What Is Fat Studies?
The Social and Historical Construction of Fatness
This section serves as an invitation to think about the framing of fatness in its historical context and to understand the central tenets of the field of fat studies. The authors pose challenges regarding approaching this field with the needed rigor despite vehement anti-fat attitudes and indoctrination.
After reading these chapters consider the following discussion questions:
What is the field of fat studies?
Why does this area of academic inquiry exist?
How have mainstream attitudes toward fat changed over the last fifty years? Over
the last ten years?
How have mainstream attitudes toward fat people changed over the last fifty years?
Over the last ten years?
What, if anything, is wrong with the mainstream approach to fatness?
What market forces have shaped societal attitudes regarding fat and fat people?
Who is privileged by the current construction of fatness?
Who is disadvantaged by the current construction of fatness?
Is a person's weight, generally, within the control of the individual? What relevance
does this question have for the social construction of fatness?
Identify a significant experience in your life (or in the life of a friend or loved one)
and explain how it would have been different if the mainstream attitude toward
fat was one of acceptance.