The course, Critical Understandings of Fatness and Health, is being offered as a 300 level distance learning course within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University, and contributes to the college’s larger focus on exploring citizenship in the 21st century. …
I agreed to offer the Fat Studies course after a group of Bachelor of Health Science students approached me last year.
They came and expressed an interest in learning more about Fat Studies; they wanted to learn about anti-fat attitudes and how they impact on the health and well-being of fat people, and how anti-fat attitudes result in barriers to fat people receiving healthcare.
This class isn’t about promoting a certain body size, or glorifying a certain lifestyle or health habits.
However, I would suggest that what currently happens in our culture is that only one kind of body and only one kind of lifestyle is acceptable.
There is a difference between saying only one body type is acceptable (which of course it is not) and saying that all lifestyle choices are acceptable, even if they lead to extremely negative health outcomes.
It also examines the resulting anti-fat attitudes and structural oppression experienced by fat individuals. Fat people face discrimination in most settings in our world, including education, employment, housing, relationships, and in accessing healthcare.
Once the important issue of people discriminating on body size in relationships, I hope they will tackle the equally important issue of relationship discrimination against people who are folically challenged. It is unfair that George Clooney has such great hair.
As a discipline, Fat Studies is similar to Women’s Studies, Māori Studies, Queer Studies and Disability Studies.
Yes, indeed it is.
One way the Government could fulfil their commitment to fat citizens is by updating employment and discrimination laws to include physical size alongside race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and religion. Maybe that’s part of the plan?
You have basically no choice as to your race, gender, disability or sexual orientation.
But with body size, you do. It is not 100% choice, as genetics do play a role and as Cartman says he is just big boned. But the impact of genetics is relatively minor compared to the impact of personal choices about what you eat and how much you exercise. The latest research I have seen is that genetics account for under 5% of obesity, and you can even counter that by avoiding certain types of food your genes are less efficient at dealing with such as saturated fat.