Let’s get down to business

So, if you have been following my blog from the beginning, you know that it is a part of my undergraduate senior independent study project (IS).  My project is looking at the interactions and intersections between feminism and the fat acceptance movement.  In order to do this, I am studying blogs in the Notes from the Fatosphere feed (yes, I may be speaking about you who are reading this right now).  I am looking at what topics are of interest to fat activist bloggers, experiences you’ve recalled in posts, how you’ve talked about the body, mind, fat, health, morality, issues of gender, etc.  I want to highlight fat women’s experiences and understand how fat acceptance and feminism work together (or don’t) in their life.  I am also writing about the activist implications of blogging.  This particular paper is not going to be officially published in a journal or something like that, so you don’t have to worry about a large number of readers, it’ll pretty much be graded and then sit in my school’s library for students and faculty to read if they are interested.

I want to stress the fact that I’m writing this from my perspective as a fat positive feminist, so my aim is to spread the good news about fat acceptance to people at my school and those I discuss my study with, as well as possibly give me a foundational understanding for some graduate work on the topic later on.

Honestly, I’ve been hesitant to come right out and give the specific details of my study, for fear of sounding like big brother’s watching you…I don’t want anyone to get angry with me or feel that I’m using people’s words and ideas without their permission.  I’ve looked a lot into how to study blogs, and the fact that the blogs I’ve been looking at are all public and out there for the world to see, makes my study ethical according to academic tradition.  But, out of personal integrity, I wanted to let everyone know that this is what I’ve been doing.  In the paper, itself, I will be referring to bloggers by your screenames, first names, or whatever name you give on your blog.  If you have a problem with this, I’d be happy to talk it out with you.

From October 2 to November 22, I looked at the blog posts on the Notes from the Fatosphere feed every 3 days.  I’m now in the analysis/discussion stage and am working on organizing what I’ve found in these posts around themes.  I wrote a paper last year on fat positive feminism and used a thematic approach then too, so it is hard for me to think outside the themes I used in that paper which were

The Mind-Body Dualism (with subheadings like Identity and the Fat Self, The Fat Body’s Narrative of Erasure, and Valuing the Body)

Policing the Fat Body (with subheadings like Fat Hatred and Patriarchy, The Morality of Fat, and The Male Gaze and Fat Sexuality)

Fat Acceptance as a Journey (which I feel was an underdeveloped theme in my last paper, so I’m not sure about how I’m going to develop it)

So my themes are looking something like that, but I’m looking for ways to expand them or come up with more.  Any suggestions/comments from you all are more than welcome!

In any case, I created this blog so I would be a participant in this fatosphere rather than just a lurker.  I’m also trying to employ a sort of cyberethnographic approach and conceptualize the fatosphere as a community.  And in order to do it justice, I wanted to try to become a member of the community.  I am also on my own fat acceptance journey, and from what I’ve seen, the fatosphere is a great network of resources and support and I’ve found the process of blogging helps in the journey, so I plan to keep this blog up after my study is completed.

Here is a rough outline of the chapters in my paper, as I’m working on it now…(in case you are interested)

Introduction (Includes giving an idea of why fat positive feminism is important to me and why it is an important topic in general)


History (I’ve been working on compiling a history of fat acceptance and it’s relationship with feminism)

A Discussion of Shadow on a Tightrope (I think this is a really pivotal piece for fat women)

A Discussion of the mind-body dualism and embodiment (I’m still having trouble with making this make sense.  I want to understand, philosophically, how women experience the body and, specifically, how fat women experience the body and how this fits in with thinkers like Descartes, Butler, Bordo, and others)

An Analysis/Discussion of Fat Positive blogs (that’s you guys)


Like I said, I still have 2 months left and a ways to go in terms of writing, but that is where I am now.  When all is said and done, if you are interested, I can send you a copy for your own perusal (a concept that always terrifies me.  I worry that people will think I misinterpreted their words or something like that).

I don’t know if you even care about any of this, I just thought you all should be filled in.  Once again, I’m always open to comments, suggestions, opinions, questions, whatevs.

6 responses to this post.

  1. I am totally interested in reading anything you write! Would love it if you wouldn’t mind emailing me stuff!


    • Thanks! I’d be happy to email it to you when it’s written. Although at this point I’m not feeling too confident in my thesis-writing skills.


  2. Posted by Fantine on January 10, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I would love to read this when you’re finished, or even in draft form!


  3. Please feel free to contact me via email if there is any thinking you’ve heard from me that you want to follow up on.
    I wrote my senior thesis on women and body image in 1989-90 (hard to believe that’s 20 years ago) not so long after “Shadow on a Tightrope” came out, also from a feminist perspective. Things have changed in many ways, but in others, the expectations of women and their bodies have “tightened” in that time.
    Wishing you the smoothest path possible on your journey, and if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.


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