Friday, 17 February 2012

Shocked headline as fat disabled woman has fun

Obese woman demanding 50 hours care a week 'went to pop concert', screams the Telegraph. Obese? Disabled? Had a night out? This is surely an outrage to all common decency! Nobody who is fat should have fun, especially not if they are mentally ill and fat. Never mind that a good night out could have made this woman feel a bit better. Never mind that it might have been her first night out in years. Her weight and her mental illness make it an indisputably horrifying thing to have done, according to the paper.

When the paper reports that she is 'demanding 50 hours a week care', what it means is that she previously received care through Direct Payments, which has now been withdrawn and she is appealing for it to be reinstated.

Reading the article, despite the numerous mentions of her 'morbid obesity', none of her reported care needs relate to her weight at all. All of these references serve simply to stir up prejudiced feelings about this woman, to build up the readers' outrage.

The paper reports that she has been diagnosed with a personality disorder, following traumas and bereavements, and her psychiatrist has decided that she should 'break her reliance on the support of others'. This happens to a lot of people with personality disorders, in particular female survivors diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Mental health services commonly do not like treating people diagnosed with BPD, or services diagnose people with BPD when they do not like them - either or both are commonly true. It is not known as the 'wastebucket diagnosis' for nothing.

This does not mean that people with personality disorders do not require support. The council, in court, argued that because she can play computer games, buy cigarettes and go to a pop concert, she should have all her care withdrawn, despite evidence that in the past she went for months on end without washing, due to a massive fear about bathing without somebody there.

The Telegraph then offers a poll. A poll! So that readers can vote on whether they think this woman's care needs should be provided for.

As if constant, irrelevant references to this woman's weight, and scare quotes when describing things like her "extreme paranoia" and "lack of motivation", mocking her all the way through - a woman who already has mental health problems - as if all of that was not enough, let's allow the public to vote on what they think her future should be.

The Daily Telegraph have humiliated a vulnerable woman for committing the sins of being fat (many people on certain psychiatric drugs are, it's a significant side-effect), for having suffered trauma in her past, and for going to see The Wanted in concert, whoever they are. Their ridiculous poll adds insult to injury, and I just hope the woman in question never reads it.

This post originally appeared at The F-Word

[The image is a photograph of a warning sign reading "Caution Do not play on, in, or around this container". It was taken by Brittney Bush Bollay and is used under a Creative Commons Licence]


  1. After all the hate from the Mail you would think I would be used to this kind of thing, but the Torygraph have plumbed new depths of disablist thuggery with this. It is a hate crime, and it should be prosecutable as one.

  2. This is disgusting and prurient. What right has a newspaper got to comment on how an individual lives her life? Surely this is a gross infringement of her privacy.
    The mockery and invitation to judge anyone, especially someone with mental health problems shows that there is no level of slime the press will not sink to under this government.
    What a country! Makes you proud to be British doesn't it.

  3. I'm in receipt of DLA, I never go out, I cant readily use the stairs, so I live on the top floor of the house cause thats where the loo is.

    My condition is relapsing remitting, but on the rare occasions that I feel well and strong enough to go out. I have to overcome the psychological fear that I may loose my mobility if I am seen pushing my wheelchair instead of sitting in it.

    When I'm ill, i can barely make it to the loo(which is right next to my room), and often need my partners help to get back to my room.

    We live in fuel poverty even with DLA, if I risk my benefits, I am putting my life at risk.

    Sounds melodramatic doesn't it, but when you have Fibromyalgia and you cant afford hot water and heat, the pain is so unbearable that suicide starts to look like the only choice.

    We already only put the hotwater on 3 times a week. Which means I often skip washing my hands becasue I cant face the intense pain I will experience. I go back in my room, put an anti allergy baby wipe into a placi bag, and warm it on the radiator near my bed. Then I wipe my hands.

    That's pretty much how I keep clean.

    yet another benefit scrounging scum bag.

  4. WEL folks as the mail has been mentioned here...go have a look at thier website and you will find a piece there that will make you laugh...a4e are under investigation for ,,,,alleged ...fraud for claiming for job placements that lasted only one day.Sooooo call me dave will be well pissed orrrf but well i aint saying a bleedin thing about scroungers but read just how much this bint paid herself and you will no doubt draw your own conclusions to just who the real welfare money is paid to and who the real f***n scrounger is.And just in case any lawyers are looking in i did say alleged as it does in the paper...DAVID give her a bell she needs yer help hahahahahahaaaa

  5. That is absolutely dreadful. I wish I could say that I'm surprised, but I'm not. The Telegraph should be ashamed.