Fat Religion: Protestant Christianity and the Construction of the Fat Body

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Fat Religion: Protestant Christianity and the Construction of the Fat Body explores how Protestant Christianity contributes to the moralization of fat bodies and the proliferation of practices to conform fat bodies to thin ideals.
Focusing primarily on Protestant Christianity and evangelicalism, this book brings together essays that emphasize the role of religion in the ways that we imagine, talk about, and moralize fat bodies. Contributors explore how ideas about indulgence and restraint, sin and obedience are used to create and maintain fear of, and animosity towards, fat bodies. They also examine how religious ideology and language shape attitudes towards bodily control that not only permeate Christian weight-loss programs, but are fundamental to secular diet culture as well. Furthermore, the contributors investigate how religious institutions themselves attempt to define and control the proper religious body. This volume contributes to the burgeoning field of critical fat studies by underscoring the significance of religion in the formation of historical and contemporary meanings and perceptions of fat bodies, including its moralizing role in justifying weight bias, prejudice, and privilege.

The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society.

About the Author

Lynne Gerber is independent scholar in San Francisco, USA.

Susan Hill is Professor and head of the Department of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, USA.

LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant is Professor of Africana Studies at Williams College (Williamstown, USA) and founder of ConjureGirlBlue Productions, a media company specializing in short form storytelling.