In 2020, we’re not only treated to being virtual prisoners, but to cultural academic pseudosciences being funneled through every media outlet.
Here’s CBS with dieting is racist.
Perched on a couch, Sabrina Strings relates the story of a conversation she had with her grandmother.
“My grandmother is a Black woman from the South, grew up during Jim Crow, and for her, being able to eat regularly was a triumph. One time she told me that she got a basket of oranges one Christmas and it was one of her happiest memories,” she recalled. “But when she decided to move to California in 1960, as a lot of Black people were doing at the time … she encountered for the first time a lot of White women in her integrated community who were on diets, and she was like, ‘What? Why are White women on diets?’ This was something that she puzzled over for years, because no one could really provide her a satisfactory answer.”
Sure, you could accept that different cultures do things differently. Or view them as “other” and explain their behavior as a threat to your existence.
Since we’re in the Black Lives Matter era, you can guess which course Strings took.
It was her grandmother’s stories like this one that inspired Strings, who is now a sociology professor at the University of California, Irvine, to pursue research on the history of fat-phobia — the fear of fatness due to the stigmatization of weight — in the Western world.
2. Invented term to describe a problem that doesn’t exist
This ought to be good.
Fatness wasn’t always culturally undesirable in the Western world. For centuries, being heavier was actually considered an attractive characteristic. Artists like Peter Paul Rubens and Titian famously portrayed heavier female bodies as the pinnacle of beauty in their works.
It isn’t always culturally undesirable today. Or always desirable outside the western world.
Note the lack of morbidly obese Egyptians depicted in their art.
There’s a wide range of cultural responses, but since this is modern sociology, the thesis has to be that Californians diet because they’re racist.
While the 1977 Times article considers the switch to thinness as the preferable body type to be part of “a period of revolution in both taste and politics” in the late 18th century, Strings’ research traces how that “revolution” is actually rooted in slavery and Protestantism.
“With the dawn of the slave trade, skin color was the original sorting mechanism to determine who was slave and who was free. But as you might imagine, with slavery progressing through the century, skin color became a less reliable source of sorting various populations,” Strings explained to CBSN Originals.
Ahem. Paul Rubens was Protestant.
The theory here is that in the late 18th century, it was no longer possible to tell black and white people apart, so white women started dieting?
This makes the kind of stuff that Soviet social academics pumped out about the West seem almost sane and rational.
Obviously dieting is a conspiracy against black people. By the Enlightenment! Down with the Enlightenment!
“And of course, self-control and rationality, after the Enlightenment, were characteristics that were deemed integral to Whiteness.”
Or rather characteristics that black nationalists and Marxists have decided must be destroyed in America.
Strings found that these ideas about Blackness were “synergistic” with Protestant and Christian ideals. The “Protestant ethic,” initially coined by sociologist Max Weber in 1904-1905, describes the concept of hard work and self-discipline as highly valued traits that would lead to eternal salvation. The “mortification of the flesh,” or the act of putting sins related to the body to death by abstaining from certain pleasures, is a concept common to all Christian denominations, reflected in practices like fasting or abstinence. Strings says that many of these ideas were taken up by Anglo-Saxon Protestants in the U.S. in the 19th century.
Fasting and abstinence predate the United States of America by quiet a while. The religious values that Strings is mewling about have nothing to do with slavery.
Is Strings contending that Catholics and Jews don’t diet? Or do they suffer from internalized protestantism?
“We cannot deny the fact that fat-phobia is rooted in anti-Blackness. That’s simply an historical reality,” she said.
Only in the sense that Das Kapital and Batman are historical realities. I once wrote an essay, as a joke, claiming that Dracula was about the Opium War. In my defense, I was in high school. Strings’ historical reality is on that level.
In some parts of Africa, they force feed young girls to make them fat because that’s deemed to be attractive. Are they suffering from thin-phobia? Is it a reaction to colonialism, capitalism, or freemasonry?
“Whenever people start trafficking in fat-phobia, they are inherently picking up on these historical forms of oppression.
I can’t wait until these people pick up on Idiotphobia and start connecting it to the Enlightenment.