Am I Fat?

If you have ever been called fat, then most likely you have probably felt insulted or maybe even hurt. To most of us, being called fat implies that we are lazy, shy or unattractive. No one wants to be seen this way because it carries these types of negative connotations which results in lowering a person’s self-esteem. However, Samoans find this to be the contrary.

Anthropologist Jessica Hardin, the writer of “Rethinking Fat” explores the phenomenon behind this notion in Samoa (Samoa being one of the “world’s fattest nation”), while also studying the relationship between health/body image and perceptions from religious denominations such as Christian Evangelism. While studying religion and fat, she found an interesting discovery. She became aware that Samoan pastors judge each other based on how well their religious practices are taught.

She found that fat Evangelical Christian pastors are well-respected when their teachings and practices are good. They are seen to have more power, strength and wealth. Mana (sacred power) is the appropriate term that describes these characteristics. Although being fat is considered to be positive in most cases, criticisms are being made nonetheless. If a pastor’s practices are poor then he is fat and weak. But if they are good then he is considered to be fat and strong.

To most of us, this is out of the ordinary because we do not normally judge a person’s weight based on their beliefs, values or practices. In my opinion, it is an interesting topic that is definitely worthy of being discussed more about.








3 thoughts on “Am I Fat?

  1. I felt your article was well written in terms of how the Samoan population reacts to “fat.” I like the idea of introducing the Western standard of “fat” and then transitioning into the Samoan standard using the article. It really solidifies the idea of “rethinking fat” because we tend to only see things the way our culture sees them. I think that it was overall a good piece but the comparison between the two views of fat could have been stronger.

  2. The contrasting observations between Samoan and Western society in terms of weight and perception were interesting. It is interesting that Samoa- being described as one of “the world’s fattest nations”- perceives weight in a different light as compared to Western societies who tend to view weight as almost shameful. The defining “fat and strong” vs. “Fat and weak” could have been a bit clearer, but otherwise this article was very concise and thought provoking

  3. I think that this article was very intriguing because it took what we know to be normal and familiar, and made it unfamiliar. It was neat getting to see that there are countries where being fat is seen as positive. Great post!

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