Campus Reform | Bradley University combats 'fatism' by promoting 'fat acceptance'

Bradley University combats 'fatism' by promoting 'fat acceptance'

Bradley University wants its students to know there’s nothing wrong with being fat.

The school says weight discrimination is a serious problem with devastating consequences both for the individuals who are discriminated against and for society as a whole.

Article image

While the United States leads the world in numbers of obese adults, teens and children, and despite the federal government's efforts to push healthy eating initiatives, one university wants its students to know there’s nothing wrong with being fat.

As part of Bradley University's "Body Project," the university is trying to combat “fatism” by advocating for what it calls “fat acceptance.” The university claims that unrealistic body standards take a significant toll on fat people and can even lead to “fatism.” “Weight discrimination,” the school’s website says, “sometimes called ‘fatism’, is a serious problem with devastating consequences both for the individuals who are discriminated against and for society as a whole.”

In order to combat the “devastating consequences” of “fatism,” the university wants its “large people” to learn “fat acceptance,” which as the university defines it means “large people love and accept themselves the way they are.” The university argues that fatism is in part caused by unreal body ideals that focus too much on white people. “Height and weight tables delineating “ideal” body proportions are based on Caucasian body types,” the university claims. “The genetically distinct body types of people of color are not considered in the formulation of ‘ideal proportions.’”

According to the university, the fact that fat people “are commonly advised to lose weight regardless of their state of health” is a clear example of “weight prejudice” from doctors. The university goes on to claim that “advances in the fat acceptance movement” have already begun to “empower large people and give them strength to be who they are in a society that isn’t nearly large enough for them.”

The university also warns students about the dangers of trying to lose weight, claiming that “weight loss methods prove to be ineffective for most people, and may in fact pose serious health risks making the cure for obesity worse than the condition itself.”

The Body Project, which is the product of a joint effort from the university’s Women’s Studies Program, Center for Wellness, and Department of Sociology, aims to promote “awareness and acceptance of the human body in all its shapes and sizes.”

The university did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @peterjhasson