Prominence of Placement

Why is an article about an emerging trend in the scholarly realm relegated to the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times? The Times published an article Sunday entitled, "Big People on Campus". The article reports on the growing study of what it means to be fat in our society, and moreover, the topics inception into the world of academia. The article is about new courses of study in universities concerning various aspects of the issue, including stigma, prejudice, and empowerment. At no point in the article is there mention of fashion or style. There is no mention of clothing at all. This is not an article about the plus size fashion industry, difficulty finding sizes for plus sized people. Why then is this article located in the Fashion & Style section?

According to the article,

Even as science, medicine and government have defined obesity as a threat to the nation’s health and treasury, fat studies is emerging as a new interdisciplinary area of study on campuses across the country and is gaining interest in Australia and Britain. Nestled within the humanities and social sciences fields, fat studies explores the social and political consequences of being fat.

Even the language used in the article itself discusses the topic in a serious, almost academic tone. One might argue that the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times is not bound to the trivialities of similar sections of other publications. Yet I think the placement of this article detracts from the authority of the piece.

Not all articles can appear on the front page. This is not the kind of article that would warrant such placement. However, I do think that a piece discussing a new academic trend deserves credence not afforded it as part of the Fashion & Style section.

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