Fat and furious: Scholar founds fat conference
Wed, 11 Jul 2012 3:15p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
The big-boned, busty and bulge-battlers will be the centre of conversation in the capital this week as the country’s first ‘fat studies’ conference kicks off.
Organised by self-proclaimed ‘fat scholar’ Massey University lecturer Dr Cat Pausé, the ‘New Zealand Fat Studies: Reflective Intersections Conference’ aims to change the way people think about fatness.
Dr Pausé says the conference is at the forefront of an emerging scholarly field called ‘fat studies’.
She says fat stereotypes are plaguing the western world and the issue needs to be addressed.
“Fat people deserve the same rights and dignity as non-fat people,” she says. “I think obesity has become an easy scapegoat for society’s problems”.
She says outlawing prejudice – or ‘fatism’ – towards larger members of society is the next step New Zealand must take.
Dr Pausé says the very word ‘fat’ comes with an abundance of undertones that affect the way people feel about themselves.
“As a fat woman, any time I’m in a crowd of people who don’t know me, when I call myself fat, people panic and are quick to say ‘you’re not fat’ which is a ridiculous because I am in fact fat.
“Fat isn’t actually an emotion, it’s a state of being.”
She says people are taught from a young age to look at fatness as a bad thing which has created a “fear of fatness”.
“Non-fat people often live in fear of becoming fat, whether it is five-year-olds who are dieting or teenagers developing eating disorders.
Dr Pausé says people often assume someone who is fat is “undisciplined and lazy” and has a "diseased body".
She says health statistics on obesity help fuel these assumptions and can be misleading.
One example she gives is the widely-used statistic labeling New Zealand as the fourth fattest country in the world.
“In fact, we are the 32nd fattest country in the world and the fourth fattest in the OECD,” she says.
But despite the stigma around fatness, Dr Pausé is embracing the word fat to describe herself.
“I think it’s the most apt word to describe my body type. For me, the word fat is the way to go.”
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
14/07/2012 9:59:07 a.m.
Not Silly wrote:
Actually Greg I have seen a fat 90 year old. My Mum lived to be 90 and she was definitely overweight to the end. Needed a walking frame but many people in their 80s need one of those. So, Greg, perhaps you don't know everything.
12/07/2012 6:53:23 p.m.
It is true that some fat people are healthy and that some skinny people are unhealthy once you look at muscle mass and other vital stats for a person's body. However, those sort of people are the exception, not the rule. It's a bit like saying that some people smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day and live to be 100. Sure it happens, but that doesn't mean that being fat or smoking are good for you.
11/07/2012 5:08:01 p.m.
Is there any way we can see the results of this conference. While I wouldnt call myself fat, I am overweight, and any exercise I try to do is hindered by a neurological condition that I have. It makes me so sensitive to others opinions. I also grew up in a family where being fat was the most auful thing you could possibly be, and did have an eating disorder as a teenager. I'm just really keen to hear what other peoples impressions are :-)
11/07/2012 4:53:51 p.m.
I don't think it's a particarly positive thing to make your self unhealthy and less able. I don't think that its a good message to tell anyone it's okay to be fat. Have you ever seen a fat 90 year old, let alone 70 year old?
Police had to physically push anti-poverty protestors back a...
A crew member of a cruise ship who was seriously injured abo...
Tonight comes the Budget announcement you didn't hear yester...
It's New Zealand Sign Language Week and it is hoped awarenes...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.