Gemma Gibson


Gemma Gibson

Contemporary Representations of Fat Beauty

In 2013 I graduated from the University of Winchester with a BA in English Literature. In September 2014 I completed my MA in Women’s Studies at the University of York. I wrote my MA dissertation on fat women and fashion; I focused on how women of size are excluded from the fashion industry and have taken to ‘fatshion’ blogging as a way of forming their own ‘fashionable’ identity and helping others find theirs.

In October 2014 I started my PhD under the supervision of Dr Ann Kaloski-Naylor. I am researching contemporary representations of fat beauty in the mainstream media and dedicated fat blogs. Despite the cultural obsession with ‘obesity’, over the last decade there has been a shift in the portrayal of fat women. While negative images persist, fat women are now shown as icons for beauty, for example Adele Adkins on the cover of Vogue in 2012. While ‘fatshion’ and the fat acceptance movement are important for fat women, I also aim to discover if the increase in these more ‘positive’ images are having an effect on mainstream society. In addition to unearthing meanings of fat beauty, I am attempting to tease out different understandings of ‘fat’, with particular attention paid to fat women who wear a clothing size above a UK 32, and therefore have trouble achieving the hyperfeminine and beautified aesthetic of the ‘fatshionista.’

Last Updated: November 14, 2014 |

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