Size-Inclusivity: Mount Holyoke Lists “Fatphobic” Microaggressions

downloadWe have previously discussed the growing list of microaggressive language deemed inappropriate at colleges and universities. From a free speech perspective, the concern is that this category of prescribed language is often ill-defined and subjective, including seating decisions or eye-contact. Mount Holyoke College’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion just added new terms to this list with a guide on social media listing “fatphobic language” that will now be deemed microaggressive. The terms include such phrases as “I’m so bad for eating this” or “you have such a pretty face.”

Saying that “I’m so bad for eating this” is, according to Mount Holyoke, “incredibly triggering, but it also feeds into a harmful narrative created by diet culture that teaches ‘good’ foods versus ‘bad’ foods.”

The office acknowledged that the guide was originally posted on the Instagram account The Power of Plus, which, according to the account’s description, is “a size-inclusive digital community proving that fashion is for every body…”

The diversity office asked students to take “time to reflect on these everyday comments/phrases that are microaggressions.”

I have no objection to the office seeking to share the views of others on how certain phrases are received. I have dropped certain terms or phrases even though I did not see why a term or phrase is insulting. It was enough that others find certain language to be insulting and I do not want to make them feel uncomfortable. For example, I would not use some of the phrases identified because they could be taken the wrong way.

Thus, there is a clearly positive element of a school like Mount Holyoke posting such information to share a perspective that some of us may not have.  The free speech concern is how such microaggressive terms can be used to curtail or punish speech, including supporting complaints for formal investigations.  Many people likely disagree with the position of the office on these terms.  How does the listing then play out when a complaint is filed? Disciplinary actions often seem based on how language is received rather than intended. Schools need to be clear as to whether microaggressive language can be the basis for bias complaints and actions.

The Student Handbook warns‘[h]ostile or hateful speech or other discriminatory behavior may be considered a bias incident, but under certain conditions may also be a hate crime.”

The Handbook warns of possible discipline without clearly defining what speech is hostile or biased:

“A bias incident at Mount Holyoke is an act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation that occurs on the Mount Holyoke College campus that is directed at a member or group of the Mount Holyoke community because of that individual’s or group’s actual or perceived age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity/presentation, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, social class, veteran status, or any combination of these or related factors. In a bias incident the perpetrator may be known or unknown. (adapted from Cornell University)

Note that there are broader categories utilized here than what appears in the College’s Statement of Nondiscrimination. The Statement of Nondiscrimination only focuses on categories that are protected by law, while the College’s bias incident definition covers categories that are not covered by law, but that are covered under College policies.”

Since the school identifies these terms as microaggressions, does that satisfy as terms deemed hostile or hateful” or harassing or intimidating? Free speech requires bright lines to avoid the chilling effect of uncertain standards.  Yet, the Student Handbook seems to studiously avoid clarity on the standard or definition for actionable terms.

81 thoughts on “Size-Inclusivity: Mount Holyoke Lists “Fatphobic” Microaggressions”

  1. Were Mount Holyoke a co-educational institution, the dictats of the foolish college administrators (guided by the latest fads of the woke Left) would no doubt require that male students date one overweight female student for each one they sought out who was not overweight. This of course ignores reality, to wit: the fact that most young men (and, for that matter, men of all ages) are not attracted to college girls and women who are, to be polite, zaftig, Rubenesque, full-figured (all euphemisms for the other F-word [fat]).
    This is nothing new, of course. Today’s Leftist naïfs insist upon all manner of things that are factually absurd. Some examples:
    (a) they entertain the delusional notion that a woman with a vagina and without a penis who insists sadly that she is a man is, in fact, a man.
    (b) they entertain the equally delusional notion that a man with a penis but not a vagina who insists he is a woman is, in fact, a woman.
    (c) they insist, despite thousands of years of evidence to the contrary, that abolishing prisons to punish felons will not cause a spike in crime.
    (d) they claim that wearing a mask while jogging out of doors is a medical necessity while having unprotected sex with someone met through a “hook-up” site (such as Ashley Madison) is responsible behavior.
    I could go on, but you get the point. I hope.

    1. The best morning I ever had was having breakfast in the dining hall at Mt Holyoke and realizing I was one of three men in the room. The night before was even better.

      Oh, to be young again!

  2. I am a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, though I do my best not to let anyone know. I am embarrassed by the idiocy that led the college to form a dept of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and develop speech codes. This is horse shit which I am allowed to say because I won several farms. At Mount Holyoke I lived with women and men of all colors, creeds, ethnic backgrounds. We were all different and there were no sensitivities about the differences. Speech was free and no one needed a “safe space” in which to cry about what another student said. We need to fight against these progressive idiots who seek to divide us and prevent the open, honest debate of ideas. I do my part by NEVER donating any of my million$ to Mount Holyoke College.

    1. Charlotte – did you win farms or do you own several farms. And I am so sorry that you have Mount Holyoke as your alma mater. I stopped donating to mine a couple a years ago, although I still get the alumni news.

  3. Forced diversity training, white fragility training, or other “woke” mandatory training is institutionalized bigotry.

  4. Microaggressions? Do you mean when ultra sensitive Liberals jump all over you every time you open your mouth like an abusive person in a toxic relationship?

    Good: Not expecting women to look heroin chic or 20 years old forever.
    Bad: Claiming that obesity is just as healthy as being athletic.

    I am all for not shaming anyone for their personal choices. Lots of people struggle with medication side effects, hormonal slowdowns, depression, and other reasons to struggle with their weight. Showing compassion, plain good manners, and friendship are part of functioning in civilized society.

    Attacking people for every syllable they utter, attributing vicious motives for innocent terms, and policing speech is not compassionate, good manners, or friendly. It’s toxic and abusive. We can still fight the obesity epidemic while not using “micro aggressions” as a shield to normalize bullying behavior.

  5. “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” I miss the old days and my old mother who drilled this wisdom into me.

  6. Isn’t not being fat also a microaggression? I mean by not being fat, isn’t the thin person implying there is something wrong with being morbidly obese? Where does this end? Sad to watch my beautiful country slowly commit suicide by stupidity. Stupidicide.

    1. Nahhhhhhhh

      we are armed to the teeth! AK-47, AR-15, pistols, ammo….lots and lots of ammo….. we are not going anywhere.
      Michelle Obama? not so much.

      From what we saw of Michelle’s face, it looks like Barack has not taken her out for her evening walks to run up a few trees and do what monkeys do best

      1. Paul B’gala, fake name but proud to be a blatant racist. Way too go, setting the tone.

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