Fatness Studies?

So, there is a book coming out in the fall called the Fatness Studies Reader.   It’s not out yet, but one of the advance blurbs declares the collection

A path-breaking anthology, and the first to map this emerging field. Leading scholars and activists from diverse disciplinary backgrounds explore the pervasiveness of prejudice based on body size, and challenge conventional policy responses. By focusing on goals of health, fitness, and social tolerance, The Fat Studies Reader redefines the ‘problem’ of weight and invites more promising solutions.

See, this is why academics are so easily mocked. I haven’t read any of the essays, but here is an interview with two of the editors, Sondra Solovay and Esther Rothblum. You can listen below:

Fatness Studies interview

If you don’t feel like sitting through the entire thing, just know that the editors engage in sophistry throughout, refusing to answer basic questions about the difference between being slightly overwieght and obese.

They also repeatedly compare fat discrimination to racial discrimination! Um, being overweight is not the same as being Black!  Just ask Jarad from Subway!

I can’t believe this even has to be said, but clearly…

I don’t mean to demean the problems associated with being fat, and clearly there needs to be a more nuanced approach to this issue in America, but Fatness Studies? This is foolishness.

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2 responses to “Fatness Studies?

  1. So Janice said this:

    Jonathan, I’m not ready to defend a book I’ve not read, but I am willing to say that fatness–while absolutely not as politically, culturally, socially and legally fraught as race–unquestionably holds a place for questioning.

    I mean, would Beth Ditto be so controversial if she were not fat? Or, dare I say it, fat and not-white? Just take a quick gander at the tempest in a crock pot that was Cintra Wilson’s horrifying review of J.C. Penney in the New York Times. Here, let me give you a few links:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/fashion/13CRITIC.html?_r=3&ref=fashion… Read More
    http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2009/08/cintra_wilson_apologizes_for_s.html

  2. Janice,

    Of course fatness should be interrogated, everything should be challenged! But there is a lot of equivocating going on in that radio interview that raises my hackles. We lead the world in Type II diabetes, a disease that doesn’t exist in many countries. If the first words in the Fatness Studies reader aren’t stop drinking Big Gulps, then every copy should be burned.

    Being overweight is fine, and shouldn’t cause condemnation, but anything that tries to create a special class of people by comparing their situation–at least partially a product of choice–with something like race or gender just seems wrongheaded. A woman suffers sexism, a Black man suffers racism a fat person suffers discrimination, these thing are NOT equivalent, despite our need to confront the discriminatory behavior in each case.

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