Australian Students Told That ‘Take the Stairs’ Signs Are ‘Ableist’ and ‘Fat-Shaming’

Aug 9, 2016 by

Fight over signs that urge students to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

By Emily Zanotti

Campus feminists at the University of Queensland in Australia are launching a civil war against other college social justice warriors. What’s their beef? Signs that urge students to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

The signs, placed by a campus environmental group, are probably familiar to most college students in the U.S. as well as in Australia: They urge students to “burn calories, not electricity” by walking to classes. The signs, the group says, help students be better stewards of the environment and promote sustainable living.

But campus feminists say they promote the idea that thin is better than fat, and guilt students into making choices that might be healthy for their bodies but not for their psyches. Taking to her blog, one UQ campus feminist wailed, “Not only are these new signs annoyingly patronizing to everyone reading them, but they’re ableist and fat-shaming.”

Apparently, the signs make people who can’t make it up a flight of stairs rue their lot in life — as their disabilities or life choices make them less able to save the planet. The signs, she says, make it clear that the truly environmentally friendly view taking the elevator as a “luxury” and not a need, which discriminates against those who cannot climb stairs.

Promoting a culture that thinks accommodations are luxuries, she says, is a micro-aggression against the differently abled.

Not unlike the “fat activist” who visited the University of Minnesota several months ago, UQ’s self-described “feminist” says burning calories and controlling weight may not be connected to health, so outsiders shouldn’t judge someone who looks like they might tip the scales.

“The emphasis on calories and weight only helps to reinforce damaging cultural ideas that equate fat with laziness, immorality, lack of self-control, ugliness and stupidity. It is fat shaming disguised as environmentalism,” she says.

The student, who says she “gives workshops on asexuality,” suggests that UQ’s environmentalists might want to change their signs to say things like “give your heart a work-out today” or “incorporate fitness into your daily routine.” Unfortunately, neither of those messages quite convey what the environmentalists seems to be stressing: that you should decrease your carbon footprint. Increasing your actual footprint is just a fringe benefit.

Of course, it’s unlikely campus feminists would be happy with those slogans either.

Source: Australian Students Told That ‘Take the Stairs’ Signs Are ‘Ableist’ and ‘Fat-Shaming’ | Heat Street

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