the Fantasy of Being Thin is not just about becoming small enough to be perceived as more acceptable. It is about becoming an entirely different person ; one with far more courage, confidence, and luck than the fat you has.

30 November 2007

I am totally fed up with a lot of the comments about Mary Harney. I realise that as a politician she is fair game. And as a politician who is in charge of the Health Service at a time when it is scandal after scandal after horrendous error she deserves a hell of a lot of criticism.

But I’m fed up about the cheap shots about her appearance and her weight.[1]

What fucking difference does that make to anything?

To be honest I’ve no clue as to what is going on in the Health service, other than to know it is fucked up, but I do think that Harney should resign. She is the Minister for Health. She is ultimately responsible.

Course the same could be said of Bertie and his shenanigans. It just isn’t something that Irish politicians seem to do, is it? Shower of tossers.

Nevertheless cheap jibes about her physical appearance are just crap and annoying and pointless. What possible difference does it make to how she does her job? If she were stick-thin and anorexic would that make her handling of it any better?

Is it a form of sexism, cause you don’t really see the same amount of jokes being made about overweight male politicians?

Title from this excellent post


  1. Okay, that link is a bit unfair, cause Twenty Major insults everyone, so THAT was a cheap shot on my part

You may also like...

8 Responses

  1. James says:

    Fair point, but I dunno about the sexism. Brian Cowen takes a fair bit of flak over his appearance. Mary Harney is getting it mainly because she is minister for health. If she were minister for education, then I would back your point 100% – but there is an irony here that we also saw when Jim McDaid, minister for transport, was caught drunk driving down the wrong side of the Naas dual carriageway, or when Mr. Ahern, our minister for finance, didn't even have a bank account. I still agree with you, but I don't take offense over the jibes about Harney's weight because at least the argument has some reason behind it.

  2. jean pierre says:

    i think there may be some sexism in that.

    in that woman certainly do get a lot more flack for being unattractive or over weight.

    sometimes, of course, people just use whatever they can – be it the person's race, gender, appearance, whatever – just as fodder. but i think the fact that people can so easily and unselfconsciously refer to appearance when it comes to women says something in itself. i think it implies a deep-seated kind of sexism, perhaps. or something. you know? otherwise that kind of fodder wouldn't be so quick at the ready.

  3. Fence says:

    I don't know James. I don't get the whole argument that because she is overweight she is a bad example or something.

    Especially considering the fact that you can look hugely overweight and yet still be quite healthy.

    Do you think that if she were overly skinny she'd get the abuse? I don't think so.

    As for the whole sexism? I'm not sure, because others do take flak, as you say, but it is something that comes up a lot more in conversations about female politicians.

  4. Fence says:

    @ JP "deep-seated kind of sexism"

    I think that is it. It is almost an accepted part of society, so we don't really see it.

  5. James says:

    True in general, and overall I'm sure there is sexism behind many of the widespread jibes from the public – I'm not denying the fact that an overweight woman will get more personal attacks focused on physical appearence than an overweight man in a similar position. I'm just saying that many of the individual jibes from bloggers and others are motivated by the "obese minister for health" irony moreso than some kind of "who does this fat woman think she is?" mentality.

  6. Fence says:

    @ James: I'm sure that is part of it, but I don't remember half as many comments about Brian Cowen. Course maybe it is just that there are more bloggers about now.

  7. red says:

    I'm really tired of the slagging she's getting too. That said I am abroad and don't follow what she's been up to so I'm not up to speed on how much of a mess the health service is. At the same time like you I don't see why comments on her weight and appearance have to come into the argument.

  8. Fence says:

    Red, you're lucky to be avoiding it all. The Health Service is basically fucked up. So I think that Harney deserves a lot of grief, I just object to it being about her weight.