Fat people 'deserve rights and dignity' - activist

A conference to challenge assumptions about fat people will be the first of its kind in the country when it kicks off in Wellington tomorrow.

The Fat Studies conference will discuss fat pride, children's lessons in fitness and fatness, weight anxiety, the obesity panic and "unfixing" body size and shape.

Massey University human development lecturer Cat Pause said stereotypes and stigma were placed on the fat body, but the relationship between weight and health was more complicated than people thought.

The conference, as well as the field of Fat Studies, challenged existing assumptions about fatness and fat people, she said.

"As a fat activist and a fat scholar I want to change the national discourse on fatness and hopefully this conference will take another step in that direction.

"Fat people deserve the same rights and dignity as non-fat people, which we currently do not have."

"This is the first New Zealand Fat Studies conference, and it's the only one of its kind happening in the world this year."

Speakers include Dr Andrew Dickson (Massey University), Dr Robyn Longhurst (University of Waikato), and Dr Annemarie Jutel (Victoria University of Wellington) and Dr Samantha Murray (Macquarie University).

The conference will be held at Massey University's Wellington campus tomorrow and Friday.


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