The Politics of Size

Perspectives from the Fat Acceptance Movement

by Ragen Chastain, Editor


If fat people only ate less and exercised more, would they then be slim and fit?

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Cover image for The Politics of Size

November 2014


Pages 498
Volumes 2
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Women's Studies/General

This book presents an unprecedented opportunity for people to hear from a simultaneously ostracized, ridiculed, and ignored group: fat Americans. Find out how the members of this very diverse group of people describe their actual lived experiences, quality of life, hopes and dreams, and demands.

Our society is body-size obsessed. The result? An environment where "fat people" are consistently shunned and discussed disparagingly behind their backs. Although fat people typically bear the brunt of the institutionalized oppression around being oversized, pervasive closeminded attitudes about body size in America affect everyone of all sizes—from people who are shamed for being too thin to those whose lives revolve around the fear of becoming fat. This book talks about a topic that is important to all readers, regardless of their physical size, providing an anthology of first-person accounts of what it's like to be part of the fat-acceptance movement and on the front lines of activism in the "war on obesity."

The Politics of Size: Perspectives from the Fat Acceptance Movement supplies a frank discussion of the issues surrounding being fat and the associated health concerns—both physical and mental—and reframes the discussion about obesity from a medical issue to a social one. The essays serve to correct misinformation about obesity and fat people that is commonly accepted by the general public, such as the idea that "fat" and "healthy" are mutually exclusive. Subject matter covered includes fat-friendly workplace policies; fat dating experiences; and the intersections of being fat and also a person of color, a person with disabilities, a transgender person, or a member of another sub-group of society.


  • Provides readers with unprecedented insights into the lived experiences of fat people, unfiltered by a media that can be steeped in "fat bias," as well as information about the science and research regarding obesity
  • Reframes the discussion about obesity from a medical issue to a social one and overturns misconceptions readers may have about overweight individuals
  • Provides support for readers, especially young women, who may be the subject of bullying and discrimination
  • Documents how obese people are as diverse as any group of individuals who share a single physical characteristic, encompassing every ethnicity, political and religious affiliation, and sexual orientation as well as vegans and athletes
Author Info

Ragen Chastain is author of the blog and the book Fat: The Owner's Manual, the body image and women's health blogger for NBC's iVillage, and a columnist for Ms. Fit magazine. She is a three-time national champion dancer and marathoner who writes and speaks full-time about self-esteem, body image, and wellness care for people of size. She is a feature interviewee in the documentaries America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments; A Stage for Size; and mostly recently Ragen's More Cabaret. Chastain studied administration and policy at The University of Texas at Austin.



"A nice collection for gender and women's studies programs and other fields interested in critical discourses about the body. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries."Choice

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