Fat

Fatness shares with more traditionally recognized forms of disability what Rosemarie Garland-Thomson calls “the attribution of corporeal deviance—not so much a property of bodies as a product of cultural rules about what bodies should be or do” (1997, 6). Conceptually, however, fatness and disability are tense bedfellows: many people with more traditionally recognized forms of disability resist being lumped together with those fat people who they feel could (but don’t) control their condition, and most fat people don’t recognize themselves as disabled, preferring to maintain a safe distance from perceived illness and stigma.

There are, nonetheless, many points of convergence in fat politics and disability politics: shared goals of access; eradication of prejudice, discrimination, and harassment; open forms of cultural expression; and recognition of dignity and happiness. Politicized fat people tend to resist the same medical model that draws the ire of people with disabilities; they don’t see themselves as …

This essay may be found on page 84 of the printed volume.

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