26 September 2011

Research: dream Fat Studies projects

When I was a teenager I had a pen pal called Phil who sent me cassettes of things he liked and which I ended up liking too. One of these things was a home-taped copy of Jello Biafra's prankish spoken word album No More Cocoons. I haven't heard it in years but could probably still recite most of it by heart. In one of the sequences Biafra talks about collecting names for bands so, say you've got a great band but you can't think of a name, you can get one from Jello because he's got more than he can use. Perhaps there are bands out there somewhere that he named: Republican Buttocks, The Imperial Turdsicles, was there Facelift In A Jar too? Maybe I just imagined it.

In a similar vein, I seem to harbour more ideas for fat studies research than I could ever handle myself. I thought I'd offer a list of fantasy research projects that I'd love to see come to fruition. I'm thinking of stuff like...
  • A case study of Aardman Animations' involvement with Change4Life.
  • A critical review of weight loss corporations' appropriation of fat politics and Health At Every Size concepts and praxis.
  • A critical review of body image research methodology.
  • A qualitative study of normatively-sized researchers allied to Fat Studies who avoid using the word 'fat' in their work.
  • A quantitative study about why corporations fund weight loss industry research, with beautiful pie charts and scatterplots and other exciting infographics.
  • Discourse analysis that reveals what Reubens really thought of fat women.
  • An analysis of alarmist obesity news story infographics.
  • An ethnography of normatively-sized ethnographers who do ethnographies of fat people who go to slimming clubs.
  • An oral history of people who wear fat suits.
  • A case study of LighterLife's ethics.
  • An ethnography of normatively-sized ethnographers who do ethnographies of fat people who go to NAAFA conventions.
  • A quantitative study of all the places that have been described as 'The Fattest Country,' 'The Fattest City,' or 'The Fattest Place' on Earth.
  • A critical gender and race analysis of Two Tons of Fun and The Fat Boys.
  • Any kind of research whatsoever by non-Western fat studies scholars about anywhere that isn't the US, Canada, the UK, or Australia.
  • Any kind of research whatsoever by fat disabled people about fat and disability.
  • Discourse analysis of anonymous fat blob sculptures and other forms of obesity art.
  • Longitudinal studies on the effects of dieting on various groups of people across a number of variables and not just BMI, that take their social contexts into account, and which are not funded or researched by anyone with any connection whatsoever to commercial weight loss organisations.
  • A qualitative study of fat people and their tattoos.
  • Psychological profiles of Tam Fry, Susie Orbach, David Haslam, Jamie Oliver.
  • Qualitative research about fat activist community capitalism.
  • Research essays about the use of fatphobia in political cartoons, or an illustrated essay about heroic fat cartoon characters from the golden age of comics.
Wanna take one on? Be my guest and send me the results to cite. Got fantasy research projects of your own? Stick 'em in the comments please.

Thanks to Simon Murphy and Kay Hyatt for helping with this list.


O.C. said...

A public health study measuring the health effects of delayed medical treatment of fat people, either because they delayed seeking treatment because they didn't want to be badgered by doctors about their fat, or because doctors delayed treatment while requiring weight loss, compared to the health effects of the fat itself.

Charlotte Cooper said...


Нина said...

"A qualitative study of fat people and their tattoos"

On my mind too.