Fady Shanouda, an associate professor at Carleton University specializing in “fat studies,” argues that aiming for an obesity-free future is inherently “fatphobic” and part of a larger agenda that targets and stigmatizes overweight individuals. Here’s the full story.
Professor of Fat Studies
As an advocate for Critical Disability Studies, he draws on feminist new materialism to explore the connections between various fields, including “fat studies, colonialism, racism, and queer- and transphobia.”
In a recent article published in The Conversation, Shanouda criticizes the notion of addressing obesity as a public health issue, citing that this conversation often overlooks the complexity of body diversity and perpetuates “fatphobia”.
Obesity Is Associated With Serious Health Issues
According to data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), obesity is associated with a range of serious health issues, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and various types of cancer.
Many Adults Are Obese
In Canada, approximately 26% of adults are classified as obese, while the rates are even higher in the United States, with over 42% of adults affected.
He Acknowledged the Risks
While acknowledging the health risks associated with being overweight or obese, including an increased risk of chronic diseases, Shanouda believes that the focus on reducing obesity is rooted in negative judgments about people’s bodies.
Elimination of Fat Bodies
Shanouda said, “The latest wonder drug… [was] invented to help diabetics regulate blood glucose levels, but has the notable side-effect of severe weight loss. It has been heralded by many to culminate in the elimination of fat bodies. The fatphobia that undergirds such a proclamation isn’t new.”
Steeped in Fat-Hatred
Shanouda argues that an obesity-free future perpetuates fat-shaming and “the so-called obesity epidemic” was “steeped in fat-hatred.”
The Fat Liberation Movement
He lamented how the effectiveness of obesity treatments could eliminate “fat activism” and “the fat liberation movement.”
The Wonder Pill Is Harmful
He contends that the elevated discourse around Ozempic’s potential to address obesity takes commonplace fat-shaming to new heights, potentially further marginalizing and stigmatizing those who are overweight.
It Is Not a Cure
“Ozempic could drop one from the requisite weight associated with the danger zones of obesity or morbid obesity. Yet, in a world marked by scientific uncertainty, the promise of ‘a cure’ as a magic elixir is the ultimate expression of science vanquishing the bad enemy,” he added.
Shanouda’s perspective on this issue has ignited criticism and debate, particularly from those who emphasize the importance of public health interventions to address obesity-related health concerns.
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One user wrote, “If it is someone’s choice to be obese that is fine. Not healthy, but fine.”
Everyone Should Be Fatphobic
Another user commented, “Everyone should be fatphobic. Being fat is extremely detrimental to anyone’s health. I think you would see a change in attitudes if Americans had to pay for health insurance the same way car or life insurance is paid for.”
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