Why are fat bodies so stigmatised?

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PowePoint slides from a webinar delivered to the Australia New Zealand Academy of Eating Disorders, Sydney, 5 December 2012 by Deborah Lupton.

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Why are fat bodies so stigmatised?

  1. 1. WHY ARE FAT BODIES SO STIGMATISED? Deborah Lupton, Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney
  2. 2. MY BOOK ‘FAT’ (2012, ROUTLEDGE, LONDON)
  3. 3. MY BOOK ‘FOOD, THE BODY AND THE SELF’ (1996, SAGE, LONDON)
  4. 4. FAT PEOPLE: SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS more likely to live in poverty earn less income be unemployed have lower education levels be employed in lower status occupations experience lower living standards
  5. 5. DISCRIMINATION IN SOCIAL SETTINGS Fat children are more likely to experience bullying, ostracism and teasing at school Fat people often avoid visiting their doctor because of concern about negative judgements Fat people receive less respect from shop assistants and health care providers Fat people are subject to humiliating comments from friends, family members and strangers
  6. 6. FAT STIGMAIn contemporary western societies, fatness is associated with: laziness greed lack of self-discipline and self-control ‘letting yourself go’ not caring about physical appearance or health shame Inevitable disease and early death
  7. 7. NEGATIVE REPRESENTATIONS OF FAT PEOPLE ARE EVERYWHERE The news media (the ‘obesity epidemic’) Public health campaigns Reality television Television drama and comedy Ads for weight-loss products or unrelated products Weight-loss blogs and websites School-based health education programs
  8. 8. EXTREMES OF EMBODIMENT
  9. 9. THE ARCHET YPAL FAT BODY WITH HEAD CROPPED OFF
  10. 10. THE FAT BODY AS GROTESQUE
  11. 11. FEELING LIKE AN OUTSIDER BECAUSE OF ONE’S FAT BODY
  12. 12. THE FAT BODY AS TOXIC
  13. 13. THE PUBLIC HUMILIATION OF FAT PEOPLE
  14. 14. FAT FLESH AS EXCESSIVE
  15. 15. FAT PEOPLE AS EMOTIONAL, EATING FOR GREED OR COMFORT
  16. 16. THE BIGGEST LOSER: FAT PEOPLE AS ‘LOSERS’, FREAKS ON DISPLAY
  17. 17. FAT MAN AS FREAK IN SIDE-SHOW
  18. 18. CULTURAL CONCEPTS GIVING MEANING TO FATNESS Judeo-Christian ideals: body size as demonstrating spirituality and piousness The flesh as weak: the need to overcome temptation and master the body Valorising self-control over one’s body and one’s physical urges The conflation of health with beauty and with goodness: the food/health/beauty triplex
  19. 19. THE CONFLATION OF FATNESS WITH DISEASE The label of ‘obesity’ represents fatness as equivalent to disease and pathology Negative moral meanings of disease and illness Disease is stigmatised: lack of control over the body, link with death, imperfection
  20. 20. FATNESS AND FEMININIT Y Fatness is linked to emotionality, lack of self -control, fleshiness, irrationality All of which are often represented as more typically ‘feminine’ than ‘masculine’ qualities Fat activism a predominantly female -dominated movement Fat men as experiencing ‘spoilt masculinity’
  21. 21. FAT ACTIVISM: FIGHTING AGAINST NEGATIVE REPRESENTATIONS
  22. 22. THE ADIPOSITIVIT Y PROJECT
  23. 23. FAT PEOPLE AS ACTIVE AND FIT
  24. 24. THE EROTIC FAT BODY
  25. 25. BETH DITTO
  26. 26. HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
  27. 27. CONTACT DETAILSEmail: deborah.lupton@gmail.comTwitter: @DALuptonBlog: http://simplysociology.wordpress.comPinterest board ‘Fat Culture’: http://pinterest.com/dalupton/fat- culture

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