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:

Geoffrey MillerAccording 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.

Fat Shaming tweets 1

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.

  • Chacha1

    There are a lot of thin people who have the “willpower to stop eating carbs”, but they haven’t and may never get their Ph.D. So, yeah…

  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    Yet more evidence that education does not equate intelligence or possession of common sense.

  • Marisa

    No he didn’t hello what the hell carbs and people’s weight have to do with something like academia, which is hard to know no matter if your the size of Rick Ross or Heidi Klum. Those aiming for the highest levels of degrees can tell you its no joke, stressful and have broken the will of quite a few who couldn’t finish. My weight has gone up and down and I can attest somebody studying to get into law school that carbs and my size 14-16 ass aint have JACK SH*T to do with rather I could get multiple term papers and multiple exams done all at the same time.

    Ok and boy bye with that lame “These comments don’t reflect who I am as a person” apology, yes it does. Something about this twitter that is different from Myspace and Facebook in that they have comment limits. Which peoples brains seem to short circuit and the MUST TYPE every thought in their head, as if they don’t twitter will snatch it out of their minds. It seems too many people want to appear so edgy, and my comments are oh so clever, and then end up with egg on their face and backpeddling see. Pacers Roy Hibbert.

  • ImJustSaying

    “this does not reflect who I am”
    Of course it doesn’t, it just reflects who you were 5 HOURS AGO

    People like him truly think that all people of size (naturally curvy to obese) sit at home eating donuts all day. Maybe in all the stress of completing a PhD a student’s eating habits and weight management fall by the wayside. The fact that he says they won’t have the willpower for a dissertation completely ignores the fact that all the “fat” students he’s rejecting had the will power to finish undergrad, which isn’t a walk in the park by any means.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    i hope somebody has the willpower to kick his ass…

  • Me

    You are also a woman of size? I’m a woman of size too.

  • Mademoiselle

    Sounds like reverse psychology.

    Side note: Is “woman of size” an offshoot of “people of color”? I’m not a fan of POC, but for some reason WOS is really getting under my skin — the way large people keep trying to validate themselves by invalidating small people (i.e. “size nothing,” “skinny b’s,” “real women have curves,” etc).

  • http://evettedionne.com Evette Dionne


    Thanks for reading. I use the term woman of size to place humanity before descripter. I also say people of color and people with disabilities.. It is not a slight against smaller women. I am a size-positive activist.

    Again, thanks for reading.

  • Anthony

    Why bother, this dummy has just shown he doesn’t have the willpower to think before he types.

  • Lynne

    Again, like I said on an earlier thread, most people are far too stupid to know how to handle social media.

  • Eduardo

    As a Ph.D. candidate I lost some weight -especially the last two brutal years- and with a few exceptions we were on the thin side. Of course this is only anecdotal evidence but most of it can probably be explained by social provenance. There is a well-known correlation between social class and weight, especially among women. This means that it takes quite a bit more of willpower if the odds are stacked against you from the beginning: less access to healthy food, less means to buy machines or gym cards, less time to exercise, etc. It’s easy to observe that many thin women “wear” their weight just as another status symbol especially since being thin is no longer a sign of famine and poverty, but of a certain distinction (I’m being ethnocentric for the purpose of this article). Bourdieu already covered some of that -at least conceptually- but there’s some research on the subject along with the hand-wringing and speculation:





    I’ve been in both public and private schools, and one of the most brutal experiments that you can do is to attend a parent meeting at a public school and at an expensive private school. I can tell you that obese mothers at a private school stand out like a sore thumb. In any case, there’s no excuse for his comments because there’s more to excessive weight than just “willpower”. Aside from the social causes, there are people who were simply born with hormonal problems that weren’t caused by their eating habits.

  • Anthony

    The great irony of this jackasses statements were that they showed a lack of willpower and judgment that socially is far worse than eating too many Twinkies or French Fries. He may have seriously hurt any chance of ever having a career in academic administration some day by not thinking two seconds before posting.

    His lack of judgment does indeed reflect who he is.

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    I too hate that we have to denigrate one group to uplift another!

  • rosa martinez

    Proof that “intelligent” doesn’t mean smart!! Intelligent, but stupid.

  • Pingback: The rise of the evolutionary psychology douchebag | feimineach.com

  • glitter

    These are the kind of stories that upset me. I can deal with the CEO of Abercrombie not wanting fatties in his store. It’s fashion. My life doesn’t revolve around a T-shirt. However, when I see people making the assumptions that the obese are bad or stupid because they’re fat really hurts. Again, I’m glad this guy was honest, at least students know what’s on his mind and can avoid him. Think of all the other professor at that school with the same frame of mind, turning away students because they’re fat. Oh yes people, if you thought grade school was tough, trying being fat in College and the workforce, especially in a place where there are white people. Also, get ready for it. Fat is the new thing to hate. We can’t be prejudice towards gays, people of color, those with cognitive or physical disabilities, so what is left? Fat people.

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