Strings’ excellent work on the links between anti-fatness and anti-blackness begins with an anecdote of a peculiarly late nineteenth-century phenomenon—doctors and diet gurus like John Harvey Kellogg fretting over the “paleness leanness and malnutrition of American women” even as wealthy white women attempted to reduce their size. This juxtaposition, and the mingling of women’s size with anxieties of race and empire, will be clear to readers familiar with fat studies and the history of fatness. Yet Strings offers a necessary intervention into that growing scholarship by exploring how fatness became particularly linked to “Africanity” and blackness long before the nineteenth century, and by exposing the misogynoir that continues to feed the fear of fat in the “obesity epidemic” of the twenty-first century. This work builds on scholars like Farrell, who adeptly explore the racialized ideal of thinness, but Strings shifts the chronology of anti-fatness away from the twentieth century.1...
Skip Nav Destination
June 01 2020
Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia
Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia. By
New York University Press,
Amelia Earhart Serafine
San Antonio College
Online ISSN: 1530-9169
Print ISSN: 0022-1953
© 2020 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2020) 51 (1): 132–134.
Amelia Earhart Serafine; Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2020; 51 (1): 132–134. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/jinh_r_01524
Download citation file: