Schooled on Fat: What Teens Tell Us about Gender, Body Image, and Obesity
Nicole Taylor, Director of Scholar Programs, SAR
Colloquium, SAR Boardroom
Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free
Drawing on ethnographic examples from nine months of fieldwork at a southern Arizona high school, Nicole Taylor explores how adolescent boys and girls managed their body size, social status, and identities as body-conscious individuals within the broader social milieu of panic about overweight and obesity in the US. She illustrates how teens developed shared understandings of fat and positioned themselves as relatively thin through linguistic practices such as teasing, gossip, and verbal dueling. These everyday linguistic practices influenced not only teens' self esteem and positioning in the social hierarchy but also their relationships with food and exercise. Taylor addresses policy efforts designed to curb childhood obesity and offers practical strategies for promoting teen wellness.