Fighting fat sterotypes

Dr Cat Pausé is holding a conference that will discuss fat stereotypes.
Dr Cat Pausé is holding a conference that will discuss fat stereotypes.

Battling the bulge is not a problem faced by Palmerston North fat activist Cat Pausé, who is proud and happy with how she looks, but she does have an issue living in a world that she believes hates fat people.

The American-born Dr Pausé, a human development lecturer at Massey University's Palmerston North campus, is this week  helping host the first New Zealand Fat Studies conference in Wellington.

The conference would challenge the stereotypes and assumptions society places on fatness and fat people, she said.

"It will help us to take another step forward in how we're talking about fat in this country.''

Speakers will discuss topics such as fat pride, obesity panic, unfixing body size and shapes and teaching people about fitness and fatness.

Dr Pausé is passionate about breaking down "anti-fat attitudes'' and the negative connotations associated with fat people.

The conference will allow her to do this with scholars from around the world.

"We'll talk about health and wellbeing of fat people and part of that is what it is like to live in a world that openly hates you.

"People always talk about the obesity epidemic, but what they mean is getting rid of me.''

Dr Pausé said discrimination and prejudice were faced by fat people all the time.

"Fat people deserve the same rights as non-fat people and I'm going to fight for that.''

Dr Pausé attended her first southern hemisphere Fat Studies conference in Sydney in 2010 and was linspired to bring the concept to New Zealand.

She said it was great to be around people who were interested in fat studies and who did not think she was crazy.

The conference goes for two days and is this year's only Fat Studies conference in the world.

Manawatu Standard