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Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture
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Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  92 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A historical examination of the social culture of body image
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by New York University Press
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Jun 06, 2012 ishwhe rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
I really disliked the majority of this book, from about 20% to 80% in. Why? There were way too many detailed descriptions of comics, cartoons, and photos that after the 20th one or so, I stopped reading about them. The same point is made--a fat person is made fun of, or implicitly thought of as lazy or incompetent, or some other point in which fat=inferior. I get it. I honestly do not need 1000 examples of every single cartoon that supports those claims to be described. That would be raw researc ...more
Rachel Wagner
I'm obsessed with this book. Its fascinating on so many levels. Its about the history of fat denigration in America- particularly white America. I totally agree that being fat is not just a health issue but it has been coupled with derogatory labels on a person's character- everything from being lazy, stupid, gluttonous, cold, greedy and worse. This goes back hundreds of years and I found that fascinating. I wish everyone could read it!
Its very academic and well researched that some might find i
This is the fat studies book I've been wanting to read! It's thoughtful, and rigorous, and advances the conversation about fat as a cultural phenomenon.

It has its weaknesses-- its chapter on present-day fat activism isn't particularly new and original, and while it contains a lot of interesting readings of postcards and other ephemera, I wondered sometimes whether the analysis relied too much on such things. Also, most of the intro of the book is given over to the fat-and-healthy-aren't-the-sam
A truly fascinating read! I enjoyed reading about the ways in which fatness is intertwined (historically and currently) with ideas or who is a civilized citizen. The construction of civilization as Euro-American just amazes me but it clarified so much of how upper and middle classes understand the idea of upward mobility. A person can be black but "not like those black people." And although Farrell's argument focuses on fatness, I see through her arguments how race and class carries the same con ...more
Fiona Mariner
Interesting in the way that she draws the connections between fat shame and other social movements such as industrialisation and suffrage. Also the notion of "fat=uncivilised", which is still prevalent albeit presented as an issue of health.
"Fat Shame" is an accessible, engaging history of the evolution of ideas about fatness in the United States, illustrating how fat began as a sign of success and became a mark of shame, long before it was imagined to be a health risk. While the underlying ideas won't be new to anyone familiar with fat studies, through her close readings of cultural artifacts, Farrell is able to better pinpoint when and how fatness began to be seen as a shameful attribute. Her discussion of the ways in which suffr ...more
Easy to understand and a wonderful primer to fat issues. I can't recommend this enough!
Sean Griffin
Felt like it didn't need to be an entire book, or, in other words, it was too long and repetitive. Basic theme is the shift from fat as a symbol of wealth and power to one of personal weakness and unattractiveness occurred earlier than commonly held. This is illustrated with many ads and cartoons from Harper's and Life from more than one hundred years ago. Tangentially interesting, but far from eye-opening.
Wow. This one really had lightbulbs going off in my head. Amy Erdman Farrell has really got into some detail with the history of fat stigma, and approaches the subject with a fully body positive attitude. This book gave me so much to think about and really struck some chords with me. A must read for all fat women, and anyone else who wants to truly understand the stigmatisation of fatness.
Although a slim book, this is a great introduction into the field of Fat Studies. The writing flows well, and incorporates history, feminism, advertising, in addition to medicine into the discussion of how America became so obsessed with hating fat bodies. To me, this book ties together a lot of the other discussions I've read in older Fat Studies books.
Sydney Bell
An interesting and provocative read about the history of fat shame in North America. I was particularly fascinated by the authors reflection on the use of fat shaming during the first wave of feminism with both the anti-vote and and suffrage movement using fat shaming as a political tool.
This is a life-changing read, exposing the roots and surprising longevity of fat stigma. For the fat or thin, this book should be required reading, illuminating arguably the last "legitimate" prejudice in American culture.
Amy does a great job exploring the ins and outs of how fat stigma, but I feel it would have served its purpose as a thesis rather than a book. A lot of historical facts, posters, and pictures, but was written a bit too lengthy.
I am working on a full review of this book. Definitely something to read and has interesting and relevant points. Ordinarily, I would not have chosen a book like this to read, but has a lot of information to truly contemplate.
May 05, 2011 Phoebebb marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-read-history
I've always heard a few things about the history of being fat, such as being fat was a sign of wealth, so it will be really interesting to read more about fat history. =)
A good book that opened my mind to the subject, but if editing errors are a pet peeve, you may want to skip this one.
Jan 02, 2012 Hannah added it
A nice enough introduction to the field of fat studies, it definitely made me want to do further reading.
Golda Poretsky
I'm really excited to read this. It's great so far.
Everyone should read this book. Right now.
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