Opinion | Sexuality

Obese and Beautiful

As the West exports its fat stigma to developing countries, the church might export its welcome embrace to those on all ends of the body mass index.

The New York Times recently reported that the West is exporting its ideals of beauty and body size to developing nations, including our stigma against overweight people. We are, it is said, globalizing the "fat stigma." It appears that our prejudices have so proliferated that they're even infecting those societies that traditionally preferred larger bodies, such as Puerto Rico and Samoa. And our notions aren't just affecting women; increasingly more and more men are suffering from a negative body image or what some have called "body image distress." The term manorexia has arrived in our vocabulary.

These reports turn my thoughts toward Sandra,* one of our family's dearest friends. Together, she and her husband Matthew* were hospitality incarnate. Their home was open to myriads of people. From kids in our youth group to church folk, from grad student jazz musicians who endlessly wailed on the piano and other instruments through ungodly hours of the night, to their peers, to neighborhood ...

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