Challenging Weight-Based Oppression Through Critical Education
Edited By Erin Cameron and Constance Russell
Part Two: Practicing Fat Pedagogies
Part Two Practicing Fat Pedagogies Five Promise to Try: Combating Fat Oppression Through Pedagogy in Tertiary Education Cat Pausé There is no such thing as a neutral educational process Education either functions as an instru- ment that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring conformity to it, or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the trans- formation of their world (Freire, 2003, p 34, emphasis in original) Education can liberate and oppress, emancipate and domesticate (Freire, 2003) This chapter ex- plores ways that those who teach tertiary education reinforce and resist fat oppression We live in a world where slimness is privileged (LeBesco, 2003; Wann, 1998) and slim bodies are read as good bodies: disciplined, active, attractive, and successful (Jutel, 2005) In contrast, fat bodies are read as bad bodies: undisciplined, lazy, disgusting, and undesirable (Murray, 2008) The anti-fat attitudes that result from these beliefs influence the lives of individuals of all sizes in employment settings, health care settings, and educational settings They can be found in the interactions between class- room participants (teacher—student, student—teacher, student—student) and in the treatment of bodies within the subject material, given normative messages about bodies and the subsequent reinforcement of anti-fat attitudes are common (Smith, 2012) Educators committed to social justice must make room for body size to have a...
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