THE DYNAMICS OF FAT ACCEPTANCE: RHETORIC AND RESISTANCE TO THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC
Mcmichael, Lonie R.
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Our current solutions to the obesity epidemic are only making individuals less healthy in their pursuit for thinness while creating an environment of prejudice towards fat individuals. In response, a group of fat individuals are banding together in informal, online communities, which they call “the Fatosphere,” rejecting the belief that they must lose weight to be healthy, a proposition that fails 95% of the time, and embracing ideas such as Health At Every Size, a non-weight-centric health approach with much better results than dieting. Using bell hooks’ ideology of domination as a theoretical basis, I examined these ideas through digital interviews of Fatosphere participants and a rhetorical analysis of Fatosphere blogs. In conclusion, I assert that fat individuals experience domination much as other oppressed groups with a significant exception: the belief that the majority of fat bodies can be permanently made thinner – a belief that has no scientific evidence backing it. This societal belief leads fat individuals to experience a particular bind – a Sisyphean bind – demanding that the individual succeed at a futile task, one that must be performed over and over again, before being considered worthy to receive what others are granted automatically.