Justice is a phat word, but is it also the F-word? It should be, according to a growing movement. One of the soldiers battling for fat justice is an Iowa State University professor. Dr. T.J. Stewart, assistant professor of Student Affairs and Higher Education, was recently featured on the Scholarship to Practice podcast, according to the University Innovation Alliance (UIA).
T.J.’s interests are right at home among today’s priorities: “[They] include college students with stigmatized identities, identity-based student activism, and critical qualitative methodologies.”
Can you wrap your arms around obesity, said the teacher? “Once we think we’ve got our arms around all of the major equity and justice issues around race, gender, and class…who is still missing and why?”
“We know these students exist,” he explained, “but are not necessarily centered in our everyday equity and justice conversations or work.” The professor expressed grave concern: “How are fat students experiencing fatphobia and sizeism?”
Did you know that People of Portion aren’t allowed to attend college? According to the article, T.J.’s “extensively studied the issues of fatphobia and sizeism on campus, the signaling that excludes larger people from the promise of higher education.”
They’re also chased away by a slew of small lodgings; as the phrase goes, it’s the little things that mat“Physical environments impact students — what type of furniture do we buy? … Furniture should be inclusive of body size. We would not expect an ‘average’ student to sit on some rickety chair that has a piece of iron digging into their side. That’s a safety issue.”
Robustness has been said to be resistant. The instructor, on the other hand, is on the case. T.J. contributed to the fat-forward post “‘Feeling Good as Hell‘: Black Women and the Nuances of Fat Resistance,” according to The College Fix. The essay celebrates racial realizations with a glass of wine. Here’s your attaboy if you’re an identifiable accomplice:
“Grounded in Black women’s ways of knowing, we explore the philosophical bounds of fat activism and fat resistance and through citing examples of Black women engaged in resistance to body-oppressive structures, we highlight the ways fat people and their accomplices (nonfat and non-fat identifying people) contribute to the collective effort for fat justice. We illuminate potential pathways forward for recognizing a range of actions that contribute to the freedom of fat bodies.”
Fatness is undoubtedly attempting to break away. Consider the expansion of the last few years: The university holds a ‘Plus Size Appreciation Day,’ but it is canceled. Pronoun Privilege and Columbus With a new series of ‘This is Healthy’ covers featuring plus-size women, ‘Cosmo’ debunks myths. The Racist Roots of ‘Fatphobia’ are Revealed in a Viral Video
A seminar on ‘Body Terrorism’ Against ‘Fat LGBTQ+ People’ is being held at a medical school. Even still, there is opposition: Charles Barkley Criticizes Cancel Culture and Recalls His Fatphobic Fight With San Antonio Fiancé dumps woman because she’s ‘too fat.’ She slims down and is crowned Miss Great Britain.
As for the aforementioned “terrorism,” it seems to me weakness is quickly creating its own language. These days, there’s big talk of “bodies” as if people are pieces of meat. And the term “phobia,” which refers to unreasonable fear, is rarely used correctly.
The same can be said of “violence.” Words like “populations” and “communities,” which were once important concepts, have had their content lipped.
If your second toe is longer than your big one, you’re a member of the Larger Second Toe “Community” in this enlightened day – a wholly meaningless membership with individuals you’ll never meet and who will never have your back…even if they have your toe.
Returning to T.J., he simply wants big people to fit…in:
“There are a lot of fat-bodied students who experience places where they are not able to be comfortable, where they don’t fit in the classroom, in the residence hall. We know athletes might get preferences in certain assigned spaces. How radical would it be if we thought about that for larger students?”
But don’t think he doesn’t have a wide range of interests.
As per Uswallpost, Dr. Stewart is also interested in Critical Race Theory and the on-campus sex worker, who has been condemned to the “margins of the margins”:
“I…do work around college students engaged in sex work as their labor choice. … Sex work is not inherently exploitative or degrading. But sex workers, like all of us, are engaged in labor under capitalism, right? … I am of the belief that all students deserve support, inclusive of their labor choices.”
Nonetheless, he is a big believer in obesity.
His official bio reads:
“I am currently collecting data for a study exploring the experience of fat students on campus using the construct of ‘body terrorism’ grounded in Black women’s ways of knowing.”
It’s a whole new world out there. And overweight bodies in marginalized populations and communities are stuck, like “good-as-hell”-feeling people in an insufficiently-dimensioned workstation.
Hopefully, liberation will soon see them livin’ large.