The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia : Short Wave Where does our preference for thinness really come from? As Sabrina Strings explains in her book, Fearing the Black Body, the answer is much more complicated than health or aesthetics. She argues the origins of modern day fat phobia can be traced all the way back to slavery, and Black people are still dealing with the consequences.
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Fat Phobia And Its Racist Past And Present

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Fat Phobia And Its Racist Past And Present

Fat Phobia And Its Racist Past And Present

Fat Phobia And Its Racist Past And Present

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A 19th century illustration from Fearing the Black Body, titled The Hottentot Venus in the Salon of the Duchess of Berry, by Sebastien Coeure. Sara Baartman was an enslaved woman whose voluptuous physique was displayed in exhibitions in England and France. Sabrina Strings explains in her book how this helped contribute to the idea that fatness was related to blackness. NYU Press hide caption

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NYU Press

A 19th century illustration from Fearing the Black Body, titled The Hottentot Venus in the Salon of the Duchess of Berry, by Sebastien Coeure. Sara Baartman was an enslaved woman whose voluptuous physique was displayed in exhibitions in England and France. Sabrina Strings explains in her book how this helped contribute to the idea that fatness was related to blackness.

NYU Press

Where does our preference for thinness really come from?

As Sabrina Strings explains in her book, Fearing the Black Body, the answer is much more complicated than health or aesthetics. She argues that the origins of modern-day fat phobia can be traced all the way back to slavery and that Black people are still dealing with the consequences.

Follow Sabrina on Twitter @SaStrings and read her op-ed discussed in the interview here.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Yowei Shaw, fact-checked by Rebecca Ramirez, and edited by Deborah George.