Fat Studies Is Now A ‘Social Justice’ Issue According To Oregon State University Professor

Ian Miles Cheong | Contributor

Students at the publicly funded Oregon State University can earn three credits studying the subject of “Fat Studies.” Indeed, those who attend the course will learn about how “weightism”—or a conscious or unconscious bias against fat people—is a “social justice issue.”

As previously reported by the Daily Caller last year, the syllabus invites students to 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.”

In other words, it’s intersectional feminism.

Campus Reform reported today that the class is returning once again for the upcoming semester with an increased focus on teaching students how to perform effective activism to “counter weightism perpetuated throughout various societal institutions.”

Professor Patti Lou-Watkins, who leads the class, says that she plans to teach students how bias against fat people isn’t so much of an issue that individuals may have, but is instead part of a larger oppressive structure.

“My course now frames body image disturbances more as a function of oppressive societal structures than of individual pathology,” wrote Lou-Watkins in a 2012 academic journal. The professor, who has a written a broad range of literature surrounding the topic of body image disorder, claimed that the “war on obesity” has caused immeasurable psychological harm on people who attempt to lose weight.

“Weight bias is particularly evident among healthcare professionals, compromising the well-being of their patients,” she wrote.

As Campus Reform highlights, the professor is open about using feminist pedagogy to teach her students about fat studies.

“I grew to embrace feminist pedagogy in terms of course content as well as classroom practices,” she wrote. “My course now frames body image disturbances more as a function of oppressive societal structures than of individual pathology.”

Besides Lou-Watkins’ class, Oregon State University offers another fat acceptance-related class called “Women, Weight, and Body Image,” which similarly explores “weightism as a system of oppression that interacts with other forms of oppression,” listing the usual -isms that every college-aged person is supposedly oppressed by.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.

Tags : obesity social justice
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