Quick Quote: Fat as Contemporary Sin?

Interesting quote from Sacred Stacks by Nancy Kalikow Maxwell:

Redefined Contemporary Sins

“We no longer worry about saving our eternal souls. Rather, generalized anxiety about obesity, health, love and money bedevil us today. The American obsession with fat is a prime example of the conflagration of consumer culture, therapeutic remedies, and re-imagined sin.  Fat has been demonized, claims Dinitia Smith in a New York Times article. Historians and cultural critics are beginning to see that the American obsession with obesity is based less on science and more on morality. We feel guilty about the abundance of food and excesses of our consumer culture. Some social critics claim dieting fads are a new kind of puritanism, with dieting becoming a way to express virtue and self-control.” (Page 65)

Interesting, eh?  Guilt-induced dieting.  Sounds a LOT like…oh… ANY sort of dieting.  Any thoughts to add on this lovely Wednesday?

ETA: Here’s the link to the NYTs article mentioned.

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8 thoughts on “Quick Quote: Fat as Contemporary Sin?

  1. Not a new concept in the fat-o-sphere, but certainly a new concept in such a mainstream publication as the NYT. I’m happy that the concept is gaining more widespread attention. Do you have a link to the original article? I’d like to see it in context.

    • Mulberry the book I referenced was a few years old and the NYT quote comes from 2004 but yeah; apparently fat shaming been going on since about the 1890s at least… Not a new phenomenon.

  2. It’s all of a piece with the morality of food – certain foods are “good” and certain foods are “bad”, therefore if you eat more of the “good” foods, you’re a better, moral, more “healthy” person, and if you eat more of the “bad” foods, you’re a terrible, immoral, “unhealthy” person. And your “morality” is shown by your weight – if you’re thin, you’re obviously moral, and if you’re fat, you’re immoral as hell and the only way to improve your morality is to diet so you, too, can attain that morally superior thin body (and those Christian diets take it miles farther along the road to morality).

    • Vesta I think the key that you mention is that pinning size as a reflection of sin means we have VISIBLE PROOF of who is “good” and who is “bad”. Humans seem to want to be able to very simply dichotomize the world around them in this manner and putting the onus of proof of sin onto a person’s body gives those who judge this sense of superiority for KNOWING you must be a “sinner” if you have a non-thin body. Quite a mind-fuck!

  3. Pingback: Ages 4-8? Sure, heap on the fat hate. Never too young! « I AM in shape. ROUND is a shape.

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