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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rigorous historical look at a powerful social stigma
The other reviews of this book make it abundantly clear why Amy Farrell's work is so important. The notion that fat "should" be stigmatized is so deeply rooted in our culture that the possibility that this stigma has a history, and serves certain political and economic interests is unthinkable to many. Fat shame seems like gravity: an ever-present, immutable rule of...
Published on May 10, 2011 by Miz Lyn

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18 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
It's maybe premature of me to review this book, as I'm still reading it. But I'm disappointed in it. I am on the side of size acceptance, but that doesn't mean I don't want rigour in any analysis of fat. And rigour is what this book is, so far, lacking. My heart sank somewhat in the early part, where she suggests that the "war on fat" is being driven by the...
Published on May 31, 2011 by Felicity


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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rigorous historical look at a powerful social stigma, May 10, 2011
By 
Miz Lyn (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (Paperback)
The other reviews of this book make it abundantly clear why Amy Farrell's work is so important. The notion that fat "should" be stigmatized is so deeply rooted in our culture that the possibility that this stigma has a history, and serves certain political and economic interests is unthinkable to many. Fat shame seems like gravity: an ever-present, immutable rule of nature.

Luckily, Farrell's excellent book makes it abundantly clear that fat stigma developed at a certain time for particular cultural purposes. She does an excellent job at taking apart how fat became a symbol and a stake in American contests around racial identity, gender, consumption and citizenship. And, what was most interesting to me, was her finding that anti-fat images and ideas developed long before "health concerns" were called upon to justify what is, at its root, an ugly form of social hatred. Her work also documents efforts to get out from under fat shame, efforts that are at long last treated with the respect they deserve.

If the shame, scorn and disgust that surrounds fat, fat bodies and fat people seems as inevitable, natural and self-evident as the sun rising and setting every day, read this book and think again!
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - a must read for anyone who has a body., May 11, 2011
This review is from: Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (Paperback)
As a fat person in a fat-hating society, I have lived with prejudice all my life. From being denied an interview after being told on the phone that the job was available, being bullied in childhood and called a fat pig or whale as I walk down the street as an to having every doctor I see now asking me if I had considered weight loss surgery, it's a fact. Let's face it, our society as a whole fears and dislikes fat people. Some blame us for our size, as evidenced by two of the reviewers here. All I want is to have the same opportunities as average sized people - doctors, chairs that support me, movement opportunities (I work out in a pool three times a week) and the right to walk down the street without having people glare at me. Books like Fat Shame educate the public about the context and history of fat hatred and, if the reader is open-minded at all, should make a difference in how fat people are viewed and treated.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone who lives in a fat body, loves someone who is fat, or hates fat bodies, May 11, 2011
By 
Kelly Bliss (Lansdowne, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (Paperback)
Fat Shame is an important read for anyone who feels shame about their body AND ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO FEEL NEGATIVELY TOWARD FAT BODIES (like some of the reviewers who attack the author personally and make crude remarks about fat people, thus demonstrating size-prejudice right here in the reviews).

By understanding social views in context, we can make more informed decisions as to whether we want to continue those views or not. It is indeed very important to understand the history of public opinion. It is also important to understand that the current frenzied fat hating views we see so often in the media are part of public opinion, not medical fact. To look at fatness throughout history and to examine our current attitudes toward fat in context is a valuable way to help sort fact from fiction.

Regarding the health ramifications of fatness, this is a topic of much debate. A growing body of research has proven that most of the health issues that are attributed to large body size are actually the result of lifestyle choices. Small, medium, and large people who have poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle are at increased risk for health problems. All people need to focus on Health At Every Size to improve wellness, not just fat people. Heaping shame on fat people is a distraction from actual health goals. Feeling shame for your own fat body will get in the way of your own improved lifestyle and health.

Farrell's book can help individuals and our culture understand fat shame and release it so we can all move forward toward health. I highly recommend this book as part of the individual recovery process for body image issues and for improving your relationships with anyone you love who happens to be fat.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heavy-duty analysis of a heavy topic..., May 11, 2011
This review is from: Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (Paperback)
Fat Shame is remarkably on target in its analysis of our fatphobic culture and its obsession with body size. Few subjects are more controversial than body fat, and you can find very little published on the subject that is objective and thoughtful. Indeed, the field is dominated by diet books (including a few that claim to not be diet books, but are).

This book is a breath of fresh air for me. I must admit to being less than objective myself, however, having seen first-hand for many years the daily discrimination faced by larger friends and family members based solely on the size and shape of their bodies. I know how hard they have all worked to lose weight and stay thin, to no avail. Will power? Most of them have more than I do. I don't know how I would have been able to go through the diet rigors most of them have suffered.

Apparently, there is far more to the biology of being fat than meets the eye. We should just stop judging people based on what they look like!

