Challenging Weight-Based Oppression Through Critical Education
Edited By Erin Cameron and Constance Russell
Part One: Storying Fat Pedagogy
Part One Storying Fat Pedagogy One Picking the Bones Ellen S. Abell I am 55 and have a lifetime of experience with the discrimination this book aims to identify and reduce. I am a counselor, life coach, professor of psychology and gender studies, amateur comedian, and survivor of seven years of fat camp. Three years ago, a close friend of mine from fat camp died. She was 51. Of the original gang of six of us who’d been friends since we met at camp, Kim was the fourth to die prematurely. The presumption is she died of “obesity.” When you weigh 450 pounds and they have trouble getting your body out of the house where you lived, they don’t even do an autopsy. Fat is a killer, after all. A month after Kim died, after Andi, Gail, and Tommie all died before her, I elected to have lap band surgery. Weight started to drop, seemingly without trying. At age 52, I was becoming what I’d longed to be for as long as I could remember: thin. This compelling transformation marked the recogni- tion of my dual life—a fat person now living inside of a thin body. One body, two worlds. I want to tell you about my life and what it was like to be the “fat girl,” although rarely was the word “fat” ever used. I was simply “big-boned.” I also want to introduce you to some of my “big-boned” friends who, despite the stereotypes, were beautiful, hard-working,...
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