Hilary Mantel ...

Hilary Mantel.jpg

wrote a stunning article in the Guardian on being fat. (This link works fine now, and is safe).

I find the notion of 'affordances' very useful, and define affordances as "neither in the person, nor in the environment, but rather as the product of the interaction between the two; each interaction potentially changes the person as well as the micro-environment".

That's all well and good, but it might have too much of an 'apple-pie' fragrance about it. The point is that the adaptation of the person in the environment might well, in some cases, be positive and creative, but on the other hand the relationship might be just the reverse - the environment might constrain the person's adaptation, even against everything they desire, i.e. a 'disfordance'. Hilary Mantel's account of 'being-fat-in-Western-society' is a brutally honest example of this.

Sobering thought for those amongst us who see affordances as (mostly) positive, and who are too optimistic about the extent to which we are authors of our own identity.

The question is: does this also apply:
1. To many other shapes and sizes
2. To people who are un/attractive (see the jokes about Blondes/Airheads).
3. To people of various genders?