Stigma against fat people becoming globalMarch 29th, 2011 - 1:46 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, March 29 (IANS) Unlike in the US, fat people have not necessarily been seen in poor light in other parts of the world. But now the stigma against overweight people is becoming a cultural norm around the world, even in places where larger bodies have traditionally been valued.
Researchers surveyed people in nine diverse locations around the world and found negative attitudes toward fat bodies in everyone.
The results suggest a rapid “globalization of fat stigma” in which overweight people are increasingly viewed as ugly, undesirable, lazy or lacking in self-control, the researchers say, the journal Current Anthropology reports.
In the US, slim bodies have been idealised and fat ones stigmatized for several decades. But that has not been true of the rest of the world, says study co-author Alexandra Brewis, biological anthropologist from Arizona State.
“Previously, a wide range of ethnographic studies have shown that many human societies preferred larger, plumper bodies,” Brewis said. “Plump bodies represented success, generosity, fertility, wealth, and beauty.”
But those fat positive values are quickly giving way to a more negative Western way of looking at obesity, such as symbolizing personal failing, according to an Arizona statement.
The researchers surveyed people in Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, the US, and Britain. Also included were American Samoa, Puerto Rico and Tanzania - cultures that have traditionally been thought of as fat positive.
People were asked if they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about body size. Some statements were fat negative (”Fat people are lazy”), others were fat positive (”A big woman is a beautiful woman”).
The responses across these diverse cultures were largely congruent with Western attitudes, the researchers found.
-Indo-Asian News Service
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