Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Ph.D. in Fat Studies?

An article published in the New York Times recently discussed the growing field of "Fat Studies" - a discipline dedicated to the social and political consequences of weight.

The concept behind the field is to follow an approach similar to that of the women's movement in the 60s with the birth of women's studies and more recently in the 90s of gay and lesbian studies - as the New York Times put it all of these disciplines are, "a study of a people its supporters believe are victims of prejudice, stereotypes and oppression by mainstream society."

I think it's a great idea.

There's an absolutely tremendous amount of anti-weight bias in society and scholarly research on both its impact and potentially a means to help combat bias is a great idea, especially considering that obesity is not something that's going to be disappearing from society any time soon.

I have no doubt that some of the courses will take a very anti-intentional weight loss view and that others will likely purport that all the research ever done that has ever shown any risk with weight to be flawed - but I don't really care. We need passionate people on both sides of the fence to advance this issue forward, both in terms of ethical and effective approaches to weight management and in terms of countering the bias of what has often been referred to as the last socially acceptable form of stereotype.

Perhaps when I retire I'll go back to school.