Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Jenkins, Pamela

Second Advisor

Luft, Rachel

Third Advisor

Mann, Susan

Fourth Advisor

Baxter, Vern


In this paper, I expand on poststructuralist and feminist theories of the body, gender, and subjectivity through an analysis of media discourse on childhood obesity. Through textual and narrative analyses of news segments on childhood obesity, I demonstrate that the obese child's body, as an abnormal body, is represented as a text of the 'abnormal' conditions in which that body is produced. Thus, the single-mother family structure and/or nonwhite and working class families -- families saturated with the excessive, out-of-control subjectivity of the Other-- are visible on the excessive, out-ofcontrol body of the obese child. I will argue that the discourse surrounding childhood obesity is indicative of a moral panic, where children's bodies are used to express a fear of the destabilization of the normative family structure and a fear of an irrational, excessive, over-consuming society saturated with the subjectivity of the Other.


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