Is artificial intelligence ready to be your therapist?


A safe space where one feels emotionally connected and heard without judgment is usually with another person. Can a robot make you feel the same? Predicting human behaviour is no more restricted to mental health professionals, it is increasingly being simulated as an AI (artificial intelligence) function too.  After the humongous success of internet-based applications, we have entered the phase of attempting emotional connections with AI! In a world where we talk about the digital divide, we are finding comfort in willingly pouring our hearts out to an AI-generated bot. As per John McCarthy, artificial intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. It is related to the similar task of using computers to understand human intelligence. In the realm of mental healthcare, synthetic intelligence takes to interfaces: chatbots and robots. 

Pragya Lodha, the curator of this edition

As we traverse the apps of artificial intelligence for mental health, some of the oft-encountered computerese will be that of machine learning (ML), deep learning, natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision. For the tech buzz, IBM clarifies these definitions in a foundational way. In tandem to mental healthcare, machine learning and deep learning have enabled chatbots to diagnose better and predict patient outcomes; computer vision makes understanding the non-verbal cues possible and NLP can simulate human conversations- does that mean that the AI could be your therapist very soon? 

A simplified explanation of artificial intelligence can be found here

In 1950, Alan Turing asked, ‘Can machines think?’ and today, in 2023, we can affirmatively answer this question with confidence. The Turing Test was curated for a human interrogator to attempt to distinguish between a computer and human text response; and it is a cinch to get through with AI nowadays! Is this scary or should we see this as triumphant? What does this have to offer for mental health, especially, in times when we need much more emotional support as the mental health burden on the rise, in consequence to the global pandemic? 

Since the 1960s, scientists and researchers have been attempting to advance and enrich the quality of chatbots, powered by AI and ML, to function as psychotherapists. From ELIZA to ChatGPT, the journey has been towards sophistication of the chatbot, better in-built knowledge, cost effectiveness, quicker access and persistent efforts to make the bot mimic as emphatically as the human therapist! Predominantly, AI applications for mental health care are circumscribed to countries that have digitized systems of working, though, mental health apps are ubiquitously accessible across the globe. In its current form, artificial intelligence is being used to perform several tasks within the mental health treatment realm- NLP enables to transcript the conversations between therapists and clients to maintain quality control over therapists; AI can also keep a track of how much conversation during therapy was constructive versus chit-chat; machine learning and deep learning allow for doctors to personalize treatments, make more precise diagnoses, choose the right treatment framework and also identify variants in diagnostic formulations; and that AI can help validate to choose therapy, for example, cognitive behavioural therapy / CBT conversations, before medication for cases of mild depression and anxiety. 

Source: Wikipedia

Reckoning, there are chatbots such as Wysa, Woebot, Cogniant and many others that are adept at simulating the cognitive behavioural therapy techniques and procedures to provide mental health support for its users. Chatbots are being viewed to advantageously improve efficiency, affordability, convenience, and patient-driven access with an implicit assumption that this will improve health equity and social inclusion. With more than 20k mental health apps in existence (as of 2021), more people are downloading the apps and pushing the keyboards to talk with chatbots. Thus, with the possible aforementioned functions of AI, there is a huge prospect of destigmatising mental health care. A global survey of workforce employees revealed that 82% people wanted to talk to a robot over a manager about their depression and anxiety. Now this may be promising in times when there is increased need of mental health support, feeling non-judgmental while sharing vulnerabilities with a non-human, sparsely available professionals and long-waiting hours with existing professionals- AI may be emulating a pocket therapist


Source: The Big Story by The Quint

However, it is not as straightforward and easy as there are several challenges that come along. Time and again, psychologists and researchers accentuate the fact that robots cannot replace human therapists for several reasons: research is still on-going on the efficacy of robot-delivered therapy; confidentiality and privacy are called into question; issues pertain to poor social and cultural inclusion; and that bots will not be able to empathize like humans till they can only simulate empathy. Though AI has brought a whirlwind of changes in the mental health field, the success quotient is far from conclusive. The trickier concern with AI raises the question that if it can embody consciousness, can an AI assisted robot then be diagnosed with a mental illness too? This is a question of ensuring philosophical inquiry and scientific research.


