Constituting the ideal body: A poststructural analysis of “obesity” discourses among gay men
MetadataShow full item record
Ideal bodies are constituted through various social and cultural discourses. One such discourse that constitutes bodies is the “obesity” discourse. The term obesity is a contested and medicalizing term that constitutes a view of fat people as unhealthy, immoral, and undesirable. Obesity discourses, therefore, also constitute notions of the bodies and body types that are thought to be healthy, acceptable, and attractive. The effects of obesity discourses can be prominently observed in gay men’s culture where muscular, white, thin bodies are glorified. This paper employs a poststructural framework to examine how desired bodies are constituted in gay culture. This paper also explores how some gay men resist dominant obesity discourses. A critical review of the literature on fatness, body dissatisfaction, and the influence of gay culture on eating practices among gay men informs this work. Various studies have shown that gay culture can constitute experiences of body dissatisfaction, rejection, and isolation for many men, especially for those that fall outside the idealized version of male bodies or who are labelled as “obese”. Implications for critical dietitians who are working with gay men are discussed.
Joy, P. and Numer, M. 2018. Constituting the ideal body: A poststructural analysis of “obesity” discourses among gay men. Journal of Critical Dietetics 4 (1), 47-58