Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2011 Cecilia Márquez. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Black Studies Program


Blackness and fatness, while different experiences of marginalization, are deeply intertwined in the systems of oppression that perpetuate them. With the recognition that fatness and blackness are far from mutually exclusive subject positions, by looking at the experience of blackness and the experience of fatness we can see how systems of racism and fat phobia are supported and perpetuated in similar ways. While neither fatness nor blackness are primarily defined by their experiences of marginalization, the author believes it is on those marginal spaces created by some shared structural experiences of oppression that overlaps will become apparent. Rather than making unproductive comparisons and rankings of the experiences of fatness and blackness, this thesis puts the two identity positions in conversation with each other to look for sites of resistance that can be appropriated from both communities. Some of the ways that fatness and blackness intersect are the hyper (in)visibility of fatness and blackness, mistreatment and abuse from the medical industry, biological movements to "cure" inherent flaws like the "obesity epidemic" and eugenics movement, and contested motherhood that both, black and fat mothers experience. Also in common is the belief, rooted in white supremacy, of bodily markings of excess—whether it be sexual excess marked by race or other types of excess marked by body size. Finally, blackness and fatness intersect in the experiences of economic oppression based on the subject position.


Critical Race Theory, African Americans Health Issues, American Obesity, Societal Expectations for body image