Human therapists are not just empathetic but also have the superpower to co-regulate, pick up nuanced non-verbal signs and are adept at using humour. We are yet to testify if people would respond just as effectively to a robo-therapist. As an eclectic practitioner, I await to see the day when robots are able to adapt to this approach, fulfilling the diverse needs of clientele in psychotherapeutic practice. Artificial intelligence is changing the world but it is not a substitute for human intelligence, it is a tool to amplify human creativity and ingenuity. If you are befuddled with what to do with AI, just one thing to bear in mind is that to be able to benefit from AI, like any other technology, is to know its merits and demerits along with its judicious use with the right know-how. What and how much is judicious, is a matter of individual choice and comfort. We will not know better unless we try it, and only if we want to! 

Mapping and negotiating power

Uncuff India Episode 10: Dimensions of conflict and peace: visioning a utopian world

Uncuff India Episode 9: Civic space and dissent: A pathway to social justice

Breaking Down the Roots of Anti-Fat Bias

This blog is the last of our series of blogs on the experience of fatness in urban India, and is written by Vallari Shivkumar.

Content warning: mentions of bullying, anti fat discrimination, sexual abuse

When people discriminate against fat people, they often chalk it up to preference, concern, or advice. Fat people experience hostile environments, judgment, and ostracization on a daily basis because of their bodies. This discrimination was met by the rebellion in the 1960s. As with any political movement, fat liberation started out as a way to fight oppression. As fat people organized and mobilized against fatphobia, the early fat liberation movement gained traction. Fat people were at the center of theory, actions, and radicalism. The impact and ripples of these movements are still felt today, as the fat liberation movement evolves and continues to be a part of the zeitgeist. 


The fat acceptance movement has facilitated the creation of a community that carries forward that fight for equality. Although the message in the movement evolves and takes different forms like body positivity, anti-diet culture, intuitive eating, etc, it has led to a platform that fat people can use and take up space in and has established a community of people that are working towards eradicating anti-fat discrimination. Fat activism has led to a pushback towards people who discriminate against fat folks. Whilst this movement has led to real change, there is still a long way to go.  Is this all there is to anti-fat bias?  Or does it go much deeper than that?


Fatphobia is a Systemic Issue


According to the Collins Dictionary, fatphobia is an “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against obesity or people with obesity.” Fatphobia has been reigning terror over fat bodies for centuries. Fatphobia, rooted in racism, classism, misogyny and other forms of oppression, spiraled into the oppression fat folks face today. Systemic fatphobia is a societal issue. Saying fat people are at a disadvantage in society is like calling a cut a scrape because the extent of this disadvantage has strong roots in structural and interpersonal violence. 


There is a level of violence when a fat person is denied equal opportunities, denied access to be able to meet basic needs like clothes, to not just live but thrive as a complete person. What does that mean for me when I am not given proper care at the doctor’s office? What does it  mean when support systems like the HR at my workplace or a police officer have an internal bias against fat people? What does it mean when I get on an airplane and the airline doesn’t have seats that fit me or resources like an extendable seat belt in place for fat people? 

In the fat community, fatphobia is the most commonly used term, but I think we, as a community, need to start narrowing down exactly what fatphobia means. Phobia means fear, but people aren’t afraid, they’re biased and hateful. Perhaps systemic anti-fat bias is a better choice of words. Weight-based oppression on a large scale affects marginalized groups more deeply. It’s common for the experiences of fat folks’ to get downplayed because they think ‘fat’ is an ‘excess of flesh’, which can be easily changed with hard work and determination and being fat is still viewed as a choice or moral failure. There is so much emphasis on obesity care, but how about making sure therapists understand weight discrimination and how to accommodate our bodies? Often, particularly, in systems of structural care, there is both a glaring lack of experience and infrastructure to deal with fat bodies in a safe, equitable and dignified manner.

While society at large still uplifts and prioritizes thinness, fat bodies are continuously exiled and ridiculed. For fat individuals and people with nonconforming bodies, society adversely attacks and belittles them as ‘responsible’ for their sizes and takes the onus upon itself to recast them into ‘acceptable bodies’. This is done through the flooding of markets with products and services to ‘address’ fatness. ‘Thin’ sized bodies are given more value and desirability by society because those bodies are considered “normal.” This value system is a hierarchy of size that focuses on personal choice but doesn’t take into account geography, culture, poverty, or genetics. Through such a value system, people are blamed or held responsible for their body types.


