The Weight of Images explores the ways in which media images can train their viewers’ bodies. Proposing a shift away from an understanding of spectatorship as being constituted by acts of the mind, this book favours a theorization of relations between bodies and images as visceral, affective engagements that shape our body image - with close attention to one particularly charged bodily characteristic in contemporary western culture: fat. The first mapping of the ways in which fat, gendered bodies are represented across a variety of media forms and genres, from reality television to Hollywood movies, from TV sitcoms to documentaries, from print magazine and news media to online pornography, The Weight of Images contends that media images of fat bodies are never only about fat; rather, they are about our relation to corporeal vulnerability overall. A ground-breaking volume, engaging with a rich variety of media and cultural texts, whilst examining the possibilities of critical auto-ethnography to unravel how body images take shape affectively between bodies and images, this book will appeal to scholars and students of sociology, media, cultural and gender studies, with interests in embodiment and affect.
Dr. Katariina Kyrölä is Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of Turku, Finland. Her current research involves the concept of body image in feminist scholarship, body activist media, pornography, difficult to watch or ‘triggering’ images, and queer indigenous studies. Her work has also appeared journals such as Sexualities, International Journal of Cultural Studies, lambda nordica: the Nordic journal of LGBTQ studies, and is forthcoming in Feminist Theory. She is the co-editor-in-chief of the Finnish Journal of Gender Studies.
'... Kyrola’s new text marks a theoretical contribution to the field of Fat Studies...' Fat Studies 'The Weight of Images brings new and useful theoretical frameworks to bear on fat studies. Kyrola offers nuanced close readings of media representations of fatness, aptly noting how they animate power structures as they interact with viewing bodies. Her analysis of our affective engagements with fat - our fear, disgust, shame, pride, laughter and more - illuminate feminist media studies as well.' Kathleen LeBesco, Marymount Manhattan College, USA
'The representation of fat bodies within media is investigated through an intersectional and feminist lens in The Weight of Images. Special attention is paid to the visceral response that portrayals of fatness invoke in the observer, and how these responses reinforce existing power structures and normative narratives around bodies. The Weight of Images is an important text for critical scholars.' Cat Pausé, Massey University, New Zealand
'... psychologists who have been primarily interested in media representations and not fat ones will find that this focus is revelatory. So, too, will people from public health, sociology, communications, media studies, women’s and gender studies and, of course, from cultural studies. ... This book throws open media doors to show a profusion of images of fatness and an abundance of ideas about their psychological concomitants. ... it is worth digesting.' PsycCritiques
'The book’s thoughtful approach to the concept of body image – understood from a phenomenological approach that is inspired by feminist philosopher Gail Weiss’ excellent work on intercorporeality – will appeal to interdisciplinary scholars who are more broadly interested in understanding corporeality both as it is imaged and as it is lived.' Somatechnics