Sex Roles

, Volume 66, Issue 9–10, pp 608–616 | Cite as

“Why Can’t You Control Yourself?” Fat Should Be a Feminist Issue

Feminist Forum


This article is a comment on Fikkan and Rothblum’s (2011) article “Is Fat a Feminist Issue? Exploring the Gendered Nature of Weight Bias.” They argued that fat women in North America experience significantly more prejudice and discrimination than fat men do, marshaled evidence to support their argument in several domains (e.g., employment, education, romantic relationships, health care, the media), and wondered why feminist scholars have not paid much attention to the oppression of fat women. Here I suggest several reasons why fat women experience more prejudice and discrimination than fat men do: the objectification of women, gender-related aspects of health behavior and knowledge about health and illness, and the importance of self-control to the performance of femininity. I also suggest that there is some overlap in negative stereotypes of both feminists and fat women, which might lead to a desire to distance oneself from both. However, feminists should recognize the intersectionality of fat oppression and the way it colludes with the sexualization and objectification of women in popular culture. Thus, fat should be a feminist issue.


Fat women Weight bias Fat stigma Self-control Feminism Women and weight Self-regulation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyConnecticut CollegeNew LondonUSA

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