By Jayne Raisborough (auth.)
Our televisions bulge with weight loss exhibits, because the information warn of the weight problems epidemic. fats is this type of villain that better individuals are stigmatized and all of us are seduced via life-changing claims of a multi-billion pound nutrition undefined. but, once we query if our toilet scales can fairly let us know approximately our overall healthiness, we commence to invite simply why and the way fats holds such fascination.
In this booklet, Jayne Raisborough explores interpretations of fats our bodies from Palaeolithic Europe to Poverty Porn television to argue that fat’s materiality makes it ripe for stigmatising institutions. despite the fact that, specifically in a social context that offers healthiness as an issue of selection, fats additionally emerges as an incredible redemptive substance to be pummelled and starved into submission. This ebook provides a ‘fat sensibility’ to illustrate how fats helps us all turn into responsibilised healthy-citizens. It asks simply what self are we being requested to nutrition ourselves into?
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We might have hope then that in contrast with current times, the past would be a country characterized by a greater body diversity and, as a result, fat might be read as a celebratory marker of abundance, status, and fertility, if noted at all. Yet, this hope obliges us to seek a tipping point— that historical time when fat became bad. Instead, however, there appears to be an enduring ambivalence surrounding fat that emerges across time. For example, the scattering of the Venus figurines across Paleolithic Europe, whose full, large bodies decorate religious and ceremonial sites, as in Malta’s Hagar Qim,1 are often held as evidence of a ‘pro-fat’ past.
Of course, the idea of a trapped or submerged thinner person who can be freed depends much on preexisting understandings of fat as a substance that can be changed, moved, and burnt off. What we can see here are the ways a ‘flurry of numbers’ mingle with existing understandings of fat (simultaneously practical, metaphorical, and sensory) to present fat as a changeable identity characteristic. Once changeable, fat enters a potentially stigmatizing terrain: what can be changed can quickly slip into what ought to be changed.
Human fat may have also been exploited by the enterprising. Forth repeats the nineteenth-century rumours surrounding the Parisian Cemetery of Innocents. When the Parisians dealt with the problem of overcrowding in the cemetery, they noticed that decay had reduced the bodies to a fatty substance they called ‘adipocere’ (cemetery fat), which, rumour told, was sold to the soap boilers and chandlers for the making of soaps and candles. Indeed, human fat seems a Parisian speciality, as human-fat toilet soap, supposedly from mortuary cadavers, was touted as a better, albeit more expensive, replacement for ordinary soap in elite circles in the early 1890s.
Fat Bodies, Health and the Media by Jayne Raisborough (auth.)