That Remains to Be Said
Disappeared Feminist Discourses on
Fat in Dietetic Theory and Practice
Lucy Aphramor and Jacqui Gingras
Sometimes words are mere noise
ousting what needs to be revealed
and then the poem must hold out—
you must hold out the poem—
cold glass against the face of death
until something amorpheous condenses / taciturnly.
—Aphramor, Craft (2005a)
In this chapter we, two feminist dietitian scholars, take a critical look at how our profession, although ideally situated to widen debate on fat and bodies, instead routinizes dominant understandings and eclipses alternative ways of telling and knowing fat. Dietetics recognizes knowledge as that which can be supported by dominant scientific literature developed around rigorous, quantifiable scientific methods. Such rational knowing has implications for how dietetics is taught and practiced (Liquori, 2001). Travers (1995) contends that professional nutrition discourse constructs nutrition and health inequities and contributes to public health problems. DeVault (1999) describes the professional training that dietetic students receive as a structure that produces isolation from families and communities; as a result, students learn to suppress emotions. All of this contributes to a gendered profession positioned in a way that doesn't acknowledge gender as positioning and doesn't acknowledge women's experiences as different from men's. Such omissions don't encourage practitioners or scientists to critique the source of knowledge as (likely) emerging from androcentric and western-centric epistemologies. That remains to be said.
But to uphold the rigor of the scientific convention limits engagement with meaning making: language is not a neutral tool but rather a powerfully charged political vector. The words that we use here influence our ability to generate possibilities (Lorde, 1984). Rather than locate our writing in the culture of positivism by choosing