Being Fat: Women, Weight, and Feminist Activism in Canada

By Jenny Ellison

© 2020

It is okay to be fat. This is the basic premise of fat activism, a social movement that has existed in Canada since the early 1970s. This book focuses on the earliest strands of the Canadian movement, which emerged around 1977 and ended around 1997 with the emergence of defiant performance artists Pretty, Porky, and Pissed Off. This twenty-year window loosely correlates with the rise of "second-wave" feminist organizing and thinking in the country. Fat activists were wrestling with issues other feminists of the era were debating: femininity, sexuality, and health.

While united by the idea that it is okay to be fat, the movement has taken many different forms. Fat "activism" and the "movement" encompassed a variety of activities. It included groups that held regular meetings and published newsletters, organized events, and elected an executive. Being Fat explores activities like fashion design, self-help groups, plus-size modelling, and dance under the umbrella of fat activism, undertaken in the name of empowering fat women. Together, these activities show that self-identified fat women took up feminist ideas of liberation and applied them to their lives. Their personal experiences became the basis of a powerful movement to challenge beauty and bodily norms.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Illustrations: 16
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Being Fat examines the history of fat activism in Canada, correlating this history with second wave feminism and issues it was debating: femininity, sexuality, and health.

Being Fat: Women, Weight, and Feminist Activism in Canada

By Jenny Ellison

© 2020

It is okay to be fat. This is the basic premise of fat activism, a social movement that has existed in Canada since the early 1970s. This book focuses on the earliest strands of the Canadian movement, which emerged around 1977 and ended around 1997 with the emergence of defiant performance artists Pretty, Porky, and Pissed Off. This twenty-year window loosely correlates with the rise of "second-wave" feminist organizing and thinking in the country. Fat activists were wrestling with issues other feminists of the era were debating: femininity, sexuality, and health.

While united by the idea that it is okay to be fat, the movement has taken many different forms. Fat "activism" and the "movement" encompassed a variety of activities. It included groups that held regular meetings and published newsletters, organized events, and elected an executive. Being Fat explores activities like fashion design, self-help groups, plus-size modelling, and dance under the umbrella of fat activism, undertaken in the name of empowering fat women. Together, these activities show that self-identified fat women took up feminist ideas of liberation and applied them to their lives. Their personal experiences became the basis of a powerful movement to challenge beauty and bodily norms.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Illustrations: 16
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Jenny Ellison is the Curator of Sport and Leisure at the Canadian Museum of History, and co-editor of Obesity in Canada: Critical Perspectives, also published by University of Toronto Press.
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations
    Tables
    Abbreviations

    Introduction: Fat Women Are Not Few

    1. FIFI: Feminist Approaches to Being Fat
    2. Between Women: Fat Acceptance Organizations
    3. "If only you’d lose weight…": Femininity, Sexuality and Fat Activism
    4. Dr. Fullovitt, MD: Fat Women’s Experiences with Doctors and Dieting
    5. "Let Me Hear Your Body Talk:" Aerobics for Fat Women Only
    6. Bodies Out of Fashion: Buying and Selling Plus-size Clothing
    Conclusion: When We Rise the Earth Will Shake

    Figures
    Appendix A: Research Methods
    Appendix B: Detailed List of Research Participants
    Bibliography

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