Author Archives: Tina Sikka

Dr. Tina Sikka is a Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Newcastle University. Her research draws on critical and feminist studies of science and technology to examine climate change and health/nutrition science. She also does work in the areas of critical race theory, sexuality studies, and social theory. Her most recent book, published with Springer Press, is titled 'Climate Technology, Gender, and Justice: The Standpoint of the Vulnerable' (2019). Her forthcoming book with Edinburgh University Press, Sex, Consent and Justice: A New Feminist Framework, comes out in late 2021.
An image of coronavirus with a word cloud and a physician scale. The word cloud includes the following words: Chronic Inflammation, Comorbidities, Obesity, Independent Risk, Immune System, COVID19, Vulnerability

Covid-19, Fatness, and Risk: Medico-Media Discourses and Stigma

Contemporary English speaking media and popular medical discourses on Covid-19 have been notable in their stigmatization of fatness by implicitly and explicitly arguing that susceptibility to Covid-19 is causally increased by fatness qua fatness. This is accomplished by the assertion that a causality exists between BMI, a problematic gage on its own, and comorbidities like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and asthma. Headlines like “HEAVY BURDEN: The truth about obesity and coronavirus – from ‘crushed lungs’ to organ failure as bodies put under ‘severe strain'” (Pocklington 2020), and “Coronavirus: Obese people at greater risk of death and may stay infectious for longer” (Urwin 2020), are indicative of a media landscape that relies on ambiguous and ill-communicated science to produce clickbaity headlines that are both harmful and misleading. (read more...)