Institutional and Interpersonal Violence


A fat body is invaded by comments, measured with hatred, pathologized by fear, and diagnosed with ignorance. It is weighed down not by its weight, but by the force of hatred, contempt, and pity. This violence also can be of fat people towards themselves and their own bodies in self-talk among other things. Fighting systemic fatphobia is all about equal access, equal respect, and fair treatment. Anti-fat bias permeates multiple structures and interpersonal relationships which in turn make existing and thriving in a fat body challenging. 


Every institution and agent of socialization in our culture — schools, health-care organizations, media, marketing— promotes the propaganda of weight control, so that it is nearly impossible for individuals not to believe that “fat is bad.” Fat people have to face multiple levels of interpersonal violence as they navigate life and spaces. 

People who are fat get discriminated against in a multitude of areas, including healthcare, work, education, and transportation. Discrimination against fat people is the fourth most common type of discrimination and it has increased drastically over the past twenty years. This marginalization has consequences over the entire lifespan of fat people. It starts as early as school. Bullying is, unfortunately, a lived reality of school. Fatness is one of the many reasons that kids are bullied and socially excluded in school. Students do so by making nasty comments, and the fat body once again becomes the site of humour. Teachers sometimes also contribute to this. For example, teachers can be insensitive towards fat kids and make them feel excluded from certain activities. Often, teachers choose conventionally ‘attractive-looking’ students as representatives. Teachers perceive fat students as less academically, physically and socially able. Anti-fat bias can also affect friendships. In a clique, people who are fat get reduced to the ‘fat friend’ like a token. A study by the University of Southern California found that children who are overweight have more unreciprocated friendships than others. It was further found that they are excluded from friendships. All of these take a mental, social and physical toll on people who are fat. The constant ostracization of individuals who are fat is likely to lead to the risk of loneliness, depression, poor eating habits, and chronically feeling isolated, lonely or socially disconnected experiences. 

In the workplace, fat people are harassed and bullied. They face a significant “wage penalty” for employment, even when controlling for socioeconomic status and health. They are less likely to be hired and promoted, and more likely to be fired. Many people think overweight employees lack self-discipline, are lazy, aren’t competent, aren’t conscientious, are sloppy, disagreeable, and are emotionally unstable. Even when fat candidates/employees are better qualified than their colleagues, reservations like these result in unfair hiring practices, low wages, and job termination. Places like schools and offices structurally fail fat folks. Usually, there is no consideration for inclusive seating, uniform sizes and policies in place that help reduce this alienation and discrimination. India also completely lacks an anti-discriminatory legislative framework to deal with weight bias in the workplace. The Delhi High court rejected a flight attendant’s appeal of Air India’s decision to ground and further terminate them for being overweight in June 2008. The decision was “taken strictly as per the terms of employment,” according to the state-owned airline. The court justified its decision by stating, “In the highly competitive industry of civil aviation, the company has to focus on the personality of its employees. By the very nature of their jobs, their overall physical personality is one of the primary considerations.” However, in a more recent turn of events, the Delhi High Court ordered the reinstatement of three employees grounded by Air India, citing that excess weight does not necessarily impede optimal performance

In mainstream media, fat bodies get limited representation, reaffirming thin supremacist preferences for bodies that follow hegemonic body size and beauty standards. This leads to dominant conceptualizations controlling discourses about fatness: fat bodies are lazy, disgusting, and lacking control. As Marilyn Wann notes, “[e]very person who lives in a fat-hating culture inevitably absorbs anti-fat beliefs, assumptions, and stereotypes, and also inevitably comes to occupy a position in relation to power arrangements that are based on weight.” This creates a hierarchy of bodies. People who experience weight discrimination report more psychological distress, lower well-being, and greater loneliness as a result of weightism.

Based on one’s size, specific performance is expected. In our society, this same performance creates, stabilizes, and legitimizes ‘fat’ as a concept. In courtrooms, the same association can be made with fat defendants by jurors, who expect a particular performance. Fat makes people feel guilty, lack self-control, and lack respect. Then studies on social reaction and response to size become applicable to the courtroom. Researchers found that male jurors found female presenting defendants guilty more often if they were fat than slim in a simulated check fraud case. In cases where a defendant’s body expresses a size and situation not allowed to be explained by the voice, bias based on fat may also harm them. Fat defendants’ and fat victims’ bodies are seen as beyond their control, which reflects an entrenchment within the justice system too.

