Blog post

Male gaze

March 11, 2021
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By Rachel Thomas

Shrink is an in-progress graphic novel that chronicles a journey from the ‘morbidly obese’ body into the ‘fit and healthy’ body, and the anxiety-ridden space created by medical and social expectations. At its core it negotiates the experience of fatness, and how Western culture seeks to frame this body type (both in positive and negative lights). Further it discusses the anxiety of either gaining weight or losing weight; options that, in a society of contradictory schools of thought on body size and health, are becoming more convoluted.

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References: 

Bordo, S. “The body and the reproduction of femininity” in Unbearable weight: feminism, western culture, and the body (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993): 165-185  

Garland-Thompson, R. “A social relationship” in Staring: how we look (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009): 33-47  

Lupton, D. “Governing fat bodies” in Fat (New York: Routledge, 2013): 32-49  

Prohaska, A., Gailey, J. “Fat women as ‘easy targets’: achieving masculinity through hogging” in eds Rothblum, E., and Solovay, S. The Fat Studies Reader (New York: New York University Press, 2009): 158-165  


About the author

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Rachel Thomas is a doctoral candidate at Concordia's Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture (CISSC). Her research blurs the boundaries between traditional media, technology and bio-fabrication, centred around the medicalized body with specific focus on women's health. Using heuristic research strategies, she seeks to open discourses between the objective medical gaze and the subjective patient experience. Her current work is a graphic novel exploring the impact of medical and social gazes on obese women as a means to promote accessibility of new research outside of the academic sphere.


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