Apparently being extremely fat may now qualify you as disabled. This notion arose after a series of recent events surrounding Karsten Kaltoft. Kaltoft, a Danish child-minder, was fired from his job on a local city council. He’s arguing that his immense size was part of the reason that he was let go, and he thinks that this represents some type of unfair discrimination.
He believes that because his extreme obesity prevented him from efficiently performing his work duties, he qualifies as disabled. And following this logic, it was illegal to fire him, because a European Union law exists that prevents employers from discriminating against employees based on any disabilities that they may have.
Following up on his claims, the Court of Justice of the European Union was asked to make a ruling on the matter.
But Niilo Jaaskinen, the advocate general, did conclude that extreme obesity, classified as having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 40, could be considered a disability:
“If obesity has reached such a degree that it plainly hinders participation in professional life, then this can be a disability,” Jaaskinen said.
While no official ruling has been made, the EU effectively just told employers they have to give special treatment to their fat employees, the same they would go to someone with autism, cancer, dementia, or blindness. If this seems wrong or backwards to you, that’s because it is. But rather than getting into fat shaming and going on a health rant, I’m going to break down the two larger issues that I think are at stake–two trends of modern society that are promoting weakness and depression.
1. Not taking responsibility
Aside from the rare case of severe metabolic illnesses, people get fat because they eat too much food. They consume far more energy than their body needs, and they start to pack on the pounds.
Unless someone force feeds you through a tube, you’re the only one to blame. And now you want special treatment because you ate yourself so fat that you can’t move around the office without tripping on the printer cable? How about focusing on eating less and exercising a little bit so you can enjoy life and live longer?
But no, people flee from taking responsibility like it’s a tsunami coming to destroy their home. Whether it’s being fat, being late, making a mistake, or just being an asshole people tend to do everything they can to make sure someone else takes the fall. People are so insecure that the thought of stepping up and admitting that they’ve done something negative scares the shit out of them. They’d rather point the finger, pass the blame, and hide.
2. Lacking self discipline
Taking the blame for eating all of the McDonald’s you ate to get you to 300 pounds is one thing. Having the self discipline to eat less, now or in the first place, is a different story, but still one that’s demonstrative of our lazy, pleasure seeking society as a whole.
Yes, Ben & Jerry’s is fucking delicious. And yes, it feels good to wank one out to some big titty pornstar. And yes, taking a nap sounds better than banging out a few hours of hard work. And yes, smoking a joint and hitting the sack is easier than heading out and approaching cute girls.
BUT WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT FOR YOUR GROWTH AND WELL-BEING?
The answer to all of these questions is so obvious you’d have to be seriously disabled to miss the point. Doing what you know you should do, or abstaining from doing what you know you shouldn’t do usually isn’t the easy or most appealing option. But it is the option that, when chosen consistently, will lead you to greatness.
So yes, it’s stupid that the EU Court may rule that being severely obese is a disability that grants you immunity it the workplace, but it’s even more frightening that a governing body is encouraging the backwards ideals of not taking responsibility and not possessing an ounce of self discipline.
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