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snopes
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Even as science, medicine and government have defined obesity as a threat to the nation’s health and treasury, fat studies is emerging as a new interdisciplinary area of study on campuses across the country and is gaining interest in Australia and Britain. Nestled within the humanities and social sciences fields, fat studies explores the social and political consequences of being fat.

http://www.goupstate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061126/ZNYT04/611260336/1041/COMMUNITY11

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Mickey Blue
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Pfft.. Ok, I will readily admit that we as people view larger people unfairly much of the time, but this group seems to be actually suggesting that the studies linking obesity with poor health are exagerrated or perhaps even completely made up?

Of course, like all great debaters, they offered no information to back up the claims the make..

I do like this little gem:

quote:
“You can be a cigarette smoking junkie but as long as you’re thin, people will think you’re healthy,” said Cookie Woolner, 32, a graduate student in humanities at San Francisco State University.
Cause we all know how people view cigarettes as healthy and wonderous, which is why you are allowed to use them in all venues in the country..


It seems like these people have an issue with the idea that being fat is rairly viewed as sexy, or perhaps even normal.. ok fair enough. They also are upset with the idea that being fat is always associated with being lazy or a glutton, as opposed to other factors, ok, also fair. But ultimatly they even take offense to the notion that being obese (no longer talking about just a few pounds over "the norm") is not unhealthy.


Much like smoking cigarettes, or drinking large amounts of alcohol, being extremely overweight is strongly associated with severe health problems, including the main killers of Americans (heart disease, cancer, etc).

Does that mean people shouldn't be allowed to be fat? No, cigarettes are linked to the same things and people are still allowed to smoke, but I have yet to hear anybody try to make a "smoker studies" group or try (as a collegiate organization) to claim that studies linking smoking to disease are lying. Heck just the opposite, most smokers I know are well aware that they are doing something very unhealthy, but figure they'll deal with it when it comes.

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"All people are responsible for the good that they didn't do"

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Kahuna Burger
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
...but I have yet to hear anybody try to make a "smoker studies" group or try (as a collegiate organization) to claim that studies linking smoking to disease are lying. Heck just the opposite, most smokers I know are well aware that they are doing something very unhealthy, but figure they'll deal with it when it comes.
There was however, a "smokers rights group" quoted in an earlier thread involving second hand smoke and children, and I have encountered plenty of individuals who act as if not wanting to involuntarily smoke is a form of bigotry.

(while definitly not worthy of a dept or anything, the study of representations and stereotypes of smokers and how they have changed through the years could easily form a 'focus' for any number of college students.)

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Mickey Blue
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
There was however, a "smokers rights group" quoted in an earlier thread involving second hand smoke and children, and I have encountered plenty of individuals who act as if not wanting to involuntarily smoke is a form of bigotry.
True, though not quite the same thing, however one could also say while fat people may be given a hard time there have been no initiatives to make it illegal to eat certain foods in certain places (the Trans Fat thing not withstanding as thats an additive, nobody is banning "fat").

quote:
(while definitly not worthy of a dept or anything, the study of representations and stereotypes of smokers and how they have changed through the years could easily form a 'focus' for any number of college students.)
Indeed and it would only strengthen my argument that smokers images have changed for the worse and are often viewed as very unhealthy, which differes from the claim the OP appears to make.

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"All people are responsible for the good that they didn't do"

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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I think the academic weakness of "issue" studies is in their campaigning roots. In my mind, each of women's, queer, or disability studies forms part of a wider interdisciplinary field of study: gender, sexuality and sexual identity, even a spectrum of physical ability/disability.

I would be more interested to see "fat" as a cultural phenomenon studied within the context of attitudes to different body-shapes. There's still room for campaigning within that.

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

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Jonny T
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Embra - just out of curiosity - what about their focusing on a particular sub-set of a wider field is a "weakness"?

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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I think my problem lies in the fact that they are not focusing on a subset of a pre-existing and defined discipline. Campaign-type studies tend to precede the development of a broader contextualisation (actually I admit to pulling that idea out of my big fat arse - it's an impression I have, and I do recall proponents of women's studies complaining that the later development of gender studies somehow "diluted" the effectiveness of what they had to say).

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yes, I think that researching and writing articles about "fat" as a cultural concept is completely valid. BUt I think that if it is seen as an isolated field of study, rather than in the context of body-shap and size in general, then it is open to criticism that its proponents are more interested in pre-conceived answers than in asking questions.

Using a more common example, I think it's more interesting, useful, and academically rigorous, to research women's place in society, if that is done against a backdrop of the concept of gender as a whole. It doesn't mean that everyone has to write a quota of articles on men as well as women. But hopefully it means that there actually is a wider field within which people can focus. Fat studies is a sub-set without a field,

Actually, while writing, I have thought that this is probably misleading, because you could situate it within cultural studies generally.

So maybe I'm totally wrong after all. Apparently it does happen. But I hate getting that dawning sense of realisation while I'm actually typing. Most unsettling...

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

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UrbanReindeer
Deck the Malls


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quote:
but as long as you’re thin, people will think you’re healthy
I have to say I actually do get this quite a bit. I am thin. I am not healthy. I have a heart condition and I do not get enough exercise. However, if I say something like "I really need to get more exercise, I'm in terrible shape", I am often laughed at.

I know this has nothing to do with the other assertions in the article, but skinny does seem to equate to "healthy" for people in general.

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"He feeds the sparrows of the field, but He doesn't sit there and cram worms into their mouths." -- Mouse

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