Presentation Title

“We’re Supposed to Believe Fat is a Bad Thing”: A Phenomenology of Fat Talk among Feminist College Women

Advisor Information

Shereen Bingham

Location

UNO Criss Library, Room 107

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

7-3-2014 3:00 PM

End Date

7-3-2014 3:15 PM

Abstract

Fat talk—the conversations women have about their own and others’ bodies—is a harmful linguistic ritual with negative impacts on individual self-concept and body image. Through application of critical feminist body rhetoric and linguistic studies, fat talk is conceptualized as an extension of hegemonic power exerting control over women’s bodies and language. This study seeks to discover, through hermeneutic phenomenological inquiry, how three feminist college women experience fat talk in their everyday lives, as well as how their individual feminist standpoints inform their interpretations of the behavior. Findings indicate that feminist college women mainly experience fat talk as a linguistic expression of conformity to several intersecting power structures: societal standards, mediated ideals, social obligations, and patriarchal norms. Individual feminist standpoints serve to protect against these hegemonic powers and the negative effects of fat talk, and help maintain a sense of equality for self and others. Illuminating young women’s experiences with fat talk from multiple modern feminist standpoints shows little has changed since feminist scholars first explained how social power is imprinted on women’s bodies.

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Mar 7th, 3:00 PM Mar 7th, 3:15 PM

“We’re Supposed to Believe Fat is a Bad Thing”: A Phenomenology of Fat Talk among Feminist College Women

UNO Criss Library, Room 107

Fat talk—the conversations women have about their own and others’ bodies—is a harmful linguistic ritual with negative impacts on individual self-concept and body image. Through application of critical feminist body rhetoric and linguistic studies, fat talk is conceptualized as an extension of hegemonic power exerting control over women’s bodies and language. This study seeks to discover, through hermeneutic phenomenological inquiry, how three feminist college women experience fat talk in their everyday lives, as well as how their individual feminist standpoints inform their interpretations of the behavior. Findings indicate that feminist college women mainly experience fat talk as a linguistic expression of conformity to several intersecting power structures: societal standards, mediated ideals, social obligations, and patriarchal norms. Individual feminist standpoints serve to protect against these hegemonic powers and the negative effects of fat talk, and help maintain a sense of equality for self and others. Illuminating young women’s experiences with fat talk from multiple modern feminist standpoints shows little has changed since feminist scholars first explained how social power is imprinted on women’s bodies.