Re-thinking fat: From bio- to body-becoming pedagogies

Rice, C. (2015). Re-thinking fat: From bio- to body-becoming pedagogies. Cultural Studies <--> Critical Methodologies, 15(5), 387-397. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1532708615611720

 

Abstract

This article engages with recent critical research on the obesity epidemic to think through the bioethics of current obesity prevention and consider alternative responses to fat bodies. To develop such an approach, it offers a feminist “body becoming” theory of fat that interweaves constructivist and new materialist theories with embodied and aesthetic perspectives to imagine other possibilities for fat embodiment. Thinking beyond conventional biopedagogical interventions that send moralizing messages about what bodies should be, I theorize a “becoming” pedagogy that moves away from enforcing norms toward more creative ways of expanding possibilities for what bodies could become. Because in our boundary-setting world this kind of imagining is considered the work of the artist and not within the purview of the social scientist, I turn to the arts and to aesthetic theory for insight and inspiration in this project. I discuss representations that focus on embodying and materializing change among individuals and groups so as to transform social scripts about body, ability, and normality.