Campus Reform | University claims being 'fat' is not unhealthy. The science says otherwise.

University claims being 'fat' is not unhealthy. The science says otherwise.

A library guide at Simmons University advocates opposition to 'Fatmisia, which it defines as bigotry against fat people and fatness.

A colossal portion of the American public is obese, which exacerbates most health conditions and contributes to many others.

Simmons University in Boston maintains a library guide titled “Anti-Oppression: Anti-Fatmisia.”  It can be found on the university’s website in a collection of “Anti-Oppression” guides. Other guides include “Anti-Racism” and “Anti-Transmisia,” among others.

It defines “Anti-Fatmisia” as “strategies, theories, actions, and practices that challenge and counter fatmisia, inequalities, prejudices, and discrimination based on size.”

A section of the guide explaining why the suffix "misia" is used rather than "phobia," notes that "the problem with using 'phobia' terms as labels for prejudice is that there are folks who actually have phobias."

"So when we use terms like 'homophobia,' we are equating bigotry with a mental health disorder, which does several problematic things," the school's website continues.

The page calls for opposition to "Fatmisia" which it describes as “prejudice plus power.”  It also asserts that “in North America and across the globe, thin people have the institutional power.”  Consequently, it defines the term as “a systematized discrimination or antagonism directed against fat bodies/people based on the belief that thinness is superior” to obesity.

The document claims that Anti-Fatmisia is founded on three presumptions, which it holds to be incorrect.  The first is that “there is, with minimal physical divergence, a 'right or 'normal' body type and it is a thin one.”  Second, it asserts that there isn’t an “automatic correlation” between not being fat or obese and good health.  Third, it cites the social view that fatness is “abnormal," as being false.

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Further, to support its claim that fat people are oppressed, it says that thin people have "privilege." Riffing off of the concept discussed in Robin DiAngelo’s book, White Fragility, the guide insists upon the existence of “thin fragility.”  It claims that thin people live in environments where they are “insulated” from dealing with fat or overweight people.  

The guide links to several outside articles, including a 2019 Teen Vogue article, "Fat is Not a Bad Word" and a BBC article titled "Why We’re Proud of Our Fat Bodies."

This doctrine of Anti-Fatmisia is likely the most extreme iteration of the fat acceptance movement, which began to emerge in the mid-2010s.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42.4 percent of Americans suffer from obesity. 

Being severely overweight exacerbates most health conditions, the science states. Obese people are at risk of heart disease, strokes, and Type-2 Diabetes at higher rates than the rest of the population. 

Simmons University, a women's’ institution, does not mention in the guide that for women, obesity can cause severe damage to reproductive health and raises diabetes risks significantly.

Campus Reform reached out to Simmons for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Leo_Thuman