On Fat Female Embodiment: Narratives of ‘Coming Out as Fat’

Rachele Salvatelli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, I propose an interpretation of the “coming out” narrative, focusing on the notion of “fat” and the “otherness” implicitly required in the process. On one hand, the “otherness” needed in the public act of “coming out” reinforces the idea that identity formation cannot be achieved as an act of solipsistic self-affirmation. This means that fat identity can be renegotiated and redefined. On the other, in saying “I am fat”, a woman is putting in place an act of rebellion against the compulsory thin-bodiedness. She has stopped perceiving her body as a project, as a “not-thin-yet” body, also dismantling the notion that her always-hypervisible fat body is something else than her mind. She is fat, does not merely have fat. Aided by the preliminary findings of my fieldwork, I illustrate how fat women who refer to themselves as “fat” have developed a better understanding and a better relationship with their fat, female body. This paper, by closely examining the potentialities of the “coming out as fat” process, sheds new light on the rarely acknowledged issue of empowerment in relation to fat embodiment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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