In this episode, Alyssa and Brendane unpack questions of fatphobia, anti-blackness, and how that intersects with the discursive. For What’s the Word?, we discuss discourse to understand how understandings of the world circulate, of course referencing one of our fave French philosophers: Michel Foucault. Today, we read the essay “Fat, Black, and Ugly: The Semiotic Production of Prodigious Femininities” (2021) by Professor Krystal A. Smalls, which explores several ways fatness and Blackness are discursively constructed as social comorbidities for feminine people and examines how this discourse affects lived experience. Through this lens, we talk about how fatness was wielded against Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Ma’Khia Bryant. In What In the World?! we discuss the latest scandal involving the teen clothing brand Brandy Melville and accusations of anti-blackness and fatphobia, unpack why these -phobias are not specifically about fear (except maybe psychoanalytically!), bias against fat people in the medical system including our own experiences, why commenting on people’s bodies is not “caring” for them, Lizzo living her best life, and how loving ourselves and our bodies is a journey.

If you’ve experienced weight bias in health care and in other contexts can complete the Weight Bias Reporting Form created by the Obesity Action Coalition.

CW: Throughout the episode we discuss body image issues and bias against fat bodies. Please take care of yourself as you need while listening.

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Discussed this week:

Fat, Black, and Ugly: The Semiotic Production of Prodigious Femininities (Krystal A. Smalls, 2021)
I’m a Parkland Shooting Survivor. QAnon Convinced My Dad It Was All a Hoax. (David Gilbert, 2021)
Weighing the care: physicians’ reactions to the size of a patient (M.R. Hebl and J. Xu, 2001)

ZD merch available here and the syllabus for ZD 201 is here!

Transcript will be available on our website here.

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