Your tax dollars hard at work, ladies and gentlemen: students at Oregon State University will soon have the option to participate in a course titled “Fat Studies,” which promises to analyze the issue of fatness and how “weightism” has become the next great civil rights issue of our time.
The course syllabus reveals that students will examine “body weight, shape, and size as an area of human difference subject to privilege and discrimination that intersects with other systems of oppression based on gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, and ability,” Campus Reform reports.
Professor Patti Lou-Watkins – a scholar of “body image disorders, particularly as they relate to weight bias and physical activity” – will teach the course, which will be offered in the upcoming spring semester.
In a scholarly article entitled “Teaching About Eating Disorders From A Fat Studies Perspective,” Lou-Watkins lays out her approach to fat studies as one that “frames body image disturbances more as a function of oppressive societal structures than of individual pathology,” whatever that means.
“Fat studies positions weight bias as a system of oppression that intersects with bias based on other areas of difference including gender, race, social class, sexual orientation, and age,” Lou-Watkins observed. She compares fat studies to queer studies, as both disciplines “reclaim… historically pejorative word[s]” and have their roots in social justice.
Lou-Watkins is an avid proponent of the “Health At Every Size” (HAES) movement, which argues that weight is a poor indicator of health – despite mountains of scientific evidence to the contrary.
“The validity of HAES is supported by research over the past decade that reveals the continued ineffectiveness of dieting interventions targeting weight loss along with the potential for harm associated with these strategies,” she wrote in an article for European Health Psychologist.
Will students eventually be able to get a degree in Fat Studies? And what will the post-modernist provocateur academics think of next?