- About the Editors
- About the Contributors
- Toward a Sociology of the Body
- Methodologies for Categories in Motion
- Pregnant Embodiment and Field Research
- Sensory Experience AS Method
- Mixed Methods in Body and Embodiment Research
- YouTube Vlogs as Illness Narratives: Methodological Consideration
- Representations of Fatness by Experts and the Media and How This Shapes Attitudes
- Health at Every Size (HAES™) as a Reform (Social) Movement within Public Health: A Situational Analysis
- Fat as a Floating Signifier: Race, Weight, and Femininity in the National Imaginary
- Animal, Mechanical, and Me: Organ Transplantation and the Ambiguity of Embodiment
- Aging, Gender, and the Body
- Beyond Binary Sex and Gender Ideology
- Male Breast Cancer in the Public Imagination
- Good-Looking Men Require Hard-Working Women: The Labor of Consumption in the Grooming Industry
- Feeding and Fasting Bodies
- Contrasting Scientific Discourses of Skin Lightening in Domestic and Global Contexts
- Unruly Bodies: Figurative Violence and the State’s Responses to the Black Panther Party
- Race, Phenotype, and Nationality in Brazil and the United States
- The Aesthetic Labor of Ethnographers
- Bodies That Don’t Matter, but Labor That Does: The Low-Wage Male Migrant in Singapore and Dubai
- Embodied Spatial Practices and the Power to Care
- Contesting New Markets for Bodily Knowledge: When and How Experts Draw the Line
- Managing Risky Bodies: From Pregnancy to Vaccination
- The Artificial Pancreas in Cyborg Bodies
- Contesting Lyme Disease
- “Laying Hands” and Learning to Touch and Grab in the Police Academy
- The Place of the Body in Resistance to Intimate Partner Violence: What Do We Know?
Abstract and Keywords
Studies on the development of fat stigma in the United States often consider gender, but not race. This chapter adds to the literature on the significance of race in the propagation of fat phobia. I investigate representations of voluptuousness among “white” Anglo-Saxon and German women, as well as “black” Irish women between 1830 and 1890—a time period during which the value of a curvy physique was hotly contested—performing a discourse analysis of thirty-three articles from top newspapers and magazines. I found that the rounded forms of Anglo-Saxon and German women were generally praised as signs of health and beauty. The fat Irish, by contrast, were depicted as grotesque. Building on the work of Stuart Hall, I conclude that fat was a “floating signifier” of race and national belonging. That is, rather than being universally lauded or condemned, the value attached to fatness was related to the race of its possessor.
Sabrina Strings, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. Her research examines how race, sex(uality), and class are inscribed on the body, such that the body itself can be marshaled to maintain social hierarchies. Her articles and essays are featured in venues including Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Feminist Media Studies, and The Feminist Wire. Her book Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia is forthcoming with NYU Press. Sabrina teaches courses on Feminist Theory, Sociology of the Body, Sociology of Gender, and Social Inequalities.
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