Becoming Smaller: Autobiographical Spaces of Weight Loss

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Abstract:  This research focuses on the spaces and politics of weight loss. It is informed by “fat studies”, critical geographical scholarship on fat, and two contrasting feminist readings of Michel Foucault's notion of “care of the self”. Using autobiography as a method of inquiry I share my experience of “becoming smaller” through weight loss dieting. I argue that losing weight for me has been paradoxical on at least three counts: first, by being a feminist scholar who critiques discourses around women and slimness while at the same time desiring to be slim; second, by my new eating patterns marking me simultaneously as both a disciplined and a disordered subject; and third, by publically and politically supporting the Health at Every Size movement but privately in my “quest” to recreate myself emphasizing shedding kilos over fitness. The article concludes that understanding these paradoxes that surround weight loss is useful for furthering understanding of a complex embodied, gendered and spatialized process.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Geography Programme, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand;

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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