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Anti-fat Attitudes Introduction Our society has a very negative view of overweight and obesity They tell us that being fat is an extremely unattractive and undesirable way to be and is a state to be avoided at all cost This hostility towards fatness has been compared to other common social prejudices and the striking conclusion drawn is that anti-fat attitudes are currently at the stage that racism was some fifty years ago namely that anti-fat attitudes are overt expressible and widely held Crandall 1994 More negative characteristics are associated with being fat than nearly any other stigma Allon 1982 as cited in Crandall Biernat 1990 An anti-fat attitude or fatism can be defined as a stereotype prejudice or discrimination based solely on an individuals perceived membership in a specific social group Understanding the research that has uncovered the anti-fat sentiments that are held in our society is extremely important as this provides some glimmer of insight into both the origin of the problem and possible means of eradication Anti-fat biases are entrenched within our society and therefore delving to the roots of their origin is a daunting task Studies repeatedly indicate the pervasive nature of this issue and reveal the negativity that is closely associated with these perceptions Interestingly studies indicate a definitive unconscious component to anti-fat biases which serves to complicate the issue even further Constructs of obesity Stereotyping Anti-fat Attitudes Understanding how society expresses biases against obese individuals requires an understanding of the constructs of anti-fat attitudes In other words what is the basis of such biases What is it about our society that creates these impressions and opinions in the first place It is important to understand that the degree to which issues of physical appearance are engraved in our society is indeed significant Images media arts music advertising culture and so many other factors collide in terms of creating the belief system of society regarding physical appearance
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