1st Edition

Fat Religion Protestant Christianity and the Construction of the Fat Body

    142 Pages
    by Routledge

    142 Pages
    by Routledge

    Fat Religion: Protestant Christianity and the Construction of the Fat Body explores how Protestant Christianity contributes to the moralization of fat bodies and the proliferation of practices to conform fat bodies to thin ideals.

    Focusing primarily on Protestant Christianity and evangelicalism, this book brings together essays that emphasize the role of religion in the ways that we imagine, talk about, and moralize fat bodies. Contributors explore how ideas about indulgence and restraint, sin and obedience are used to create and maintain fear of, and animosity towards, fat bodies. They also examine how religious ideology and language shape attitudes towards bodily control that not only permeate Christian weight-loss programs, but are fundamental to secular diet culture as well. Furthermore, the contributors investigate how religious institutions themselves attempt to define and control the proper religious body. This volume contributes to the burgeoning field of critical fat studies by underscoring the significance of religion in the formation of historical and contemporary meanings and perceptions of fat bodies, including its moralizing role in justifying weight bias, prejudice, and privilege.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society.


    Lynne Gerber, Susan Hill and LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant

    Introduction: Religion and Fat = Protestant Christianity and Weight Loss? On the Intersections of Fat Studies and Religious Studies

    Lynne Gerber, Susan Hill and LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant

    1. Fat, Syn, and Disordered Eating: The Dangers and Powers of Excess

    Hannah Bacon

    2. Guilt-Free and Sinfully Delicious: A Contemporary Theology of Weight Loss Dieting

    Emily J. H. Contois

    3. The Christian Dieter’s Dilemma: Abundance and Restriction in Two Christian Weight Loss Programs

    Lynne Gerber

    4. God’s Diets: The Fat Body and the Bible as an Eating Guide in Evangelical Christianity

    Fabio Parasecoli

    5. Pounds Off for Jesus: Oral Roberts University and the Fat Body, 1976 to 1978

    Jonathan Root

    6. Christianity, Fat Talk, and Samoan Pastors: Rethinking the Fat-Positive-Fat-Stigma Framework

    Jessica Hardin

    7. Good News: A Sermon on Fat Justice

    Mycroft Masada


    Lynne Gerber is independent scholar in San Francisco, USA.

    Susan Hill is Professor and head of the Department of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, USA.

    LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant is Professor of Africana Studies at Williams College (Williamstown, USA) and founder of ConjureGirlBlue Productions, a media company specializing in short form storytelling.