Discrimination So Good It Has to Be Mandated By Law

The state is the worst discriminator of them all. While there are a lot of horrible bigoted assholes in the world they lack one thing the state has: the power to force others to discriminate. I can choose not to associate with a single bigoted asshole but if I refuse to discriminate in the manner decreed by the state I can face fines and/or be locked in a cage for years. Politicians in Florida have introduced legislation that would mandate discrimination but that state certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on such shenanigans. The French Parliament has introduced legislation that would require modeling agencies to discriminate against women who are deemed too thin by the arbitrary definitions of the state:

The French Parliament is debating legislation that would effectively set minimum weights for women and girls to work as models, a step that supporters of the bill say is necessary to combat the persistence of anorexia.

If it becomes law — it is backed by President François Hollande’s Socialist government — modeling agencies and fashion houses that employ models whose body mass index measurements do not meet minimum standards would face criminal penalties.

There are two points about this legislation I want to bring up. First it defines a minimum weight utilizing a stupid method. Body mass index (BMI) is a statistical index that doesn’t take any unique characteristics of an individual into consideration. For example, one of my friends is a body builder. He is pretty much the peak of male fitness. According to his BMI, which is calculated using only a person’s mass and height, he’s overweight because muscle weighs more than fat and he has a lot of muscle.

Second it legally requires modeling agencies to discriminate against individuals potentially suffering body image issues. Anorexia as a symptom of having a severely negative body image. As far as I know no mental health professional recommends discrimination as an effective treatment for any mental disorder. In fact I’m fairly certain that’s the exact opposite of what a mental health professional would recommend. If this legislation was actually about fighting anorexia it would do something different such as require modeling agencies to have a mental health professional interview applicants and offer assistance to those who are suffering a mental disorder (I’m not saying that’s a good idea, just something that would actually demonstrate a desire to help people with anorexia).

Turning this around a bit imagine if the legislation mandated discriminating against people who are labeled overweight based on their BMI. Would you find it acceptable if, say, restaurants were prohibited from hiring people whose BMI listed them as overweight? No (if you answered yes then you’re an asshole). So it shouldn’t be considered acceptable just because somebody falls into another defined category on the BMI.

Stupid shit like this is the result of looking to the state to solve a problem. Instead of solving the problem you end up having a bunch of politicians, who generally lack any training in fields related to the problem, making arbitrary decisions based on their political ideologies. Since almost every politician’s political ideology is fascism it means you always get legislation that decrees people obey or face punishment.