A visiting New York University lecturer is in scalding water after tweeting several derogatory, fat-shaming statements. Dr. Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist from the University of New Mexico apparently thinks weight and academic success share a connection. His advice to doctoral psychology candidates is this:
According to Jezebel, Dr. Miller’s department page on the University of New Mexico’s website offers little into his thoughts on overweight Ph.D. students.
I am looking for bright, motivated, conscientious students with very strong GRE scores (above 700), a strong commitment to a research career in evolutionary psychology, good research experience, and solid academic training in psychology, biology, and/or anthropology. Interested students should contact me directly by email.
Save that email if you’re overweight because clearly a “strong commitment to a research career” and strong GRE scores are only applicable to thin students.
Dr. Miller was hit with Twitter backlash and immediately recanted his statement. He issued two tweets apologizing for his words, before subsequently disabling his account.
Laura Beck, a writer for Jezebel, was offended by Miller’s notion that people of size have no willpower.
I guess this explains why I only got my BFA at NYU. Maybe if I’d have the willpower to lose 50 pounds, they would’ve been cool with taking more of my money? But honestly, I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through my dissertation — my hands were always too busy shoveling food into my face holes* to pick up a pen.
I hope it goes without saying that body weight has no correlation to the greatness of one’s mind. If it did, we wouldn’t have Psycho, Matt Foley, or the last two contiguous states. I’d also hesitate to not call Oprah the smartest, savviest person alive. The cruelty and inaccuracy of statements like Millers can’t be emphasized enough, especially considering that many fat people read his tweet and it reinforced the societal message that our weight is our worth — not just physically, but mentally, as well.
I am also a woman of size, very confident in my graduate school grade point average and curriculum vitae. Here’s hoping I’m not rejected from my Ph.D. applications because I don’t meet the physical qualifications set forth by professors like Miller.