Friday, November 11, 2011

Unfair and Damaging Weight Bias Exists in the Culture

Welcome to my home country - DAUFINation where all the definitions are daufinitions.
The next few posts will be excerpts from a presentation I made at a previous Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Annual Conference in Denver.  The Minorities And Communication Division and Commission on the Status of Women co-sponsored the session.

NOTE: My work uses the term “fat” the way the Fat Liberation movement uses it.  “Fat” is used in a non-pejorative sense, to describe corpulent people rather than a negatively connoted  terms such as “obese” or worse yet, “morbidly obese,” or even “overweight.” It is an effort to reclaim and de-demonize “fat” as African-Americans have reclaimed what was a previously insulting use of the terms Black or African to describe us.  It is also an attempt to reform the language to separate the possibly positive descriptor “fat” from other negative descriptors often coupled with the term fat when it is spat, such as “and ugly,” “and sloppy,”  “and lazy” which readily apply to people of any size. When the biased terms of “obese and overweight” are used they are the terms of others, not this author.

Unfair and Damaging Weight Bias Exists in the Culture
A few years ago the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University examined weight bias[i].  Rudd Center Director of Public Policy Roberta R. Friedman, ScM reports that “obese and overweight adults” experience weight discrimination from employers, doctors and teachers.   He says that weight discrimination causes serious medical, psychological, economic and social damage to the 66% of adults and 50% of children in the United States.  Rudd Center researchers and others say that weight bias, rather than fatness in and of itself, increases the risk that the victims will suffer depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor body image, suicidal acts and thoughts AND weight gain. The Center calls for public policy that includes weight in the list of categories that are covered in anti-discrimination laws on the local, state and federal level as is race and gender.
Next Post: Why Weight Bias is Bigotry

[i] Roberta R. Friedman, ScM, , “Weight Bias: The Need for Public Policy,” (Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity: New Haven Connecticut) 2008, 11 pages.

No comments:

Post a Comment