I loved the book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written-love it!, June 14, 2011
This review is from: Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (Paperback)
Being a scientist, this book did not fall into my "usual" reading repetoire, however I thought it was a fantastic read. The book is extremely well written and it is obvious that Farrell has done an extensive amount of research on the topic. Being a mother of three small children, two of which are girls, I have an interest in body images, and this book does a great job exploring the aspects of fatness, and opens us all up to the ideas of fat stigma in America. Having seen the author on the Colbert Report, I know that she, herself, is not obese or even slightly overweight, but the fact that she can so eloquently open our eyes to the denigration of fatness is wonderful.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening, November 18, 2011
This review is from: Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (Paperback)
I really loved this book and it opened up my mind to the multitude of ways that "fat shame" is used to oppress women, minorities, and the working class, both historically and currently. The author makes her case brilliantly and I really believe that fat studies are at the forefront of an exciting and important new field. Stigmatizing people of size is a socially acceptable prejudice and a national past time, one I've seen people who are otherwise enlightened engage in without a sense of self-awareness. I'm particularly alarmed by the way that progressives engage in fat stigmatization, without recognizing the kinds of value judgments and assumptions they are making when they do so.

And I was part of that discrimination, even though I have people of size who are very dear to me. I prided myself on being able to decipher the ways sexism and racism worked in society, but I am ashamed that previous to reading this I was liable to assume that "obesity" was a "health issue" and to pride myself on (and feel "superior") for maintaining a "healthy" BMI. I honestly don't believe size should ever enter into discussions of health. Staying physically active and eating healthy are crucial, but they are truly often unrelated to size. People really do come in different sizes and shapes. And the way I know that the concern over "health" is a lie is this: ask yourselves honestly, "healthy weight" people, do you feel a certain sense of superiority when you judge people over their size? I suspect that the vast majority of thin people do. They associate (wrongly) size with sloth, inactivity, and lack of self-restraint, and enjoy the sense of self-righteous indignation they get over people who "can't control themselves" or "don't know any better". So the real problem we need to fight isn't "obesity", it's prejudice against people of size.

We need to absolutely fight against fat shame the same way that we fight against sexism and racism. Again, no I am not saying to go eat trans fats or hydrogenated oils or sit watching TV all the time, and I know plenty of thin people with woefully poor diets and exercise regimes. I am saying that the focus of the alarm over the so-called obesity epidemic has to go toward ending fat discrimination. If people want to promote good nutrition and increased bodily activity they should, but if I see one more emaciated newscaster sadly pointing to decapitated bodies and moaning about the "obesity epidemic" I will scream. It's just a way for upper middle class white people to look down on "savages".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, well worth the time, August 26, 2014
This review is from: Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (Paperback)
This was an excellent book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to better understand America's prejudice against overweight individuals. I used it extensively for my project about women's body images, and it was very helpful. After interviewing several women for my project, their attitudes and hatred towards fat confirmed the stigma we have towards fat in America. For many women, it really is their worst nightmare, but only because (as Erdman Farrell explains) Western culture has so many other ideas and beliefs attached to obesity. For instance, Farrell talks about how evolutionary dialogue and political cartoons in the 18-1900s associated fatness with laziness, low morals, as well as mental inferiority. "Fat Shame" is a wonderful, well-researched book and anyone who claims that Farrell's claims are fictional probably has money in the same industry that teaches men and women to hate their bodies for the sake of profit.

Oh, and did I mention it was easy to read? I couldn't put it down!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful and insightful look at the stigma of fat in the US, October 5, 2014
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As someone who has studied fat and body image for almost 30 years, I found this work to be one of the most helpful and insightful books about the field that I have ever read. Dispelling myths and offering new observations about fat and how it is perceived in US culture, it offers a broad view of the field while also digging deeper into the stigma surrounding fat in the US.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fat Shame review, April 1, 2014
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A very eye opening book. If you need any convincing that fat people are an oppressed group, this is your book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So much better than I thought! Well researched but entertaining about obesity in history, February 6, 2014
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This review is from: Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (Paperback)
This book is much more academic than I thought. It is also entertaining and quite revealing of the social periods and people's attitudes on obesity. It is also very enlightening to discover that weight loss remedies have been touted and marketed since the 1860's. It is not a new phenomena, the focus on weight and body image. Some of the facts and newspaper photos are also quite sad, showing how overweight people were treated with scorn and as freaks used in traveling shows.
Unbelievable how much focus has been put on being fat yet the food industry keeps putting out the fast food and high sugar and fat content foods. It makes you realize, as a consumer, how being overweight or obese is lining the pockets of the wealthy at the expense of all the rest of us. I don't go so far as to think there is a conspiracy in keeping Americans overweight but there is certainly no real effort to regulate or confront the industries responsible for contaminating the food chain with high fat/sugar foods.
I also suggest reading Fat, Gluttony and Sloth: Obesity in Art, Literature and Medicine by David Haslam and Fiona Haslam.
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Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture
Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture by Amy Erdman Farrell (Paperback - January 1, 2011)
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