Proposed Phys. Ed. Course: Sumo Wrestling for Anorexics
As educators, we should always strive to encourage students to do whatever they want and feel proud of their inevitable success. It is inappropriate for us to criticize any attributes they possess that might cause them harm. We’re in the happy business and it makes us feel good!
That is why I am proposing that we offer a special physical education course specifically for anorexics. Anorexic students don’t have much muscle mass (I don’t mean to be judgmental… sorry), which means that they’re not going to be good at most athletic pursuits. In contrast, sumo wrestling is a truly egalitarian sport. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are; if we can find someone who weighs the same as you, it’s a fair match-up. But you might protest: anorexics usually view themselves as fat. Why on earth would you assign them to a sport that is normally pursued by fat people? It’s really very simple. Put a “normal-weight” person in the course and the anorexic will inevitably lose that match. With an anorexic group of students, losing is the one thing that will help their self-esteem. What’s the obvious rationalization for losing? “I lost the match because I wasn’t fat enough.”
In fairness, we have to be careful how we market this course. The University prohibits any commentary that might be viewed as disparaging to a student’s body type. (Administrators say they want you to act when you see that someone is anorexic, but those “speech codes” make it nearly impossible.) So even though anorexia can kill these kids before they ever get a chance to graduate, we have to accept that their psychological disease is not a disease, but an unfair cultural label that is foisted upon them. We must allow these kids to feel good about themselves and their self-destructive choices. Who are we to say what weight is “normal?” “Normal” is relative.