Navigating Intersections Between Fat Identity and Misogyny




McCleskey, Grace

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Living in what is viewed as a deviant body can impact every aspect of a person’s life. The purpose of this comprehensive literature review is to synthesize existing research about how fat women navigate this experience and the stigma they face while finding gaps in the literature. While there are feminists and fat activists publicly advocating for their needs, academia still has much room for growth in this area. Many of the ways women are expected to present femininity place much heavier burdens on fat women. Traditionally accepted archetypes of femininity do not leave any room for fatness or deviant bodies, and fat women are commonly separated from their femininity as a step towards separating them from their humanity entirely. Because of the way that fat women’s bodies are often viewed as objects for public scrutiny, this directly impacts their experiences with sexual assault and fetishization. Fat women are excluded from traditional femininity, and in congruence with other marginal identities, this experience is only amplified. I have investigated the ways in which fat women navigate this intersection between fatness as an identity and their identity as women. Stigmatization of fatness is highly gendered and there is a great deal of overlap between misogyny and fatphobia, as they often inform each other. Fatness defies many social norms, especially in cases in which women are expected to hate their own bodies or actively be trying to change them. Women are taught to actively shrink themselves and when they cannot or choose not to do so, they are viewed as a moral failure and lacking self control. There are many barriers to proper healthcare and career advancement as well as fetishization, sexual assault, and obesity stereotypes that are unique to overweight women. Many academics still address fatness as a problem needing to be solved without taking into account the experiences and needs of people who are directly impacted by their implicit bias.



weight, fat, females, misogyny, implicit bias, fatphobia


McCleskey, G. (2022). Navigating intersections between fat identity and misogyny. Poster presented at the International Research Conference for Graduate Students, San Marcos, Texas.


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