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food for thought

alas_a_blog has posted The Big Fat Carnival First Edition, which is - well, I'll quote from the introduction:
The Big Fat Carnival is a blog carnival for collecting some of the best blog posts regarding fat pride; fat acceptance; critiques of anti-fat bigotry, attitudes and research; celebration of images of fat people; practical difficulties of being fat; fat love (queer and otherwise); feminist views of fat and fat acceptance; the health at every size movement (HAES); and whatever else each edition's editor feels fits into the theme.
There's so much linked there that it's overwhelming, and it's also all very good.

Here's one of the ones I found especially interesting. It's from Bitch|Lab and it's entitled
Oppression: It’s a process, not a product. Warning: The image at the top of the page is NWS.

I feel inarticulate but I'll try to explain why I found it interesting. I've been noticing a kind of social analysis lately that I like. I don't know whether it has an official name, but I think of it as "questioning whether [some concept that has a word associated with it] should be considered a noun or a verb." I've encountered it frequently in Marilynn Wann's writings (Warning, NWS images on web page). She responds to much of the criticism leveled at fat people and much of the "obesity epidemic" hysteria/moral panic by saying "Fatness is not a behavior."

The above article about oppression performs a similar analysis by arguing that we need to look at oppression as ongoing action shaped by a variety of forces. A quote:
We need to ask questions such as “Why and how does it come to be that race, sex, gender, disability, fatness, ethnicity, etc. become things in our mind?” and “Why and how is raced raced? Fatness fatnessed? Gender gendered? Sex sexed? Disability disablitied?”

And by that I don’t just mean, “how are we socialized to think these things?” Rather, through what historical processes, what struggles, what political forces were things like race raced, sex sexed, gender gendered, disability disabilitied, and fatness fatnessed?



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 9th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
That sounds very much like semiotics to me--sort of, how do words/symbols/what-have-you come to mean what they mean, unless I'm misunderstanding semiotics. Which is entirely possible. But yeah, I'm interested in that as well.
Feb. 10th, 2006 01:53 am (UTC)
I found some of the other articles in there interesting.

I was horrified about the 17-year-old girl taken off schizophrenia medication that worked because she "looked fat" and "didn't care that she was getting fatter." Yeesh.
Feb. 10th, 2006 08:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's just...words fail.
Feb. 10th, 2006 04:44 am (UTC)
That sounds to me a bit like the style of argument Foucault used in his _History of Sexuality_.
Feb. 11th, 2006 02:52 am (UTC)
I'm interested in the "noun vs verb" thing too, but I find people often don't go far enough - because after all, "process" is a noun just as much as "product" is. I'd wave my hands around in the direction of "reification" and what makes us do it and how to slow it down, but yeah, it's interesting and really hard to talk about.
Feb. 11th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
I agree that I didn't describe the shift very well; I'm trying to get at how looking at the unfolding of something is different from looking at it in any particular point in time, I guess.
Feb. 11th, 2006 07:14 am (UTC)
Somehow I can tie everything back to evolution: this is exactly why evolution is so hard to teach. People see stuff at a particular point in time and can't wrap their head around it being a skinny slice of the whole thing. (I guess particularly because the whole thing is 4 billion years - "as far back as anyone can remember" is still a single point in time.)
Feb. 11th, 2006 07:21 am (UTC)
I didn't realize evolution was hard to teach. It seems like a very sensible concept to me. (Or maybe I just don't know much about the level you're trying to teach it at.)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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