“When I Was Growing Up My Mother Cooked Dinner Every Single Day” : Fat Stigma and the Significance of Motherblame in Contemporary United States

Farrell, Amy E.

Contemporary narratives about fatness focus incessantly on the mother, yet recent fat studies literature has only slightly addressed this phenomenon of motherblame and fat stigma. By extending the research that I touched upon in Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (New York University Press, 2011), this essay explores the roots of motherblaming in early 20th century psychology -particularly in the work of Hilde Bruch and Phillip Wylie—and the connections to more recent narratives in US film, literature and popular culture that link mothers to the horrific spectacle of the fat child and fat mothers to the destruction of their families and communities.

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Farrell, Amy E.: “When I Was Growing Up My Mother Cooked Dinner Every Single Day”. Fat Stigma and the Significance of Motherblame in Contemporary United States. 2016.

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