Sunday, 21 November 2010

Staying in an FA mindset

I was tempted to apologise for not updating this blog in a long while, but it's my blog and at the end of the day, my decision if I post regularly or not. I've not had the energy or inclination for blogging of late, especially blogging of a Fat Acceptance nature. Any energy I've had leftover from work and other things has largely gone into just staying in a Fat Accepting frame of mind.

When term started again in September, I started a module on nutrition. I'd picked it because I find nutrition interesting, it's an extremely important subject and handy knowledge to be armed with as a fat person. While the subject is no less interesting than I'd hoped, the lectures themselves seem to be stealing all my Sanity Watchers Points.

The lecture course focusses quite heavily on the subject obesity, not just in lectures dedicated to the study or nutrition and obesity, but the ZOMGBESITY! Epidemic gets referenced in almost all other lectures. Wherever there is even the tiniest chance of it being relevant. The information we're given is overwhelmingly biased in favour of the party line; i.e. that if you're fat it's your fault for eating junk and being lazy and you ave to fix it with a diet aka eating less and exercise more. The role of genetics is being downplayed, socio-economic factors are completely ignored. The fact that diets don't work is also never mentioned, the side effects of Alli seriously downplayed and we're never once asked to critically think about why so many of the weight loss drugs have had to be pulled from the market.

Add in to that a thin white male lecturer who practically sweats privilege making jokes about eating 50 Mars Bars a day and I become so angry that I feel sick. And it doesn't help that 250 people laughed at is stupid jokes, because haha, aren't fat people stupid for eating Mars Bars all day and aren't we thin people superior to them in every way?

And our Science Library has literally no books that look at obesity science from even a remotely FA/HAES viewpoint. Our Arts library has plenty, looking at fat from a historical/political/sociological/feminist point of view. But the science library does not, and neither does the medical library. Our campus libraries don’t have even a single copy of Paul Campos’ Obesity Myth.
Staying in a body positive frame of mind has been one hell of a challenge. And the extra frustration is that in exams we’re supposed to mention things from extra reading. Well being in the fatosphere and reading all these Fat positive HAES books is definitely extra reading, but I have to be careful what I put in my exam because it disagrees with everything they’ve said in the lectures. And I have no doubt that there will be a question on obesity because it took up about 20% of the lecture time we have. Which, notably is way more than we’ve spent on undernutrition and eating disorders like anorexia.
The only real light in this particular tunnel comes from a recently published report on the fact that diets don’t work. This paper has been published in time for me to use it in my exam as extra reading, and provides a potential gateway to talking about Health at Every Size. Talking about the failure of diets and offering HAES as an alternative is part of my way of fighting my corner. I’ve felt pretty powerless on this subject over the term, but the exam might just offer the opportunity I need to express my opinions in a way that is supportable by science.
I hope I am brave enough to take the opportunity if it arises. It’s going to be a difficult task to strike a balance between trying to get a good grade and being true to myself. But I hope I can do it.

1 comment :

  1. Hang in there, you are making a difference just by participating in an arena that is so geared against fat acceptance. That's amazing.

    Know that your FA community is always there, vent in spaces like this and if you need some support you know where to find us.