Wisconsin Professors Fighting 'Fatphobia' During COVID-19 Pandemic


While thousands of Americans die of COVID-19, two Wisconsin professors are preoccupied with fighting “fatphobia.”

Darci Thoune and Laurie Stoll of Wisconsin, La Crosse, the founders of, believe COVID-19 patients aren’t the only victims of this ongoing crisis.

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.

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On Wednesday, Thoune published an article on the site decrying “diet culture” and the push for people to stay fit during the coronavirus crisis.

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.

Do you agree with these professors?

“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.

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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.”

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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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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