Court actors  who conceptualize victims of abuse as thin might not take fat women seriously when they tell stories of abuse. In State v. Ruhlman, the defendant said he wouldn’t assault the victim/survivor because she was “fat and ugly.” It’s especially visible in domestic violence. Abusers use size as a tool to insult and attack a romantic partner’s sexual attractiveness. Several police officers refuse to take reports of sexual assaults by fat women, saying they’re too unattractive to have been raped because of their size.  These experiences of cultural, structural, and interpersonal violence only get worse for people whose fatness intersects with other marginalized identities such as age, disability, race, caste, among others. Even within communities, not falling within the expectations of the community, may lead to a disconnect and further alienation.

As a fat person, living with a fat body is hard considering that the world feels like it isn’t made for someone like us and is actively trying to work against us. There are constant battles, big and small that need to be fought so that we as fat people can take up the space we deserve. It is imperative to look out for and act on the intersectional needs of fat people so that every person has more than the basic necessities to thrive and be their best self. Fat people need to be heard and taken into account in a way that tackles systemic anti-fat bias by making laws, policies, and recommendations, and having fat people in the room helps make those so that people whose needs are being met are represented and are part of the process. 


Thank you for reading this blog, which is the final blog in our series of blogs on the experience of fatness in urban India. This blog series is a part of our upcoming research study on Fatness in Urban India, focusing on building counter-power narratives on the experience of fatness in Mumbai; as well as developing an evidence base for documentation of the discrimination and oppression faced by fat people in urban India, with a focus on 


(1) built environments

(2) health and medical infrastructure

(3) careers – educational institutions and workplaces

(4) intimacies and interpersonal relationships


Further, we hope to document the ways in which fat people embody different physical-emotional conditions. Finally, we hope to use this research study to co-create recommendations for changing norms, policies and infrastructure to meet the needs of fat people in urban India. 


To become a part of this study, please consider participating in our data collection process by giving us 30-45 minutes of your time in an interview. To learn more about the process, check if you are eligible and to sign up, please visit:


Mapping and negotiating power

Uncuff India Episode 10: Dimensions of conflict and peace: visioning a utopian world

Uncuff India Episode 9: Civic space and dissent: A pathway to social justice

The Performance Of Fatness

This blog is the third of our series of blogs on the experience of fatness in urban India, and is written by Deeksha Tiwari.

Content warning: mention of disordered eating, anti-fat bias

Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, i.e., that gender is a social role performed by individuals and validated and approved by society, provided a fresh lens for perceiving gender. While their theory specifically discusses gender, it has a certain universality to it that can be applied to a plethora of other identities including the fat identity. According to anthropologist Victor Turner, repeated performances are necessary for social action. This repetition serves as both a reenactment and a re-experiencing of a set of socially established meanings; it is the routine and ritualized way in which they are legitimized. 

Being fat in today’s world is like living under a microscope since every action is scrutinized with the binary lens of ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’. In addition to being monitored by non-fat people, fat bodies undergo scrutiny by themselves and other fat people as a result of the internalization of this scrutiny. 

For a fat person, there seem to be only two roles to play: a ‘good’ fat person or a ‘bad’ one.  

Being a ‘good’ fat person involves following an elaborate list of dos and don’ts. There are rules to be followed and mannerisms to be observed. In a way, it is quite similar to being in a play. Every waking moment has to be a performance, carefully portrayed within the boundaries of the script, which in this case is the list of dos and don’ts. And just like a play, there are critics, voicing their approval or disapproval, waiting for you to ‘slip up’ so they can tell you the many ways you are not living right. Unlike plays though, the critics of fat people’s lives are mostly unwarranted and quite often unqualified.

This performance of fatness is indoctrinated through different mediums until it becomes second nature. From stereotypical media portrayals to the constant policing of fat bodies done by families and friends, it is made clear that the only somewhat acceptable way to exist as a fat person is to always play the part of the ‘good’ one. Gemma Gibson describes this performance as a “rhetoric of innocence which seeks to absolve fat people of the ‘blame’ for their fat bodies.” So as long as you play the part of the apologetic and guilty fat person doing everything in your power to change your body, you remain innocent of your fatness. Naturally, a fat person that refuses to put on this performance becomes the ‘bad’ one.

