College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Women's & Gender Studies


fat studies, gender identity and expression, queer studies, discourse and counterdiscourse, embodiment


Dominant discourses about fat bodies construct the fat body as undesirable, a failed thin body, and immoral. Similarly, the culture of the United States constructs the queer body in very particular ways. This thesis explores how normative discourses and ideas about fatness and queerness come together to impact fat queer people's experience with their gender expression. A thematic and discourse analysis of fat queer people's personal narratives shows that fat queer people are impacted by how others view their gender, that finding community can create space for new imaginings of their bodies, and that for some, the most liberatory thing to do is to reject all categorization.