Towards the end of the twentieth century the World Health Organization declared “obesity” a global epidemic. From 2001 onwards the term “globesity” came into use. “Globesity” is understood as a globally observable consequence of the spread of new “lifestyles” common in industrialized countries characterized by increased consumption of high-energy, industrially processed foodstuffs and low physical activity. According to this thesis, more and more people in the global North and increasingly also in the global South are “overweight” and suffer from “obesity,” measured by using the BMI. As “obesity” is classified as a risk factor for chronic, non-communicable diseases, “globesity” has been declared a public health crisis that threatens global society due to high healthcare costs and decreasing productivity. More recently,…

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The definition of Health at Every Size (HAES) may initially appear to be easy to understand. Many HAES advocates argue that all bodies, regardless of size, can achieve and maintain ‘good’ health. Yet, meanings and understandings of HAES have a complex and contentious history. HAES can loosely be separated into two branches. The most popularised branch has now been trademarked and was adapted and popularised by healthcare professionals such as Lindo Bacon, Deb Burgard and Lucy Aphramor. The other is perhaps lesser known to people outside of the fat activist movement but has its roots in early fat liberation where fat people were first able to discuss their dismal experiences of healthcare as part of community organisation.  Both branches argue…

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In both contemporary medical and cultural discourse, a relationship between fatness and excess is often perceived to be self-evident. Being “overweight” is consistently connected to “overeating” and “overindulgence,” with the implication that if one simply ate less and practiced greater self-control they would lose weight and would stop being fat. Fat bodies may thus be perceived as transgressive since they are thought to transgress the norms of consumption. In the early modern period, however, the connection between excess and fat was not as straight-forward. While ideas about excess and excessive behavior permeated German-speaking society in the sixteenth century, excess was not always understood to result in fatness. Contemporary criticism of gluttony and drunkenness commented on the effects of such vices…

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Three years ago, in August 2018, Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists gained international recognition when they missed school for three weeks to protest in front of the Swedish parliament, demanding a noticeable increase in political action to prevent climate change. While U.S. climate activism and its countermovement started to gain traction in the 1990s, the more recent protests in Sweden have inspired many people across the globe to follow suit, forming the Fridays for Future (FFF) movement. However, a rhetoric of anti-fatness and ableism threatens to undermine the movement’s attempt to engage a diverse group of people in its cause. With this blog post, I want to challenge the use of popular slogans like “BURN FAT, NOT OIL,”…

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The “personal is the political,” a slogan of second-wave feminism, was also embraced by fat feminists in the 1960s and 70s. A founding member of the Fat Underground, a fat feminist liberation group, Vivian Mayer explained that they taught women to “relate ordinary ‘personal’ problems . . . to political injustices. The goal is to teach people how to support and encourage one another, and how to work together to change oppressive social relations” (xi).  In recent stories circulating around Boris Johnson’s (fat) body and his experience of COVID-19, the personal is political in a very different and problematic way. At the time of this writing, the United Kingdom has over 40,000 confirmed deaths related to the disease. The government’s…

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