Friday, 1 December 2006

On the re-definition of a commonly-used term

So, there’s the concept of body fascism. We all know what body fascists do. They oppress the fat man and the fat woman on account of their corpulence. The fat person is the victim, here, the body fascist the deplorable one. This is to read ‘fascism’ (loosely, of course, but comprehensibly) as trope for ‘systematic or oppressive cruelty’ on an individual level. But there are other perspectives.

So, imagine a world in which some nations so effectively hoard and consume food that they become, on a large scale, morbidly obese; whilst other nations have such a precarious supply of basic sustenance that major international organisations such as the Famine Early Warning Systems Network are necessary mechanisms to bellweather the phenomenon. These people over here have the power, the money, and therefore the food, and they are fat. Those people over there lack those three things and are thin, or are dying. Now: who’s the victim, and who the body-fascist, in such a world?

See, that’s what I hate about the way that term gets used.

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