Revolting Bodies?: The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 2004 - Health & Fitness - 162 pages
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Viewed as both unhealthy and unattractive, fat people are widely represented in popular culture and in interpersonal interactions as revolting, as agents of abhorrence and disgust. Yet if we think about "revolting" in a different way, Kathleen LeBesco argues, we can recognize fatness as not simply an aesthetic state or a medical condition, but a political one. If we think of revolting in terms of overthrowing authority, rebelling, protesting, and rejecting, then corpulence carries a whole new weight as a subversive cultural practice that calls into question received notions about health, beauty, and nature. LeBesco explores how the bearer of a fat body is marked as a failed citizen, inasmuch as her powers as a worker, shopper, and sexually "desirable" subject are called into question. At the same time, she highlights fat fashion, relations among fat, disability politics and activism, and online communities as opportunities for transforming these pejorative stereotypes of fatness. Her discussion of the long-term ramifications of denying bodily agency in effect, letting biological determinism run rampant has implications not only for our understanding of fatness but also for future political practice.
  

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Contents

The Discourse of Revolt
1
Organization and Embodiment Politicizing and Historicizing Fatness
10
Antidotes to Medical Discourse about Fatness
29
SexyBeautifulFat
40
Citizen Profane Consumerism Class Race and Body
54
Revolution on a Rack Fatness Fashion and Commodification
65
Framing Fatness Popular Representations of Obesity as Disability
74
The Queerness of Fat
85
The Resignification of Fat in Cyberspace
98
Fat Politics and the Will to Innocence
111
Notes
125
References
143
Index
153
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About the author (2004)

KATHLEEN LEBESCO is assistant professor of communication arts at Marymount Manhattan College.

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