Wednesday, October 1, 2008


WTF? We had this information in 1968! Its been 40 years, and the stigma against obese people, and fat phobia, and fat hysteria has all gotten progressively worse! What else do we need to do?

(Paragraph from a draft of my thesis).
The obesity stigma combins these assumptions, and places the blame of the stigma solely on the obese person. “As tracing indigence to poverty, for all its tautology, implies the moral responsibility of the poor for their own misfortune, so does tracing obesity to indulgence imply the depravity of the overweight person” (Cahnman 1968:287). This “depravity” leads to the moral outrage against obesity, in that obese individual are stigmatized by the society, which leads to the internalization of the obese label, and the behavior accordingly changes. As Cahnman states later in his paper, “The obese [individual] is thus doubly and trebly disadvantaged: (1) because he is discriminated against, (2) because he is made to understand that he deserves it, and (3) because he comes to accept his treatment as just” (294).

“The interpersonal factor, which is the truly sociogenic factor and which in its extreme manifestation stamps obesity with the stigma of moral turpitude, would seem to be of considerable, perhaps decisive, impact…The stigma cannot be removed except by moral treatment whose primary objective is to consider the patient as a potentially normal human being who is as capable of the healthy exercise of all his faculties as anybody else” (Cahnman 1968:298).

(Quote Citation: Cahnman, Werner J. 1968. “The Stigma of Obesity.” The Sociological Quarterly 9(3):283-299.)

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