How to be a ‘good’ fat person – scrutinizing fat bodies using the ‘health’ lens 

To play the part of a ‘good’ fat person, you must have certain qualities. The foremost requirement is that you live a ‘healthy’ lifestyle. Now, the term healthy has very different and ambiguous connotations for fat people than it has for non-fat people. For a non-fat person, it mostly means eating nutritious meals and getting some exercise and movement for your body. Even then this is very negotiable as most non-fat people go about living their lives as they please without raising any concerns. For a fat person though, it seems as if being ‘healthy’ is not an option. It is something that is expected of them owing to their fatness. Being ‘healthy’ for fat people includes doing anything and everything (not excluding starving yourself) to not be fat.

This obsessive need to assess the health of bodies, especially fat bodies, and then deduce their worth is extremely dehumanizing. The Body Mass Index (BMI) continues to be a widely used metric by health professionals and people to assess the health of individuals despite having been found to be incredibly inaccurate. As per this assessment, fat automatically equals unhealthy. According to researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, BMI is an unreliable indicator of body fat content because it ignores factors like muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, and differences between racial and gender groups. An alternative was proposed by Dr. Margaret Ashwell, to assess and predict health risks like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. She suggested that the waist-to-height ratio is a better predictor of these than BMI.

On the flip side, there is the idea that people of all sizes can be in good health, even fat people. In this case, health indicators like blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, etc. are mainly used to assess the level of health. Going by this metric of evaluation, if you’re not fat but unhealthy, you’ll be told that you can do better, but it won’t likely result in discrimination and marginalization. Consequently, if you are fat but otherwise healthy, you are somewhat acceptable but still not immune to bias and prejudice around fat bodies. But what if you are fat and unhealthy? Is being unhealthy such a monumental failure that you no longer deserve respect or rights? 

Does fatness glorify obesity?

News flash: Just existing as a fat person is not promoting or glorifying ANYTHING. 

If you are not a fat person, there are very high chances that you can get away with eating a pizza without people telling you that it is unhealthy or that you are ‘promoting obesity.’ A fat person in the same scenario, however, has a much higher chance of being accused of ‘promoting unhealthy lifestyles’ and even being told that they do not deserve to live at all.

Fat people simply existing outside the role of the good fat person is always seen as glorifying being unhealthy and is met with severe backlash. Remember the photo of American singer, rapper and flutist, Lizzo, in a bikini that went viral? All the unwarranted comments (mostly hateful) calling her gross, unhealthy and accusing her of “eating herself to death” and promoting/glorifying obesity was in response to her just existing unbothered on a beach as a fat person in a bikini. It is also pertinent to note that the hate and backlash that Lizzo received were aggravated by racism. In an interview, Sabrina Strings, author of “Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia,” said that health concerns are not the source of fatphobia. As per her research, fatphobia in the West was rooted in Protestantism and the Transatlantic slave trade. Black people were believed to be “sensuous and thus prone to sexual and oral excesses.” Protestantism promoted moderation in all pleasures and as a result by the early 19th century, obesity was seen as a sign of immorality and racial inferiority, especially in the United States.

Another interesting thing to note is that Lizzo wasn’t even the one to post those photos. Page six just posted the pictures on their Twitter account with the caption “Lizzo rocks tiny red bikini beachside during Brazilian vacation” and all hell broke loose.

Fig: An example of one of the several hate comments under the photo, which individually, has garnered close to 3,000 likes.

Anti-fat bias and popular culture

Another significant characteristic of a good fat person, is their willingness to happily accept any and all comments, criticisms, and opinions regarding their bodies at any given point in time. It is irrelevant if these are opinions shrouded as health concerns, constructive criticism, or straight-up hateful comments telling you you’re worthless. As a good fat person, you have a responsibility to take it all as feedback. 

A ‘good’ fat person must also have a sense of humor about being fat to take jokes about their bodies in ‘good spirit’. We have often seen fat people being the butt of the joke, like in FRIENDS with ‘fat Monica’ or more recently in Avengers, with fat Thor. In the media, writers can do better than using the old, “I used to be fat, ugly, and sad,” storyline like they did for Monica on FRIENDS or Schmidt on New Girl. The shift from the ‘ugly and sad fat person’ happened to result in the ‘fat sidekick with too much personality to make up for their looks,’ like fat Amy from Pitch Perfect. In all these iterations, fat people are just expected to be laughed at and laugh with the person making the joke. A study in 2010 shows that fat people feel pressure to be charismatic and funny to compensate for their ‘failed’ bodies. Like Amy from Pitch-Perfect, some fat people feel like they have to use humor to make fun of themselves and their bodies to prevent others from doing so.

