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'Fat Sex Therapist' declares science that says overweight people are unhealthy is akin to 'Nazi science'

'Nazis really love this idea of an idealized body'

Image source: St. Olaf College video screenshot

Sonalee Rashatwar calls herself "The Fat Sex Therapist," and she declared to an audience at St. Olaf College in Minnesota last week that science and medicine that insists overweight people are unhealthy is akin to "Nazi science."

"Nazis really love this idea of an idealized body," Rashatwar said during her lecture titled, "Race as Body Image Issue."

What else did she say?

Rashatwar — who identifies as "nonbinary" and "queer" — railed against "diet culture" and "fat phobia" and "size-ism" and "weight bias" and "body-image abuse" and a "rich thin ideal," tying it all to white supremacy, capitalism, classism, and even a "police state" that engages in "social control."

She added that when she was 8, 9, and 10 years of age she was subjected to "non-consensual diets" and told not losing weight might cost her career advancement, the interest of a "male partner," and the possibility others would view her as "lazy." Rashatwar acknowledged that such warnings weren't without merit, but she then concluded, "So what?"

Image source: St. Olaf College video screenshot

"I truly believe that a child cannot consent to being on a diet the same way a child cannot consent to having sex," she added, noting the she endured a "constant state of surveillance" as a kid.

Rashatwar also said that intentional weight loss is "scientifically" impossible, that she "inherited" her body, and that an attempt to lose would be akin to "defy[ing] my biology."

She added that "thinness doesn't mean health," noting she doesn't use words like "obesity" and "overweight" because doing so "hypermedicalizes our understanding of fat."

Rashatwar also argued that "all food has nutritional value" and OK to eat unless it's "poisonous" — and that one even can be allergic to certain foods and eat them. Rashatwar also said those who eat "good foods" are viewed as "good people," and those who don't eat "clean" foods are viewed as "dirty."

She also implied that it's wrong to make health the responsibility of each individual, saying such thinking is a product of the 1980s and the policies touted by former President Ronald Reagan. Instead, Rashatwar said there should be "social supports that also help me to subsidize my food costs."

'Nazi' comparisons

Rashatwar also said that "fat phobic science" is often "eugenic science" and that "eugenic science is Nazi science."

Underscoring her point, she actually brought up the individual responsible for the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand, noting that she finds it unsurprising that he "was also a fitness instructor."

Acknowledging the tension in the room, Rashatwar doubled down and said it's "a clear communication that there's still an idealized body. Nazis really love this idea of an idealized body, and so it makes a lot of sense to me that a fitness instructor ... might also think about an idealized body in this thin, white supremacist way."

Image source: St. Olaf College video screenshot

She also said that listeners "cannot after leaving this room continue to call yourself progressive" or "leftist" or "radical" or "Marxist" or "communist" or "socialist" or "anarchist and still hold on to fat phobic values."

What did one student have to say?

After the lecture, a St. Olaf freshman, who's lost over 100 pounds, told Campus Reform he was disturbed by Rashatwar's claims.

"The entire speech was very troubling to me," Will Douty told the outlet. "I know from personal experience that health is absolutely connected with weight ... when you decide to give up and claim that doctors are lying to you, and you're perfect the way you are, all you truly end up with is repressed emotions and an early funeral ... I can guarantee that maintaining healthy eating habits will help me live a much longer and healthier life than I was originally on track to have. Your life can only improve if you take responsibility for yourself."

Campus Reform said it reached out to St. Olaf College regarding Rashatwar's claims but didn't receive a response in time for publication.

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