There's an interesting-looking new academic book on the social meanings of obesity set to come out November 4, 2009--The Fat Studies Reader, edited by Esther Rothblum, of San Diego State University; and Sondra Solovay, author of a book that looks even more interesting--Tipping the Scales of Justice: Fighting Weight Based Discrimination.
Here's the product description from Amazon.com:
We have all seen the segments on television news shows: A fat person walking on the sidewalk, her face out of frame so she can't be identified, as some disconcerting findings about the "obesity epidemic" stalking the nation are read by a disembodied voice. And we have seen the movies—their obvious lack of large leading actors silently speaking volumes. From the government, health industry, diet industry, news media, and popular culture we hear that we should all be focused on our weight. But is this national obsession with weight and thinness good for us? Or is it just another form of prejudice—one with especially dire consequences for many already disenfranchised groups?
For decades a growing cadre of scholars has been examining the role of body weight in society, critiquing the underlying assumptions, prejudices, and effects of how people perceive and relate to fatness. This burgeoning movement, known as fat studies, includes scholars from every field, as well as activists, artists, and intellectuals. The Fat Studies Reader is a milestone achievement, bringing together fifty-three diverse voices to explore a wide range of topics related to body weight. From the historical construction of fatness to public health policy, from job discrimination to social class disparities, from chick-lit to airline seats, this collection covers it all.
Edited by two leaders in the field, The Fat Studies Reader is an invaluable resource that provides a historical overview of fat studies, an in-depth examination of the movement’s fundamental concerns, and an up-to-date look at its innovative research.
I can't endorse the book, as I haven't read it and am not familiar with this field of literature. But I may pick it up at some point. I'm more likely to pick up Tipping the Scales of Justice, though!