Wednesday 19 March 2014

Normalising Fat Discrimination - The Role of New Zealand News Media

New Zealand's concern over an 'obesity epidemic' has resulted in overweight bodies being linked to a biomedical model of disease. This post discusses some of the issues from Tayla's Honours thesis in which she argued that cultural and social forces of morality and medical discourses shape how New Zealand society perceive overweight individuals. 

Not long ago, I overheard a five year old call a woman fat. She didn't mean it as an insult; it was simply her way of describing the appearance of someone. “No, not that lady, the fat one” she said. And that isn't her fault - no five year old is aware of the consequences of calling someone fat, nowadays it’s just so perfectly normal to categorize people based on their weight, and because it’s so normal to categorize people based on size, it has also become so perfectly acceptable to discriminate against overweight people. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, in fact it took me a whole year of research and a 10,000 word dissertation to discuss only a mere few reasons why discrimination against fat people is so common in Western society. What I have come to realise, however, is that discrimination against overweight people is so normalised because it’s so embedded in public health promotion. And one of the ways in which this public health promotion reaches the general public, and what this post discusses, is through the use of the media.

American Evolutionary Psychologist Geoffery Miller's scandalous tweet exemplifies how individuals think it is acceptable to discriminate against size.   

Statistics in New Zealand News Media

News media, and mass-produced popular media such as television, advertising and visual imagery act as one medium in which we view overweight individuals.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Student Debt and Activism in New Zealand

This post was taken from Hollie's Honours research thesis and has also been posted on the Savage Minds blog. 
"University students blocked Auckland's Symonds Street as they protested against the Budget" 2012, from

In New Zealand, student debt is a pervasive and powerful feature of student life. Neoliberal user-pay ideologies led to the introduction of tuition fees in 1989 and the formation of the Student Loan Scheme in 1992. Through the scheme many New Zealand students have become increasingly indebted to the government in the form of financial loans. As of June 2012, 701,000 people had a student loan with Inland Revenue and the nominal value of loan balances was almost $13 billion (MoE 2012). My own loan balance sits at $33,515.08 which is just above average for postgraduate students.

Sunday 16 March 2014


Kia ora,

We are the anthsisters - welcome to our blog.

We are Tarapuhi Bryers-Brown, Tayla Hancock and Hollie Russell and together we make up the Anthsisters. Although we knew of each other in undergrad it was not until our year together doing Honours in Cultural Anthropology (which we spent living in the library) that we became close friends and started referring to ourselves as the Anthsisters. This year we are doing our Masters, and decided it was the perfect time to make our blogging debut. If you want to know more about each of us check out the 'About Us' section.

The blog itself is dedicated to anything and everything anthropology and student related. Our upcoming posts include book and gallery reviews, a piece on student debt and activism, and short films on Māori health and Mexican food. Although we specialise in Cultural Anthropology we are open to discussion concerning the other branches of Anth - Linguistics, Archaeology and Biology. 

We encourage you to comment, critique, and challenge us, as long as it's constructive. While we aim to keep a high standard, in terms of style, spelling, and references please remember that our blog is aimed at young academics interested in anthropology. Essentially, feel free to comment but don't be a dick.

Thanks for visiting our blog, hope to see you back again soon.

Xoxo Anthsisters