Project Title

I'm a Real Girl! - Patriarchy and the Dehumanization of Fat Women in Theatre

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

COTA - Theatre and Performance Studies

Faculty Sponsor Name

Angela Farr Schiller

It is not required for my project.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Historically, American society has rooted itself in patriarchy, a system in which men dominate and police female bodies in order to control and define the social value of women. This extends into the present American media that support dominant expectations of proper femininity created by patriarchy. Fat women do not adhere to the standards of womanhood created by men for male pleasure; therefore, fat women exist as “others” in American culture due to their fatness. This project, The Dehumanization of Fat Women in Theatre, seeks to examine this issue in the landscape of American theatre and emphasize theatre’s othering of fat women through a close reading of the Off-Broadway play Fat Pig by Neil Labute. The project argues that in Fat Pig, Labute crafts Helen as a victim of her own fatness and a subhuman “other” to all those around her; the ultimate message of the play reinforces fat oppression and rejects fat women as humans. This project concludes that American culture must relinquish its grasp on patriarchal beauty standards in order to acknowledge fat women’s true humanity and dismantle the barriers between women of all sizes.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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I'm a Real Girl! - Patriarchy and the Dehumanization of Fat Women in Theatre

Historically, American society has rooted itself in patriarchy, a system in which men dominate and police female bodies in order to control and define the social value of women. This extends into the present American media that support dominant expectations of proper femininity created by patriarchy. Fat women do not adhere to the standards of womanhood created by men for male pleasure; therefore, fat women exist as “others” in American culture due to their fatness. This project, The Dehumanization of Fat Women in Theatre, seeks to examine this issue in the landscape of American theatre and emphasize theatre’s othering of fat women through a close reading of the Off-Broadway play Fat Pig by Neil Labute. The project argues that in Fat Pig, Labute crafts Helen as a victim of her own fatness and a subhuman “other” to all those around her; the ultimate message of the play reinforces fat oppression and rejects fat women as humans. This project concludes that American culture must relinquish its grasp on patriarchal beauty standards in order to acknowledge fat women’s true humanity and dismantle the barriers between women of all sizes.