Tuesday, April 26, 2011

'A beautiful show of strength': Weight loss and the fat activist self

This article explores the disciplinary and productive effects of late 20th-century/early 21st-century discourse around the obesity epidemic. For my purposes, both the Fat Activist and Weight Loss Surgery patient may be seen as outcomes of this discursive proliferation. Based on a content analysis of two online accounts of weight loss by prominent fat activists, I examine the ways in which such public declarations can be seen as contemporary examples of Foucault’s notion of the confession. Through debates in the ‘fatosophere’, such activists and their peers simultaneously take up and reject both biomedical and fat activists tenets in ways that are highly ambivalent. In the process, fat activism unsettles and resituates its borders and boundaries and the issue of weight loss becomes a discursive technique of knowledge/power for the understanding of and relating to the fat activist self.

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