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Desire Scholars Workshop Presentation Desire Scholars Workshop Presentation Presentation Transcript

  • WEIGHT DISCOURSE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
    Jenny A. Armentrout, PhD Student, BGSU
    DESIRE Scholars Workshop:
  • Link (5:40)
    Link (all if there is time)
    My research interests/background…
    Weight is a multi-faceted topic thatMATTERS and effects EVERYONE…
    Intro… The Colbert Report
  • PART 1: Weight Effects Every Medium & Message
  • Weight Discourse? What?
    A few immediate, politically-charged examples...
    Michelle Obama
    Chris Christie
    Candy Crowley
    Marilyn Wann
    Kevin Smith
  • Current US Weight Discourses
    The mainstream media tells us…
    obesity= “lazy, gluttonous, shameful, wrong, deviant, one’s own fault, unsexy, unproductive, and physically unattractive”
    obesity = the last socially accepted stigma
    obesity= low agency in the public sphere
  • Current US Weight Discourses
    The CDC tell us…
    approximately 67% of people in the US are now either overweight or obese
    it is ok to perpetuate “epidemic” and “disease” ideologieswithin American culture
    obesity is unhealthy and costly, driving increased rates of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease
    we must wage war against and eradicate obesity (map)
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1990
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1991
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1992
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1993
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1994
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1995
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1996
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1997
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% ≥20%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1998
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% ≥20%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1999
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% ≥20%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2000
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% ≥20%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2001
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% ≥25%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2003
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% ≥25%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2004
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% ≥25%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2005
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2006
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2007
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%
  • Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2008
    (*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
    No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%
  • PART 2: The Human Rights Issue
  • The Status Quo
    For the aforementioned reasons we allow weight to effect US culture in the following ways…
    it has been exacerbated as a spectacle-creating, fear-invoking, medicalized, political, dialectical, capitalistic, consumer-driven, economical, socially-accepted, sexual, Puritanical (right/wrong)tension
    it is a type of cultural violence that is influenced by systemic, structural, and institutionalconfigurations
    it is both pervasive and constitutive, resulting in the stigmatization, marginalization, and discrimination of individuals of size
  • Size/Weight Stigmatization
    Anti-obesity attitudes begin early
    in childhood
    Weight stigmatization can be categorized as an abomination of the body that blemishes the individual character, and it may be heightened by race, gender, or economic background
    family members, doctors,
    classmates, sales clerks,
    friends, and coworkers all participate
    Individuals of size are “othered”
  • Size/Weight Marginalization
    Self-perception, other-perception, acceptance, denial, and misrepresentation all perpetuate obesity marginalization
    Sense of self and body satisfaction become intertwined
    Individuals of size contend with a
    symbolic, innate, and
    concrete state of limbo
  • Size/Weight Discrimination
    Discrimination is seemingly innate…
    the unfair treatment of one person or group usually because of prejudice about race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, and/or size/weight
    Individuals of size physically do not “fit in” at work, in cubicles, in theaters, in restaurants, in social situations, nor in various public transportation situations; they have trouble finding clothing that fits, sometimes have weight-related nicknames, and are shamed privately and publicly
    12% in 2004–2006 (increasing)
    Education, health care, and employment
    Michigan remains the only state with an anti-discrimination law that includes sizeism
  • PART 3: Is Weight Acceptance Possible?
  • Communication
    As individuals of size we must question our personal communication tactics…
    Nonverbal artifact displays
    Relationship management
    Humor use (sarcasm, self-denigration, etc.)
    Humor function (identification, clarification, enforcement, and differentiation)
    Adopting the “jolly fat person” stereotype
  • Personal Coping
    We must consider our psychological tendencies and body image…
    Accept your size. Love and appreciate the body you have. Self-acceptance empowers you to move on and make positive changes.
    Trust yourself. We all have internal systems designed to keep us healthy – and at a healthy weight. Support your body in naturally finding its appropriate weight by honoring its signals of hunger, satiety, and appetite.
    Adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Develop and nurture connections with others and look for purpose and meaning in your life. Fulfillingyour social, emotional and spiritual needs restores food to its rightful place as a source ofnourishment and pleasure.Find the joy in moving your body and becoming more physically vital in your everyday life.Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and seek out pleasurable and satisfying foods. Beattentive to the experience of eating and to which food choices truly help you feel good.
    Embrace size diversity. Humans come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Open to the beauty found across the spectrum and support others in recognizing their unique attractiveness.
    -Health at Every Size, 2009
  • Reframing
    Let’s rethink our word choices. Instead of…
    overweight, fat, plump, large, round, voluptuous, rotund, curvy, podgy, fleshy, big, corpulent, etc.
    Obesity is “a complex occurrence caused by the interaction of genetic, cultural, socioeconomic, racial, behavioral, physiologic, performative, metabolic, cellular, and molecular influences”
    Fat is similar to “coming out of the closet” if one is homosexual. Many reclaim the term as a badge of defiance in the same way that gays/lesbians associate with terms like "queer" and/or “dyke"
    People of size andindividuals who are overweight/obese are phrases that can be used to allow for our acknowledgement of a person’s individuality, agency, and satience
  • Rehumanization
    As a society we must be attentive to the needs of EVERYONE…
    “Size diversity is a valuable aspect of our lives, and we continue to strive for a world in which people will honor that diversity, value their own looks, and judge others based on the content of their character”
    -The Council on Size & Weight Discrimination (2008)
    • Our goal must be to provide the same level of agency for individuals of size equivalent to what everyone receives
    • The media and health care system must show ample willingness to address these issues, for individuals of size are the majority
  • Question Power Structures
    Challenge various culturally violent institutions such as drug companies, the diet industry, the food industry, the world of fashion, and Congress. For instance: travel providers…
    Southwest Airlines
    policy
    United Airlines
    policy
    Alaska Airlines
    policy
  • Express Yourself
    Read and participate in ongoing discussions…
    Big Fat Blog
    The Rotund
    Fat Activist Network
    Joy Nash’s Fat Rant Blog
    Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose
  • Take Action
    Consider researching, supporting, joining, or donating to the size acceptance movement…
    NAAFA
    site
    ASDAH
    site
    ISAA
    site
  • PART 4: Conclusion
  • Peace-building Initiatives
    We must contemplate the possibility for resistanceandchallenge the status quo
    We must consider the political implications of changing one’s attitude
    We must address our own attitudes toward difference andDIVERSITY
    We must begin to imagine and support the changing of a world where issues of weight, size, and shape are possibly the last existing socially-accepted forms of prejudice
    We must be comfortable with the awareness that this moment of struggle is an ongoing internal conflict rather than one specific moment of discursive rapture
    We should question such divisions instated by a culture that champions human rights and the democratic ideal
  • Final Thoughts & Questions?
    “Scales are for fish, not people.”
    -Susie Orbach 2004
    "The Church says: the body is a sin. Science says: the body is a machine. Advertising says: The body is a business. The Body says: I am a fiesta."
    -Eduardo Galeano 1997
    “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
    - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince