ISBN: 1479819808
EAN13: 9781479819805
Language: English
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Pages: 304
Dimensions: 0.9448819" H x 9.251968" L x 6.220472" W
Weight: 1.28309 lbs.
Format: Hardcover

Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia

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Book Overview

Winner, 2020 Body and Embodiment Best Publication Award, given by the American Sociological Association

Honorable Mention, 2020 Sociology of Sex and Gender Distinguished Book Award, given by the American Sociological Association

How the female body has been racialized for over two hundred years

There is an obesity epidemic in this country and poor black women are particularly stigmatized as diseased and a burden on the public health care system. This is only the most recent incarnation of the fear of fat black women, which Sabrina Strings shows took root more than two hundred years ago.

Strings weaves together an eye-opening historical narrative ranging from the Renaissance to the current moment, analyzing important works of art, newspaper and magazine articles, and scientific literature and medical journals--where fat bodies were once praised--showing that fat phobia, as it relates to black women, did not originate with medical findings, but with the Enlightenment era belief that fatness was evidence of savagery and racial inferiority.

The author argues that the contemporary ideal of slenderness is, at its very core, racialized and racist. Indeed, it was not until the early twentieth century, when racialized attitudes against fatness were already entrenched in the culture, that the medical establishment began its crusade against obesity. An important and original work, Fearing the Black Body argues convincingly that fat phobia isn't about health at all, but rather a means of using the body to validate race, class, and gender prejudice.

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Book Reviews (5)

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It was a total waste of money, and I bought it. I'm only half way through and it's deff. There are a lot of great historical figures, and I think if more people would read, they would understand the whole thing. There would be less hate in the world, for a lot of things!
   The thin ideal is oppressive but I don't know where it came from
Now you can find out more about Dr. Goin's life and career in this excellent book. Even with the academic prowess of Strings, some of the heavy feelings will create in a human with a little levity in a short remark here or there. An excellent first book by a noted novelist. History isn't there to make you feel good, it's for you to learn from your mistakes, Bustamante said. Don't wallow in honkey guilt, educate yourself and make the world a better place, he said. Get started today!
   Due diligence
There was Dr. Harvey Kellogg, and his brother, Kirk. His brother is the one that actually made the cereal brand marketable and argued with Dr. Kellogg over formulas. Dr. Harvey Kellogg was a hideous racist, and prude, and Dr. Abraham Lincoln was a Jew. Physically he terrorized the children, and mutilated them. In fact, we're talking about ancient practices of genital mutilation. Zilkha conceded that he did some good work, but said he was not at his best. Before you talk about a prehistoric beast, do some research.
   Required (and good) reading.
Very well written and well-researched. It will make you even angrier at white supremacism, but we need to understand the history of that, especially in America, said Dr. Abraham. The most interesting and infuriating chapters were the ones on that and when the medical community got involved, they added. Will probably read again soon, he said.
   A rich read
Using this for my dissertation. What makes this work different from other peer reviewed literature that juxtaposes Black women's body and beauty standards and those of White women's is that it explains the relationship between the two, Raymond said.