While thousands of Americans die of COVID-19, two Wisconsin professors are preoccupied with fighting “fatphobia.”
Suggestions on social media for people to stay in shape and avoid overeating during the coronavirus quarantine are oppressive and abusive, according to these scholars.
Thoune, an associate professor of English, specializes in fat studies, gender studies and queer studies, according to the Two Fat Professors website.
Stoll is a professor of sociology with a concentration in women’s and gender studies.
I’ve been patiently waiting for Darci’s April blogpost to drop. So good — and not a moment too soon given the uptick in fatphobic memes I’ve seen circulating on social media lately. https://t.co/PeCavx7HaN
— Laurie Cooper Stoll (@DrCooperStoll) April 1, 2020
In her piece, headlined “Diet Culture at the End of the World,” she insisted to her readers that binge eating in response to stress is completely normal and acceptable behavior.
“I’m going to be blunt, we are living in traumatizing times,” Thoune wrote. “Your trauma is real. You do not need to suck it up.
“We need to seek solace and comfort where we can, and for some [folks] that solace and comfort will be in food. AND, THIS IS OKAY.”
The expert in fat studies went on to explain how dangerous it is to promote healthy behavior during the nationwide shutdown.
“To persist in promoting the idea that gaining weight is dangerous, bad, or something that we should be preoccupied with in this moment (or any moment) only feeds into a system of fatphobia that oppresses and abuses so many even in the best of times,” Thoune wrote.
By downplaying the health risks of drastic weight gain and obesity, these professors are only putting more potential victims of the coronavirus at risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals with severe obesity are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
By exercising and watching what they eat, people can improve their chances of surviving the virus if they get it.
Fitness coach Rajeem Garnett spoke to Campus Reform about the necessity for healthy eating habits during the ongoing crisis.
He said those who have “an eating disorder on top of depression … often have a hard time dealing with the present moment. [They] soothe themselves with food or even in reverse, starving themselves.”
“In times like this,” Garnett said, “people need to learn how to structure their days while at home. Set meal times instead of just eating when you feel like it. Give yourself jobs to keep yourself out of the bed.”
Fat is Not the Problem; Fat Stigma Is: https://t.co/HFkyLbCpg9
— Two Fat Professors (@2FatProfessors) July 9, 2019
To a fat studies expert like Thoune, any criticism of unhealthy weight gains is a form of discrimination and abuse, regardless of the fact that weight loss can save lives.
With the severe negative economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s amazing that educators are promoting such nonsense.
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