Diagnosis: Not Adhering to Western Beauty Ideals. Prescription: Shame

A translation project by Daisy Jones and Elizabeth Millar

Excerpt from introduction:

Our project investigates the intersections of the embodiment of fatness and sexuality in a transcultural context. This group of translations investigates the different liberationist frameworks for thinking of fatness and non-normative bodies in the United States and Latin America. Furthermore, it investigates the fetishization of non-normative fat bodies. Through the work of various authors, scholars, and activists, we seek to understand how shame, structured by fatphobia, misogyny, and Western understandings of beauty manifest itself in the experiences of fat liberation activists, and how they subvert and overcome this shame, to transform it into something productive.


Part of this subversion also comes with the subversion of Western beauty standards and ideology. By translating work from English into Spanish, we hoped to disseminate fat liberation activism and information to counteract said Western influence on one’s understanding of beauty. Furthermore, by seeking to understand the work of gay shame activists, we found connections between resistance to internalized homophobia and resistance to internalized fatphobia, to better understand the repressive forces of body- and hetero-normativity.

This picture is taken from Virgie Tovar’s instagram, posted on April 22, 2019. It uses her hashtag #losehatenotweight, featured in her book “You Have the Right to Remain Fat.”

As readers, we are able to extend our understanding of the forces that shame and police bodies and how these forces operate in the Latinx community, by focusing mostly on work of Latinx authors and scholars. By translating these works into Spanish, we hope to transcend a white, US readership to better understand the influence of colonialist beauty ideals and ultimately to reject these ideals. By investigating how fatphobia and the structures that promote it become internalized shame, we can also begin to understand how activists and liberationists are working to subvert these notions of internalized shame, and turn it into something productive and transformative. Sharing these texts in a different language than English might open up the possibility for a wider readership and allow for community formation outside of the boundaries of the US. Furthermore, because fat liberationist frameworks reject hetero/homo normativity, it creates a more inclusive platform that can appeal to many experiences, meaning that our work can be used as a launch pad for community building between other kinds of resistance efforts, including LGBTQ activism.

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