Docile Femininity:

Repression of Fat Female Body Image in Young Adult Literature




fat studies, body representation, body dysmorphia, size acceptance


Construction of fat bodies in young adult (YA) literature comes up with the interception of cultural negotiation and empowerment of fat female identity. This paper studies the apparatuses that subdue fat bodies in YA novels, examining the fictions published between 2007 and 2019 where fat teens are the protagonists. The study offers a critical reading on eight such novels – Holding up the Universe; The Upside of Unrequited; Puddin’; Skinny; If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period; By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead; There’s Something about Sweetie; Fat Angie – and examines individual and social treatments of fat female bodies in association with sexuality, food, and body surveillance. The analysis highlights normative filters that allocate a separate set of ideas regarding the personal relationships of the large physiques. While their eating habits pass through abusive stereotyped filters, the protagonists fall victims to frequent scrutiny from others and surrender to self-surveillance. The paper reveals that even a surge of fat positive fictions could strengthen weight bias if the texts continue to fill up stories with mere descriptions of the characters’ struggle against existing cultural frameworks. 




How to Cite

Siddique, M. H. . (2021). Docile Femininity:: Repression of Fat Female Body Image in Young Adult Literature. Crossings: A Journal of English Studies, 12, 161–173.