What’s Wrong with Fat?

“For those of us wanting a better understanding of the implications of the term ‘fat’ this book deserves a warm welcome. The author questions: Is the ‘war’ on obesity really a war on fat people? Is the 'obesity epidemic' leading us to discriminate on the basis of size? Who decided what is a ‘normal’ weight?" 

What’s Wrong with Fat? Author - Abigail C. Saguy

Abigail C. Saguy is Associate Professor of Sociology and of Gender Studies at UCLA and describes herself as “a cultural sociologist of gender.” 

Review by Jeryl Scurr

Do we demonise fat people? Does the word fat in the title of this book make you uncomfortable, angry or – neither? Why is the word ‘fat’ laden with so many connotations, never more so then in the time of Covid-19?

As written previously,

In “What’s Wrong with Fat?” Professor Saguy looks at the context of fat in America and questions the assumptions made – popular fiction vs truth?

Professor Saguy looks at the moral context in which we present fat people, and the extent to which the obesity crisis is making us fatter, and meaner, as we discriminate, bully and shame – and are encouraged to do so.

The descriptors obesity, fat, fatness are framed in a sociological context (and what are we if not social beings?) and challenged through a combination of anecdote and evidence.


‘…while done in the name of health, the medical framing of fat is literally making us sick.’

“If obesity is a disease why are so many fat people healthy?”

Why I chose “What’s Wrong with Fat?”

In this accessible book Saguy challenges the current discourse on weight with passion – and evidence.  She asks: –

Is fatness a public health crisis as well as a medical problem? Either way, Saguy demonstrates how the perception of fatness has worsened weight-based prejudice and stigma. Required reading for anyone interested in body politics, and who appreciates a sensitive and balanced argument, my personal take away was: –

Is fat a problem that needs to be solved?”

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