Date of Award

Fall 5-2021

Document Type



World Languages and Cultures

First Advisor

Sarah West, Ph.D.


In spite of recent advancements within the academic community—particularly within the discipline of Women, Gender and Sexualities—fatness is still overwhelmingly viewed as a singular issue rather than a complex site of social interrogation that impacts every aspect of our lives. Fatness is typically understood through the medical model of obesity and/or eating disorders, a piecemeal approach that unfairly problematizes fatness, allowing the dangers of fatphobia and diet culture to thrive as forms of oppression. In my thesis, I interrogate these oppressive systems as an intersectional issue using a framework based on Marie Matsuda’s “other question” in which she challenges us to identify multiple points of oppression by asking how is it also when how is it also? I use the practice of auto-ethnography, using my own personal experience living in a fat body in a fatphobic world as a site of analysis through which I attend to these concerns of oppression, including intersectional moments with race, class, and cis heteronormativity. To this end, I buttress my own experiences by looking to the treatment of fat bodies and subjectivities in popular media, as well. Ultimately, I explore how the emerging arena of Fat Studies is necessarily intersectional and can be used as a model to improve our understanding of many oppressions experienced by marginalized communities.