Acceptance and acknowledgement: obesity and the discrimination against obese people analyzed from an interdisciplinary perspective. Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology and Foucault's genealogy as an explanatory framework

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Despite various governmental measures and health campaigns the prevalence of obesity has been rising. Much focus has been on the medical aspects of obesity; however, little attention has been directed to the aspects of social justice concerning obesity. I will argue that we need an interdisciplinary approach to obesity if we want to evaluate obesity from a social justice perspective. By using both the phenomenology of the body developed by Merleau-Ponty (2002) and the genealogy of power structures developed by Foucault (1977), I examine obesity in a way that goes beyond the medical discourse about obesity. I will argue that obesity has to be understood by the unequal structures in the environment and by the power structures that produce our understanding of obesity. Furthermore, I will argue that we need to acknowledge the discrimination experienced by obese people and accept the obese body. However, we should not accept obesity as such, the government needs to prevent obesity. I will conclude that there will be a tension between on the one hand letting people live the good life and on the other hand caring for the health of the community by preventing obesity.
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