HealthZette

Princeton Promotes ‘Fat-Positive’ Campus Event

As part of a larger social justice agenda, Ivy League university offers dinner and discussion event around body size and image

At Princeton University’s Women’s Center this Thursday, “fat identified” students will meet for dinner and discussion in an “accepting and supportive environment,” the event’s webpage states.

The topics slated for discussion include fat-positive programming ideas for the spring semester.

“The goal of the event is to have a conversation with students to discuss potential future programming focused on body size and body image,” said Jordan Dixon, program coordinator for the Princeton Women’s Center.

Dixon indicated that student interest will help determine whether the dinner will be offered on an ongoing basis. “At this point, we are unsure whether it will be a one-time or recurring event,” she said in an email to LifeZette.

Dixon describes her role at Princeton on the group’s webpage: “I develop a calendar of extracurricular programming to empower, challenge, support and inspire students around topics of feminism, gender equity, intersectionality, and social justice more broadly.”

Social media-based response to the event has been mixed. Some people, sadly, were markedly cruel, while some expressed concern and criticized the advisability of an event that may promote obesity.

Predictably, a number of people also poked good-natured fun at the idea of the event being food-centric — it is a dinner, after all, and these are presumably hungry and/or broke college students who are characteristically on the lookout for events that offer food.

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In Campus Reform’s coverage of the article, one commenter posted: “FAT IS NOT NECESSARILY UGLY, it can be SEXY too.”

It’s also important to note that the obesity epidemic in this country is taxing our health care system to its limits.

Obesity-related illnesses kill countless Americans, and right now, nothing seems to be stemming the tide.

Accepting, respecting, and loving individuals of every size is, of course, laudable. No one, regardless of body size, deserves hatred or cruelty. There is an important distinction, though, between accepting a person and condoning behavior that may be killing them.

Related: When a Little Baby Fat Is … Too Much

One hopes that at Princeton’s dinner and discussion event, people will avoid the temptation to be so “fat positive” that students are encouraged to carry on with their potentially lethal behaviors — eating too much, exercising too little — rather than tackling those behaviors head-on in a smart, educated way.

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

(photo credit, homepage image: Grad College, CC BY 2.0, by Joe Shlabotnik; photo credit, article image: School Nassau Hall New Jersey Princeton University, CC 0, by Max Pixel)