Making Room for Fat Studies in Writing Center Theory & Practice
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Fat Studies is “an interdisciplinary field of scholarship marked by an aggressive, consistent, rigorous critique of the negative assumptions, stereotypes, and stigma placed on fat and the fat body” (Solovay and Rothblum 2). This field is growing rapidly and seems as important from an activist’s perspective as it is from a scholar’s. Organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) combine scholarship and activism to support fat people in all aspects of their lives, from living healthily to dealing with an anti-fat society. Scholarly texts like the Fat Studies journal and The Fat Studies Reader are working to promote awareness and solidify the place of fat studies in academia. Thus, fat people—people considered “overweight” or “obese” by societal standards1—have acquired some status as an affinity group: activists bound by ideology, shared social experiences and concern for civil rights. What’s more, the term “fat”— considered a mere descriptor and not an insult (Wann xii)—may be the latest label under the “diversity” umbrella. Fat Studies, then, should join the various identity fields rightly consulted for more informed writing center theory and practice.