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Talking Fat: Health vs. Persuasion in the War on Our Bodies

Talking Fat Health vs. Persuasion in the War on Our BodiesTalking Fat: Health vs. Persuasion in the War on Our Bodies
by Lonie McMichael Ph.D.

August 2012

Original trade paperback ISBN 9781597190633 160 pp $18.95  | Adobe PDF, EPUB & Mobipocket Ebook ISBN 9781597190640 $5.99

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Also by Lonie McMichael, Ph.D.

Acceptable Prejudice? Fat, Rhetoric and Social Justice

Fat is bad, right? Well, no, being fat in and of itself is not bad. However, for the last decade we have been so inundated with negative messages about fat that it is revolutionary to think otherwise. These messages, this rhetoric, though not succeeding in making our society thinner or healthier, have been a resounding success in making us believe that fat is a Very Bad Thing and that fat people are Very Bad People. The rhetoric of the “war on obesity” has only succeeded in increasing prejudice and decreasing health in the very people targeted for “help” while increasing profits for those perpetuating such rhetoric.

In this book, Dr. McMichael examines the rhetorical success of the current “obesity” propaganda while considering its absolute failure to make people thinner or to make a difference in the health of the American people. Considering empirical studies and statistics as well as the actual experience of fat people, McMichael asserts that the “obesity epidemic” is about many things—prejudice, profit, control, etc., but it is not about health. Arguing that our current paradigm is only hurting our society and the individuals within it, McMichael calls for a change in policy and perspective on fat in American society.

PRAISE for Talking Fat

“Prejudice based on weight can act like a Gordian knot: loosen one part of the mess and other strands of belief pull tighter. Lonie McMichael’s brilliant analysis cuts through the conundrum. This book’s big-picture view of weight-centrism as both a rhetorical success and a real-world failure will be endlessly useful to me as a fat activist and a person who wants to live healthily and happily in my very own body.”

Marilyn Wann
author of Fat!So?

Talking Fat Health vs. Persuasion in the War on Our Bodies

“McMichael provides a thorough and compelling expose of the prejudice that underlies obesity rhetoric and a compassionate, tenable solution. This book may make you angry, but it will also give you hope.”

Linda Bacon, Ph.D.
author of
Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight

Talking Fat Health vs. Persuasion in the War on Our Bodies research quote

“Words are the building blocks of our lives. The war on fat people that has been waged for
the past two decades has been a war of words. Dr. McMichael writes eloquently and critically about those fighting words, helping the reader understand what power structures lie behind our most commonly accepted concepts.
 If we do not understand the how and the why behind speech, we may never know truth. But when we trace the history of discourses, we open up possibilities of making a better place through better conversations. Talking Fat is just that conversation starter.”

Pattie Thomas, Ph.D.
author of
Taking Up Space

Talking Fat Health vs Persuasion in the War on Our Bodies health quote

“Dr. McMichael does a wonderful job of explaining the difference between the way fat is talked about and the reality of fat’s effect on health. This is a must read for fat folks, health practitioners and anyone concerned with fair and equal treatment for all people.

Golda Poretsky, HHC
author of
Stop Dieting Now: 25 Reasons To Stop, 25 Ways To Heal

Talking Fat Health vs Persuasion in the War on Our Bodies statistics quote

“…McMichael’s original contribution to the field, her rhetorical analysis,
will be of interest to established scholars and activists seeking critical tools
to fight the medicalization of fat
….Given the authority that medicine
and scientific research hold in contemporary Western society and their influence
on understandings of bodies in particular, rhetorical analysis is an important tool
for anyone interested in the construction of contemporary embodiment
and especially for emancipatory projects such as the SA movement.”

Megan Dean

University of King’s College, Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA
Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight & Society, Vol 2, issue 2, 2013

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