Challenging stereotypes and legitimating fat: An analysis of obese people’s views on news media reporting guidelines and promoting body diversity

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Abstract

This article contributes to scholarship on the cultural politics of obesity by providing insights into how people considered ‘obese’ think news media reporting should be improved and their views on ideas such as reporting guidelines and promoting body diversity. A thematic analysis of interview data identified the following themes: ‘Challenging stereotypes’, ‘The limits of news’, ‘Individual responsibility’ and ‘Legitimating fat’. These themes capture the divergence in views and reflect differences in how people construct obesity and conceive the influences of media on audiences. Situated in the context of the contested science and news frames surrounding obesity, the analysis also engages with wider debates about the potentially unintended consequences of seeking to challenge stigma. We conclude that media and policy discourses need to reflect a diversity of ways of framing obesity if the views of obese people are to be included.

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Holland, K., Blood, R. W., Thomas, S. L., & Lewis, S. (2015). Challenging stereotypes and legitimating fat: An analysis of obese people’s views on news media reporting guidelines and promoting body diversity. Journal of Sociology, 51(2), 431–445. https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783313480395

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