Prof wants 'body size' added to diversity curricula

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • Prof. Andrea Hunt surveyed 13 obese college administrators about their campus experiences, finding many experienced "fat shaming."
  • Hunt recommends that colleges add more education about body shaming and weight-based microaggressions into faculty and employee diversity training.
  • A professor at the University of North Alabama recently called for “body size” to be added into college diversity curriculum to fight “weight-based microaggressions.”

    Andrea Hunt, who teaches sociology at the University of North Alabama, surveyed 13 fat college administrators about their experiences on campus and found that many of them experience “fat shaming” and “microaggressions.”

    “Because I am a chubby black woman who happens to be very curvy, folks think that it is acceptable to sing songs about big butts or make comments about having some ‘junk in the trunk.’”   

    “Within higher education, weight-based microaggressions are used as a way to undermine someone’s credibility, result in verbal shaming by colleagues, and affect employment outcomes,” Hunt argues.

    [RELATED: PhD: Small desks cause 'hostile' environment for fat students]

    For example, one “fat and poor” woman that Hunt interviewed, Anita, lamented the microaggressions she felt regarding business clothing.

    “I’ve experienced microaggressions around business wear/office clothes,” said Anita, adding that many of her coworkers are “resistant to discussions of size privilege and business casual requirements” in the workplace.

    Meanwhile, college administrator Desiree lamented “verbal weightshaming.”

    [RELATED: 'Fat Studies' course deems 'weightism' a 'social justice issue']

    “Because I am a chubby black woman who happens to be very curvy, folks think that it is acceptable to sing songs about big butts or make comments about having some ‘junk in the trunk,’” she lamented.

    Many interviewees also expressed concern that their fatness was hurting their career. Tonya, for example, was told during an interview that “the committee would just want to make sure that you are healthy enough to keep up with a demanding schedule.”

    These microaggressions, Hunt contends, hurt fat women’s careers and finances, arguing that “upward mobility is halted” because other people may “be uncomfortable with them taking more responsibility.”

    To fight this, Hunt recommends that colleges add more education about body shaming and weight-based microaggressions into faculty and employee diversity training.

    “Without this,” Hunt warns, “microaggressions and blocked opportunities will continue to occur.”

    Campus Reform reached out to Hunt multiple times for comment, but she did not respond in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen





    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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