Valeria Panina


Violence against women is a pervasive, worldwide phenomenon. Feminist scholars such as Kimberlé Crenshaw have argued that gender intersects with other categories such as race and class to produce different experiences of violence and abuse for different women. This paper explores how size intersects with gender in the verbal and emotional abuse of fat women throughout their lives. Beginning in childhood, fat girls are the targets of bullies who use slurs targeting their weight. As they age, fat women may experience verbal abuse in intimate relationships and even in comments from strangers.

On a subtler level, fat women may also be subject to discrimination by legal and medical professionals. Because of this abuse, they experience a loss of self-esteem that could, in extreme cases, lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The vast array of abuses, and their unfortunate results are created by people who subscribe to cultural ideas about beauty and thinness. There is no doubt that fat women are targeted for violence on a daily basis in a unique way because of the intersection of their gender and size. More qualitative research on this type of violence must be carried out so that fat women’s experiences are validated and awareness of the existence of fatphobic violence is spread.


gendered violence; fatphobia; intersectionality; microaggressions; emotional abuse

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Copyright (c) 2016 Valeria Panina

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