Surveillance of Fat Bodies

Fat bodies are discussed and monitored from a young age. In some schools, children are publicly weighed during their physical education period and depending on the weight, are asked to ‘take action’ (lose weight) accordingly. This creates an early awareness that weight is a ‘problem’ and needs to be fixed. 

Non-fat people feel like they have the authority to monitor fat people and it is disguised under concern. The holiday season can be a minefield of uncomfortable feelings and awkward interactions as it is filled with diet culture, food guilt, and anti-fat bias. It’s a lot harder to eat, drink, and be joyful when dealing with people commenting negatively about weight or food choices. On the one hand, we become obsessed with food and at the same time, social attitudes towards calorie counting and weight loss are at an absolute high. The idea that fat people, in particular, should be especially careful not to consume ‘too much’ food is usually at an all-time high.

Fat people also try to compensate for negative stereotypes by working harder to make a good impression at work.  In a study by Amsterdam and Eck conducted on people who self-identify as fat, they found that fat people had to work the extra mile for their work to be seen as more legitimate. Many fat people feel the need to overcompensate for the stereotype of the ‘dumb, lazy and unkempt fat person’. By putting extra effort into their work performance and appearance, fat people try to show others that fat people are indeed capable of delivering outstanding output and can look professional. This can be via spending extra time on their appearance, working extra, and performing harder for lesser rewards. 

Another way that fat bodies are monitored is via social media. According to the  Vice President of the Adult Performers Actors Guild (APAG), “Instagram has an algorithm that detects and flags photos featuring over “60% skin.” The intention may have been to censor images that are inappropriate but the algorithm negatively impacts larger-bodied Instagram users. It inadvertently monitors fat bodies and makes them inaccessible. Refinery29 and Getty Images launched their 67% Project in 2017, which acknowledged that although 67% of women are plus-size, they make up less than 2% of the images we see. 

All this external monitoring can lead to fat people developing the habit of self-monitoring as a coping mechanism so as to not be judged or commented on by people externally. Self-monitoring is a very common practice that has been made a part of the fat culture as a weight loss method. When fat people self-monitor, the one quality that they have to show is restraint. Whether it be in their personality, food choices, or clothing and lifestyle choices. Any and all decisions have to be influenced by the need to get thin and be ‘healthy’. Studies show that self-monitoring, when born from a place of shame and judgment, negatively impacts the individual.  

The irony is that most of the time, being a ‘good’ fat person also isn’t enough. It’s as if our existence until then has been a waste of space because we’ve been taking up so much of it. We are constantly made to explain ourselves and our lifestyle choices. The more fat people give of themselves, the more society wants to take. This give and take is never-ending. The reality is that the more we compromise on being ourselves and not performing, the more rules-explicit and implicit, trends, advice, concern, and unsolicited help, are going to be aimed at us. 

These demands reveal much more about our society’s expectations of, projections of, and entitlement to fat bodies than they reveal about fat people ourselves. These demands are overwhelmingly created in a vacuum, away from the actual lived experiences of fat people, or any of our stated needs. Too often, fat people shoulder the burden of navigating these many, complicated, conflicting demands. It is therefore important for fat people to have communities and spaces where they can feel like they can freely be themselves without feeling like they have to perform and be a certain kind of fat. These communities can not only offer the much-needed solidarity but also a space for fat joy, fat love, fat pleasure and the entire gamut of fat experiences.


Thank you for reading this blog, which is the third of our series of blogs on the experience of fatness in urban India. This blog series is a part of our upcoming research study on Fatness in Urban India, focusing on building counter-power narratives on the experience of fatness in Mumbai; as well as developing an evidence base for documentation of the discrimination and oppression faced by fat people in urban India, with a focus on 


(1) built environments

(2) health and medical infrastructure

(3) careers – educational institutions and workplaces

(4) intimacies and interpersonal relationships


Further, we hope to document the ways in which fat people embody different physical-emotional conditions. Finally, we hope to use this research study to co-create recommendations for changing norms, policies and infrastructure to meet the needs of fat people in urban India. 


To become a part of this study, please consider participating in our data collection process by giving us 30-45 minutes of your time in an interview. To learn more about the process, check if you are eligible and to sign up, please visit:

Mapping and negotiating power

Uncuff India Episode 10: Dimensions of conflict and peace: visioning a utopian world

Uncuff India Episode 9: Civic space and dissent: A pathway to social justice