Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2023

Author's School

College of Arts & Sciences

Author's Program

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (A.B.)




While many past scholars have positioned Black women as not having significant body image anxieties, Black women’s experiences with racism, sexism, and fatphobia is deeply rooted in historical narratives of the “acceptable body.” As a result, body image anxieties are prominent among Black women of size. My project investigates the historical and contemporary positioning of self-defined fat Black women and thoroughly interrogates the assumption that they do not have significant body image anxieties. Through the employment of 14 interviews, my project explores how fat Black women perceive their bodies and navigate the world. Additionally, using Lizzo’s media presence as a case study on fat Black women celebrities, I analyze interviews, social media posts, and song lyrics to give insight into the role of status and visibility in shaping fat Black women’s perception of their bodies. The overarching goal of this project is to locate the ways in which fat Black women resist racialized and gendered fatphobia and claim agency within different environments.


Dr. Vetta Thompson-Sanders

Additional Advisors

Dr. Rebecca Lester, Dr. Rebecca Wanzo