Competing Constructions in Contemporary Culture
Publication Year: 2013
Alongside public health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advertisers of the fashion-beauty complex, food industry advocates at the Center for Consumer Freedom, and activists at the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.
Framing Fat takes a bird’s-eye view of how these multiple actors construct the fat body by identifying the messages these groups put forth, particularly where issues of beauty, health, choice and responsibility, and social justice are concerned. Samantha Kwan and Jennifer Graves examine how laypersons respond to these conflicting messages and illustrate the gendered, raced, and classed implications within them. In doing so, they shed light on how dominant ideas about body fat have led to the moral indictment of body nonconformists, essentially “framing” them for their fat bodies.
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Figures and Tables
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Framing Fat would not have been possible without the support of many won-derful individuals. We are indebted to Peter Mickulas for his thoughtful editor-ship, Jennifer Dropkin for her careful copyediting, and to several anonymous reviewers for their astute comments. As well, we thank Camille Nelson for her meticulous editorial support, manuscript preparation, and indexing work. Our ...
Chapter 1. A Contested Field
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...research findings out of the Harvard School of Public Health. To understand the relationship between lifestyle and weight, investigators examined three separate studies spanning a twenty- year period that included over 120,000 sub-jects. They found that weight gain was associated with several foods; at the top of the list of nutritional culprits were potato chips, processed meats, and sugar- ...
Chapter 2. Fat as Frightful
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In November 2008 Susan D’Arcy made a heartfelt plea to the pub-lic: “Young girls should not be subjected to images of celebrity women who are so thin. It’s unrealistic for girls to have these women as role models” (Stokes 2008). Her request was motivated by tragedy. At the age of thirteen, Ms. D’Arcy’s daughter Imogen hanged herself in the bathroom of the family home because ...
Chapter 3. Fat as Fatal
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Venus Williams celebrated a birthday. Chile tied Austria in a World Cup soccer game. Tori Amos performed in Nürnberg, Germany. And 25 million Americans became overweight without gaining a single pound (Cohen and McDermott 1998)!1 For this feat they could thank the Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure-ment standard based on a person’s height and weight that was adopted by a num-...
Chapter 4. Fat and Food Politics
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...mento, California, filed a class- action lawsuit against McDonald’s. Unlike pre-vious suits that accused the restaurant chain of making coffee that was too hot (Liebeck v. McDonald’s) or serving food that caused two teenage girls to become obese (Pelman v. McDonald’s), Parham’s suit focused on Happy Meal toys. Par-ham alleged that McDonald’s sells toys that bait children and encourage them to ...
Chapter 5. Fat and Fair Treatment
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In 2001, Jennifer Portnick, a 240- pound aerobics instructor who reportedly worked out six times a week and taught back- to- back exercise classes, was denied a franchise by the exercise chain Jazzercise. A company representa-tive maintained, “Jazzercise sells fitness. . . . Consequently, a Jazzercise applicant must have a higher muscle- to- fat ratio and look leaner than the public. People must ...
Chapter 6. Framing Fat Bodies
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...have written about the deleterious effects of cultural beauty ideals (Bartky 1990; Bordo 2003; Hesse- Biber 1996; Wolf 1991). They have documented the harm-ful effects of these ideals on both the psyche and the material body and shown how preoccupation with the thin ideal has stymied women’s social advancement (Wolf 1991; Zones 1997). These findings have also elicited an ongoing debate ...
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About the Authors
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Samantha Kwan is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Houston. She is co- editor of Embodied Resistance: Challenging the Norms, Break-Jennifer Graves is a professor of sociology at Houston Community College and a sociology instructor at the University of Houston. Her research focuses on ...
Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 6 figures, 1 table
Publication Year: 2013