In elementary school fat kids get made fun of. As adults obese people have at times had trouble finding clothes, or have been made to pay for two airline seats. As of late there has developed a fat acceptance movement, and a related academic field called fat studies.
Let me start with the academic discipline of fat studies. I know that to the scientist here, that sounds about as rigorous and academic as underwater basket weaving or microwave cookery. However the name makes it sound simpler than it is. According to the Penn State Daily Collegian (above linked)
fat studies, a course which its supporters say will focus on people who are victims of prejudice, stereotypes and oppression by mainstream society.
ok. good. I can work with that. That is the basic description of any true minority studies course. Which raises the question are fat people (remember I did not name it "fat" studies) a true minority. A persons weight is just such a vacuous measure of their worth because it is mutable. People gain and loose weight all the time, "fat" people just gain over a long period, and loose a little less. Consider this story in The Chronicle of Higher Education
Ms. LeBesco is a leading player in an emerging academic field called fat studies. But over the last year and a half she has lost 70 pounds — putting her in the uncomfortable position of being at the forefront of a field for which she no longer fits the profile.
A professor of Black studies or LGBT studies would never have that problem.
This brings me to the phrase "victims of prejudice, stereotypes and oppression " used to define fat studies. Really? Other groups get that kind of treatment too. Consider the way people talk about those who are particularly thin.... Especially some who are in the fat acceptance movement. It seems to be assumed that all high fashion models have eating disorders. One tv show has even made hay out of catching various fashion models doing the "unthinkable".... "eating actual food!!!"
What got me to thinking about this issue was a advertisement I got in the mail from Victoria's Secret publicizing their "love my body" contest. I did enter the contest (please vote for me!) then I did a bit of googeling to see what other people were saying about it. I ran across this... "Fat Feminist Fitness Blog:Victoria's Secret Gone Crazy". Just the title of the blog says allot. It's hard to pick just one sentence from that which is the most representative.
If you want me to be confident about my body, sell me a bra that will fit and lift my 42 DDD off my tummy so I can try to create a waist.
So for this woman to feel confident, which she should anyway, she needs to have Victoria's secret make clothes that can fit her? You know many of the women who patronize Victoria's Secret have the opposite issue. Consider how society talks about flat chested women, women who need "The Miracle Bra". But no its not enough that there are a number of lines specializing in plus size clothes, at least one store "Lane Bryant" and to an extent "the dress barn". Is it not enough that now shopping at my local big box stores looking for an inexpensive dress is an exercise in frustration as the clearance racks all start at size 12 and go up. One store a woman who is of BMI between 18 and 26 can count on MUST be made to carry plus size clothing too? I sense a great deal of hostility from that writing, and it's not the only place
So am I wrong? Do I sense a bit of hostility that isn't there? Or am I right and has what is a well meaning movement, and a good academic liberal arts field being hijacked by people who wish to intellectualize their bitterness?
By the way did I ask you to vote for me? Well, please be kind enough to vote for me or whoever else you like. :-)