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I am a student at the Waterford Institute of Technology. I would greatly appreciate any information you could send in relation to the reasons why fat females are no longer socially acceptable, whereas they were a sign of great health and wealth in the past.

I look forward to hearing from you soon

Thank you for your time,



Dear Emma,

You are right that skinny women haven't always been the ideal--nor are they the ideal everywhere. Earlier in this century in the U.S., larger women were more common. As Gloria Steinem has pointed out--rich cultures value thin women, poor cultures value big women--but all cultures value weakness in women. It's a simplistic answer, but I think that it has mostly to do with the media and them presenting this as the ideal and as the norm. The answer isn't to do away with the thin alternative, but to present other options. We can't place all the blame on the media because after all we buy the media. And what the media puts out there is confirmed by what we see in our own lives. To find more specific information, I think that you should read Suzy Orbach's Fat Is A Feminist Issue as well as Joan Brumberg's The Body Project.

Good luck.


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