Body Size, Gender & Health: A Multi-Method Sociological Exploration

Laurel Heights - Room 340


Body Size, Gender & Health: A Multi-Method Sociological Exploration

Thursday, May 26th

3:30 pm

Laurel Heights Campus

Room 340

Gay Becker Conference Rm

Natalie Ingraham, MPH


This dissertation uses distinct data sets to examine how the social construction of fat bodies plays out in three levels of analysis: the media spectacle, the health movement, and the lived experience. Three papers attempt to answer the question of how fat bodies are socially constructed in varying social contexts from varying social locations. First, a media analysis of NBC’s The Biggest Loser explores the hyper(in)visible fat body as a public spectacle of ill health and sin, redeemed through confession and weight loss. Secondly, a situational analysis of the Health at Every Size℠ movement as a reform movement in public health showcases how connecting health and body size weaves within the social worlds of public health and embodied social movements like fat acceptance. Finally, a qualitative interview study grounds the other two pieces in the lived experience of fat bodies through interviews with queer women of size over age 40 who engaged in a health program at a community clinic.