Loris Mazzagatti

Normative bodies and obesity. Beauty standards, realistic goals and everyday life

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Obesity; Body and Embodiment; Cult of Slenderness; Stigma of Obesity; Weight Loss.

In contemporary Western culture a thin body is a synonym of beauty and health. Slenderness embodies ethical values, related to the duty of individuals to take care of their external appearance and internal functionality. Conversely, a fat body symbolizes the antonym of a proper body management. Fatness is not only an aesthetic problem but also a medical and moral one, because of the associated stigma, the related pathologies and, last but not least, the health care and societal costs. From this theoretical framework, the article will discuss the results of a research based on non-structural interviews. The study has involved 30 individuals considered obese by current medical standards (Body Mass Index greater than 30), who were attempting to lose weight at the time of the interview through a diet or a surgical treatment. The aim of the article is to show, firstly, how participants cope with the cult of slenderness and the condemnation of fatness displayed by media and, secondly, what effect these cultural pressures have on their everyday life, on their decision to lose weight, and, finally, on their expectation of physical change.

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Article first page

Article first page