on a manicure/pedicure by a nail salon for being fat. You can chop up the story however you like, but by any dispassionate means of measure that's what it was about. The salon owner told the local news:
"...the surcharge was due to costly repairs of broken chairs by overweight customers. She said the chairs have a weight capacity of 200 pounds and cost $2,500 to fix. 'Do you think that’s fair when we take $24 [for manicure and pedicure] and we have to pay $2,500? Is that fair? No.'"
The kicker? Again, from the salon owner:
"I didn't want to argue with her about $5. I wanted to make her pleased with her service . . . I whispered...I said, 'I'm sorry, next time I cannot take you.'"
So, to sum up:
  • The salon owner knew the client's weight from looking at her, and in fact can gauge anyone's weight by sight.
  • Normal business wear-and-tear should be divvied up among clients whom we can be sure caused it, in the proportion they do (best way to be sure? to decide in your own head), which means people who land heavily on chairs or scrape them back across the floor will be asked a $.33 surcharge (for instance); chronic nail-biters or those with crusty heels, $1.22; toilet paper-wasters, $.25; noise-polluters $.75 for each cellphone call over 1 minute; people with unmanageable cuticles, $.44; etc.
  • Salon owner is happy to take fat people's money--has encouraged it--but can no longer put the health of her chairs as she sees it above the money she takes; however, will continue to invite people in for conflict and humiliation in a forward-thinking best practices business model.
  • The best way to please customers with your service is to tell them to never come back again.
  • People over 200 lbs. shouldn't expect nail care--not really.
Got it!

The place where I get my [finger]nails done occasionally has pedicure chairs that wouldn't fit half of my fat ass--so that takes care of this issue for me.

"I actually work it"

"What, do you mean do they think I'm going to be an animal in bed? I'm worse than an animal. I'm an extremist in bed . . . You can say I'm like an ugly fat woman, cos they're the ones they say really try. I'm like one of them, I make an effort. I'm not just a lay on your back, open your legs, look at the time. I actually work it."