Colorado State University Hosts Week of ‘Fatphobia’ Workshops

Obese Man Mark Lennihan, AP
Mark Lennihan/ AP

Colorado State University hosted a “Body Acceptance” workshop week to help students rid themselves of “fatphobia.”

The Women and Gender Advocacy Center at Colorado State University hosted a “Body Acceptance” week at the end of February. The week consisted of several workshops designed to promote body acceptance and the end of “fatphobia,” or the dislike of overweight people.

The program featured several events centered around the theme of “Body Acceptance.” Colorado State University graduate student Kodi Phelps offered a 90-minute presentation entitled “Does This Oppression Make Me Look Fat?” on the social influences that change how people view overweight people.

Phelps asked those in attendance to participate in an exercise called the “Thin Privilege Knapsack,” in which thin attendees were asked check off difficult scenarios that they hadn’t faced because of their slim figures.

Phelps told her audience to look for “fatphobia” manifesting in different forms. “It’s different by culture, it’s different by location and the people you grow up around,” Phelps said. “(Fatphobia) is going to all look different depending on who you are and the identities that you have.”

“Body Acceptance” week was such a success at Colorado State University that the Women and Gender Advocacy Center has already begun work on next year’s event.

“It’s starting to be a tradition at CSU,” Angelica Murray, a program coordinator for the WGAC, said of the event. “There are several offices at the University that come together every year to think through what are some educational opportunities we can offer to students on the various issues that may be impacting students as they relate to their bodies.”

Carl Olsen, a workshop presenter who focused on issues relating to men, stressed that being a man in America is pretty easy.

“Being a man is pretty easy in this particular country, but it’s a different kind of tough for men to really think about and engage in this conversation,” Olsen said. “The conversation is different when men initiate it, when we actually truly care about the way we think about ourselves.”

Just last week, a guest speaker at Johns Hopkins University argued that humans can be healthy at any body weight.

On social media last week, Danish comedian Sofie Hagen complained that a cancer research organization had published an advertisement that highlighted the link between obesity and cancer.


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