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The New Guard

‘Fat’ Photography Show at Boston University Complains That Chairs Are Too Small

By

Corey Walker

March 1, 2024

Boston University has rolled out a new photography show to display the life experiences of college students who “identify as fat”, according to a report by BU Today. 

Room to Live, a series of iPhone photos, shares the “stories” of fat students through pictures of hallways, chairs, and official campus clothing. These seemingly-mundane photos of campus apparently have a deeper meaning for the students, tapping their internal feelings of “discomfort, exclusion, and humiliation.” 

“I hate these desks. They’re in multiple classrooms on campus,” one caption read, according to BU Today “I had been in that classroom multiple times for different classes and…the desk itself would cut into my stomach, so I couldn’t really sit there comfortably the whole hour.”

The captions also explain the feeling of isolation caused by living in a society which is not built for fat people. 

“I’ve had this happen multiple times where chairs like this have been the only seating option…” the caption reads, per the outlet,  “And it’s like, okay, it’s kind of ironic that we’re in this training to learn how to be inclusive and accessible to people who are in the LGBTQIA+ community, and here I am, I can’t sit in this chair.”

Room to Live exists as an offshoot of “Fat on Campus,” an academic research effort to “explore and understand the experiences of fat students on college and university campuses.” Terah J. Stewart, a higher education and student affairs professor from Iowa State University, masterminded the effort. 

“Our whole team, minus our grad assistant, identifies as fat folks, and we’ve had to do our own self-work during this process,” says Roshaunda Breeden, an assistant education professor at East Carolina University to the outlet, “his has been a five-plus-year journey with lots of buildup, lots of time to think, and lots of opportunities for us to unpack our own fatphobia and decisions we’ve made that put us where we are today.”

Nick Bates, the director of the Howard Thurman Center, the facility that hosts the photography show, says he believes the exhibit will create a sense of belonging for overweight students. 

In this exhibition, we speak to our space as one where everybody’s human existence is validated and nurtured,” Bates claims to BU Today, “To do so, we have to think about the multiplicity of identities, and [fatphobia] was an area that I felt like our university does not often discuss publicly, at least not in some of the channels and spaces that we’re used to.”

Breeden expressed hope that programs such as Room to Live will cause the private sector to consider body size as a form of diversity in the same vein as race. 

“If we’re not doing it here, in higher education, we know it’s not happening in business. We know it’s not happening in STEM,” Breeden said to BU Today, “If we can conquer this idea of fatness being a moral issue and have some real conversations with folks, I think we really have an opportunity to change some hearts and minds.”

For some reason, the Left is trying to push obesity in academia. Last week, the New Guard broke news of the University of Iowa’s invitation of a “fat activist” to speak out against the free market.

 


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