Event Title

Session One: Panel 2 - Power and the Body

Location

Marsh Hall 106

Start Date

17-10-2009 10:30 AM

End Date

17-10-2009 12:00 PM

Description

“Fabulousness to the Nth Degree”: Theorizing the Queer Fat Femme (Adrienne C. Hill)

This paper traces and interrogates the emergence in urban queer women’s subcultures of the figure of the “queer fat femme.” The queer fat femme represents a convergence of several discourses within such subcultures. First, it is indicative of attempts in queer women’s communities, ongoing since feminism’s second wave, to politicize the fat body, and to reposition it as an oppressed and resisting body rather than as a self-evident emblem of moral failure. Secondly, queer fat femme identity politics draws from a body of theory that has circulated in queer women’s communities since the late 1990s, which rescues butch-femme subject positions from second wave feminist accusations of imitation heterosexuality, and which argues for femme identity in particular as a form of intentional, critical femininity.

“Fabulousness to the Nth Degree” explores queer fat femme identity by focusing primarily on FemmeCast, a popular New York City-based Podcast that bills itself as “the queer fat femme guide to life.” The paper argues that by placing some fat women within a butch-femme sexual economy, both FemmeCast and the larger queer fat femme discourse to which it belongs enable women who claim the identity to challenge popular stereotypes of fat people as either asexual or as heterosexual fetish objects. Furthermore, to the extent that FemmeCast presents the queer fat femme as a woman who literally exceeds the boundaries of acceptable femininity, it provides certain women with a means to affirm and politicize both their gender and their body size.

At the same time, following feminist philosopher Susan Bordo, I argue that queer fat femme discourse, like many postmodern theories of gender and the body, tends to construct the body as a site of individual self-determination rather than as a site of social struggle, thereby undercutting its effectiveness as a form of social critique. Both FemmeCast and the wider realm of queer fat femme discourse tend to combat the marginalization and relative invisibility of femmes both by insisting on queer fat femmes’ visible difference from “conventional” (and therefore uncritical) femininity, and also by privileging queer fat femmes’ interpretations of their own bodies over the ways in which those bodies are read by others. In so doing, they fail to adequately critique the ways in which queer fat femme activist methods may replicate other forms of social inequality, and abject other forms of femininity, thereby limiting queer fat femmes’ ability to form alliances with other feminine people.

“Fabulousness to the Nth Degree,” then, argues in favor of articulations of fat femme identity that are truly “queer.” In other words, successful deployments of queer fat femme identity will, rather than insisting on the queer fat femme’s obvious departure from “normal” femininity, make use of both visibility and invisibility in order to reveal both the contingency of the normal and the ubiquity of “deviant” genders and bodies.

Silence as Protest in Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide (Bharati S. Kasibhatla)

Sex Satisfaction in Relation to History of Eating Disorder (Laura Krause, Beth Jones, Daniel Munoz)

The relationship between sexuality and eating disorders has long been proposed. The current study expands on research regarding the association between disordered eating and sexual satisfaction in a non-clinical sample. It was hypothesized that a significant difference between groups exists regarding a history of self-reported eating disorder and overall sexual satisfaction. One hundred fifty-two college students (aged 17 to 43; 65 male, 83 female, 3 not specified) completed the packet of questionnaires. The results of this study support the hypothesis. More specifically, the results indicated the significance in the group with a history of eating disorder can be explained by the physical aspects of the sexual experience alone. The two groups did not differ on items involving the emotional aspects of sexual satisfaction.

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Oct 17th, 10:30 AM Oct 17th, 12:00 PM

Session One: Panel 2 - Power and the Body

Marsh Hall 106

“Fabulousness to the Nth Degree”: Theorizing the Queer Fat Femme (Adrienne C. Hill)

This paper traces and interrogates the emergence in urban queer women’s subcultures of the figure of the “queer fat femme.” The queer fat femme represents a convergence of several discourses within such subcultures. First, it is indicative of attempts in queer women’s communities, ongoing since feminism’s second wave, to politicize the fat body, and to reposition it as an oppressed and resisting body rather than as a self-evident emblem of moral failure. Secondly, queer fat femme identity politics draws from a body of theory that has circulated in queer women’s communities since the late 1990s, which rescues butch-femme subject positions from second wave feminist accusations of imitation heterosexuality, and which argues for femme identity in particular as a form of intentional, critical femininity.

“Fabulousness to the Nth Degree” explores queer fat femme identity by focusing primarily on FemmeCast, a popular New York City-based Podcast that bills itself as “the queer fat femme guide to life.” The paper argues that by placing some fat women within a butch-femme sexual economy, both FemmeCast and the larger queer fat femme discourse to which it belongs enable women who claim the identity to challenge popular stereotypes of fat people as either asexual or as heterosexual fetish objects. Furthermore, to the extent that FemmeCast presents the queer fat femme as a woman who literally exceeds the boundaries of acceptable femininity, it provides certain women with a means to affirm and politicize both their gender and their body size.

At the same time, following feminist philosopher Susan Bordo, I argue that queer fat femme discourse, like many postmodern theories of gender and the body, tends to construct the body as a site of individual self-determination rather than as a site of social struggle, thereby undercutting its effectiveness as a form of social critique. Both FemmeCast and the wider realm of queer fat femme discourse tend to combat the marginalization and relative invisibility of femmes both by insisting on queer fat femmes’ visible difference from “conventional” (and therefore uncritical) femininity, and also by privileging queer fat femmes’ interpretations of their own bodies over the ways in which those bodies are read by others. In so doing, they fail to adequately critique the ways in which queer fat femme activist methods may replicate other forms of social inequality, and abject other forms of femininity, thereby limiting queer fat femmes’ ability to form alliances with other feminine people.

“Fabulousness to the Nth Degree,” then, argues in favor of articulations of fat femme identity that are truly “queer.” In other words, successful deployments of queer fat femme identity will, rather than insisting on the queer fat femme’s obvious departure from “normal” femininity, make use of both visibility and invisibility in order to reveal both the contingency of the normal and the ubiquity of “deviant” genders and bodies.

Silence as Protest in Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide (Bharati S. Kasibhatla)

Sex Satisfaction in Relation to History of Eating Disorder (Laura Krause, Beth Jones, Daniel Munoz)

The relationship between sexuality and eating disorders has long been proposed. The current study expands on research regarding the association between disordered eating and sexual satisfaction in a non-clinical sample. It was hypothesized that a significant difference between groups exists regarding a history of self-reported eating disorder and overall sexual satisfaction. One hundred fifty-two college students (aged 17 to 43; 65 male, 83 female, 3 not specified) completed the packet of questionnaires. The results of this study support the hypothesis. More specifically, the results indicated the significance in the group with a history of eating disorder can be explained by the physical aspects of the sexual experience alone. The two groups did not differ on items involving the emotional aspects of sexual satisfaction.