Event Title

‘Why Are They Such Huge Losers?’: Popular Conventions of Personal Blame OvershadowImportant Environmental Factors of Obesity

Presenter Information

Andy Thompson, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center A154

Start Date

10-2-2015 4:30 PM

End Date

10-2-2015 5:50 PM

Abstract

Research has suggested that people in western cultures, especially the U.S. prefer to emphasize personal responsibility when considering cause for obesity and weight loss programs. As pervasive and inspiring as the belief in personal ability and the absence of obstacles is, it also, contributes to deficits in empathy for those who are considered obese. Without empathy and an adequate appreciation for the very real obstacles to health, which many Americans face, how can we begin to challenge the status quo and fight for a healthier environment for ourselves and posterity? Keeping this incongruity in mind, how does our media’s representation of obesity (and the obese) encourage toxic narratives by over-emphasizing personal blame while neglecting to acknowledge the impact of environmental influences? An analysis of NBC’s The Biggest Loser begins to recognize and understand the nature of implicit attributions of blame, which go largely undisputed in our everyday discussions about health and wellness while determining the way we consider obesity and health.

Notes

Session III, Panel 5 - VIOLENCE: Perception & Reception

Major

Psychology

Award

Oberlin College Research Fellowship (OCRF)

Project Mentor(s)

Paul Thibodeau, Psychology

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Oct 2nd, 4:30 PM Oct 2nd, 5:50 PM

‘Why Are They Such Huge Losers?’: Popular Conventions of Personal Blame OvershadowImportant Environmental Factors of Obesity

Science Center A154

Research has suggested that people in western cultures, especially the U.S. prefer to emphasize personal responsibility when considering cause for obesity and weight loss programs. As pervasive and inspiring as the belief in personal ability and the absence of obstacles is, it also, contributes to deficits in empathy for those who are considered obese. Without empathy and an adequate appreciation for the very real obstacles to health, which many Americans face, how can we begin to challenge the status quo and fight for a healthier environment for ourselves and posterity? Keeping this incongruity in mind, how does our media’s representation of obesity (and the obese) encourage toxic narratives by over-emphasizing personal blame while neglecting to acknowledge the impact of environmental influences? An analysis of NBC’s The Biggest Loser begins to recognize and understand the nature of implicit attributions of blame, which go largely undisputed in our everyday discussions about health and wellness while determining the way we consider obesity and health.