Thinly Veiled Oppression: Anti-Fat Bias and the Need for Revolution in Therapeutic Practice

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Napier, Jennifer
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The oppression of fat bodies has been insidious in its harm to women's mental health since the 19th century. Systemic body-based oppression is expressed through, and upheld by, the complicity and bias enacted by the health industry and psychotherapeutic tenets. This paper explores the racist roots of anti-fatness and the violence and control levied against fat women. Language is examined, exposing the origins of slurs commonly used such as 'obese,' and giving voice to individual identities. The experiences of fat women in healthcare are shared through an investigation of the medical industrial complex and the long-standing history of bias in psychology. Current approaches including health at every size, weight neutrality, and queering therapy are analyzed with a fat liberationist lens. Resources are then offered in response to this research, including social justice-based steps for counsellors based on the radical resistance of fat activists to revolutionize care and clinical implications for work with fat clients.
anti-oppression , anti-fat , fat liberation , body-based oppression , body image
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess