Feminist Friday to feature ’embracing fat as a feminist and rhetorical issue’


Feminist Friday speaker Chuck Wongus, a graduate student assistant and the leadership education and development adviser for the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement, led a discussion Feb. 21 over the use of improv in social movements.

Loretta Mcgraw

This week’s Feminist Friday will feature speaker Amanda Arp, a graduate student from the Department of English.

The discussion will take place at 1 p.m. in the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity over the topic “Embracing Fat as a Feminist and Rhetorical Issue.”

Arp’s involvement in women and gender studies and learning of the impacts of that language in shaping discrimination have given her a unique perspective of which she hopes to teach those in attendance about.

“Weight-based discrimination can pop up in a variety of places,” Arp said. “It might be in how someone was bullied growing up, it could be in just the day-to-day experiences, it could also be in personal relationships, often times that sort of thing happens between parents. There is a lot of societal pressure to be the perfect size, so weight-based discrimination could be on either end of the spectrum, though people on the heavier end tend to get it worse simply because thinner, more athletic, is more preferred in our society, it’s closer to the beauty ideal.”

Weight-based discrimination tends to run rampant, stemming from weight-based stigma, prejudice and biases, which translate into the mistreatment of people. The American legal system offers strikingly limited recourse for people who have been treated unfairly because of their size and leaves it up to states to regulate, according to the Washington Post.

Friday’s discussion will be interactive and request those in attendance to recall some of their experiences in which language was used towards them or someone they know. In addition to a history of the idea of the fat body as a feminist issue, specifically about how it influences, the discussion will also touch on some more recent movements of body positivity accelerated in modern society, with models like Ashley Graham and singer-songwriter, rapper and flautist Lizzo. 

“Lizzo is an excellent showcase of some body-positive messages in our modern-day society, which is part of why I think she’s gotten some traction,” Arp said. “That’s an example of a larger society having some judgment or opinions about the way people with fat bodies should act.”

Feminist Fridays are free and open to the public. They offer an array of complimentary snacks as well as a unique discussion through a feminist lens for those in attendance.