How to Fight Fatphobia


'Required reading for everyone who lives in an unruly human body... elegant, fierce, and profound' Roxane Gay

Size discrimination harms everyone. Acclaimed philosopher Kate Manne shows how to combat it.

For as long as she can remember, Kate Manne has wanted to be smaller. She can tell you what she weighed on any significant occasion: her wedding day, the day she became a professor, the day her daughter was born. She's been bullied and belittled for her size, leading to extreme dieting. As a feminist philosopher, she wanted to believe that she was exempt from the cultural gaslighting that compels so many of us to ignore our hunger. But she was not.

Blending intimate stories with trenchant analysis, Manne shows why fatphobia matters, now more than ever. Over the last decades, bias has waned in every category except one: body size. Here she examines how anti-fatness operates – how it leads us to make devastating assumptions about a person's attractiveness, fortitude and intellect, and how it intersects with other systems of oppression. Fatphobia is responsible for wage gaps, medical neglect and poor educational outcomes. It is a straitjacket, restricting our freedom, our movement, our potential. Fatphobia is a social justice issue.

In this urgent call to action, Manne proposes a new politics of ‘body reflexivity’ -- a radical re-evaluation of who our bodies exist in the world for: ourselves and no one else. When it comes to fatphobia, the solution is not to love our bodies more. Instead, we must dismantle the forces that control and constrain us, and remake the world to accommodate people of every size.


  • A potent and unsettling piece of social philosophy... As a polemic, Unshrinking works. Manne’s case for the harmfulness of fatphobia is compelling. But the book’s greatest strength is its author’s personal narrative and the sense of justified grievance that runs through the prose like a line of fire... Unshrinking demonstrates amply the importance of aspiring to care a little less about the unruly behaviour of our irrepressible flesh
    Times Literary Supplement

About the author

Kate Manne

Kate Manne is a philosopher, writer and associate professor at Cornell University. Her research is primarily in moral, social and feminist philosophy and she has written on moral and political topics for The New York Times, The Boston Review, the Huffington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Times Literary Supplement. The author of the acclaimed books Entitled and Down Girl, she was named one of the ‘World's Top 10 Thinkers’ by Prospect magazine.
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