"But you've got so much potential!"
Fat bodies, pedagogy, and the punitive demand of potential
Through creative small group activities with several fat activists and scholars, this dialogue project will address the positioning of fat bodies in relation to the punitive demands of ‘potential’.
In addition to the affirmative promise of possibilities not yet imagined, potential holds within it a disciplinary command associated with failure and non-fulfilment. This deficiency is, of course, entirely dependent on the values upon which ‘success‘ or ‘achievement‘ is based. Within the global context of the ‘Obesity Epidemic’, fat bodies possess complex and contradictory potentials: potential health complications and potential threats to the planet through their excessive consumption and carbon emissions, but most of all the potential to become thin.
What does it mean to position fatness as the failure it is so ubiquitously considered in the developed Western cultural climate? What potentials and possibilities are closed down by directing fat bodies only towards achieving their ideal state of slenderness?