Students at a public university in Oregon can now gain college credit for learning about ‘Fat Studies.’
Oregon State University professor Patti Lou-Watkins is once again offering the course that seeks to look at how ‘weightism’ – or a conscious or unconscious bias against fat people – is a ‘social justice issue.’
Campus Reform reported that they had obtained a syllabus and that the class will invite students to observe ‘body weight, shape, and size as an area of human difference subject to privilege and discrimination that intersects with other systems of oppression based on gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, and ability.’
The intersectional feminist class will teach students how to engage in instrumental activism to ‘counter weightism perpetuated throughout various societal institutions.’
Professor Lou-Watkins plans to show how perceived individual notions of fat shaming actually come from larger societal context and oppressive structures.
‘My course now frames body image disturbances more as a function of oppressive societal structures than of individual pathology,’ said Professor Lou-Watkins in a 2012 academic journal.
The ‘war on obesity’, the professor notes, has caused immense psychological harm on people who have attempted to lose weight.
She added: ‘Weight bias is particularly evident among healthcare professionals, compromising the well-being of their patients.’
Campus Reform noted the the professor aims to include feminist pedagogy to assist in teaching her students about fat studies.
‘I grew to embrace feminist pedagogy in terms of course content as well as classroom practices,’ she said.
‘My course now frames body image disturbances more as a function of oppressive societal structures than of individual pathology.’