August 3rd, 2013

A Purple Straw Hat

_What's Wrong with Fat?_, Abigail C. Saguy

I've been meaning to post a review since I read this, and I keep not getting around to it, which is terrible, because it is fantastic. Saguy's approach is "framing": how is fat discussed, and what are the implications of those frames. So, obesity is a medical frame and she explores how that shapes debate and the kinds of actions that are contemplated next. She also discusses older frames (lazy/gluttony as an indicator of moral depravity/bad character) and alternative frames currently (healthy/fit at every size).

Very little in this book is new to me, nor are the ways that the pieces assembled all that new to me. But it's _really good_, and the approach avoids all of the activist screechiness that I sometimes find off-putting, even when I agree. Saguy is also very careful with what she says and how she presents her sources, thus no irritating "but that's not really true" in my brain while reading it.

It's not long, especially if you just read the main text -- the back matter is a substantial fraction of the book. I highly recommend it; she's an academic that can actually write, which is all by itself a rare and beautiful thing.