Breaking News, World News and Taiwan News.

Emerging 'fat studies' conference challenges supersize stereotypes

WELLINGTON -- Cat Pause proudly describes herself as “fat,” can live with euphemisms like “curvy,” “chunky” or “chubby,” but baulks at what she believes are value-laden labels such as “overweight” or “obese.”

The U.S.-born academic is a pioneer in the emerging field of fat studies, organizing New Zealand's first conference on the topic at Massey University's Wellington campus on Thursday and Friday.

Fat studies, she explains, is an academic discipline just like history, English or political science, but it examines attitudes toward fat people and challenges the assumption that anyone with a bulging waistline is unhealthy.

At the conference, scholars from as far afield as the United States and Australia discussed papers such as “Fat hatred and the Left in the time of 'the obesity epidemic'” and “The role of diagnosis in marginalizing corpulence.”

“One of the reasons we're so fearful and hateful of fat is that we believe we can read people's bodies,” Pause told AFP.

“So when people look at a fat body like mine, it tells them I'm unhealthy and that this is a diseased body. It tells them I don't ever exercise and eat nothing but junk.”

Pause said the reality is that some people are just bigger than others and fat studies highlighted the need for society to accept the fact, rather than constantly judging fat people and pushing them to lose weight.

One of its first tasks, she said, was to reclaim the word “fat” so it was not used solely as an insult, in much the same way the gay community adopted the term “queer.”

Write a Comment
CAPTCHA Code Image
Type in image code
Change the code
 Receive China Post promos
 Respond to this email
 Childbirth particularly perilous in Guinea-Bissau 
In a picture taken on Thursday, July 12, Cat Pause, conference organizer and U.S.-born academic holds her scale during New Zealand's first fat conference at Massey University in Wellington. (AFP)

Enlarge Photo
Subscribe  |   Advertise  |   RSS Feed  |   About Us  |   Career  |   Contact Us
Sitemap  |   Top Stories  |   Taiwan  |   China  |   Business  |   Asia  |   World  |   Sports  |   Life  |   Arts & Leisure  |   Health  |   Editorial  |   Commentary
Travel  |   Movies  |   TV Listings  |   Classifieds  |   Bookstore  |   Getting Around  |   Weather  |   Guide Post  |   Student Post  |   English Courses  |   Terms of Use  |   Sitemap
  chinapost search