College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Women & Gender Studies


Tumblr, feminist ethnography, fat acceptance community, body acceptance, collective accountability


The paper examines the “fat body” in the United States, and the fat acceptance grassroots community and fat activist resistance, as they exist on the social media site Tumblr. Blending feminist ethnographic fieldwork with post-structuralist and intersectional theoretical analysis, I interrogate fat positive identity formation, Tumblr as a site of resistance and the representational politics embedded in the fat activist Tumblr community. I conclude by offering the possibility of a “collective accountability” as the means to move from virtual community to embodied coalition. I assert that the sustainability of the fat acceptance grassroots community is contingent on the collective shift towards fat activist efforts and coalition practices that are intersectional approach and multi-issue in framework.