The purpose of this paper is to analyse the representations and experiences of beauty amongst fat women to understand how females located outside of the normative ideal consume, express, challenge and resist “straight” beauty.
A netnographic approach is taken to analyse 922 blog posts written by five female “fatshionistas” who play a significant role in the Australian fat activism movement.
The research findings illustrate that fatshionistas (re)negotiate cultural notions of beauty through three performative acts – coming out as fat, mobilising fat citizenship and flaunting fat.
The study demonstrates how beauty is negotiated as a mode of praxis, a performance in the interaction of day‐to‐day life, whereby the possibilities for multiple and provisional beauties are highlighted.
Given the active participation of those outside of the idealised form in “mainstream” beauty consumption, practitioners should make visible multiple bodily representations that are not reduced to an unhelpful construction of what is considered to be “real”.
By emphasising the lived experience of beauty as something subjective, communal and resistant, this research poses a challenge to mainstream marketing that constructs beauty as normative, singular and conformist. The paper further calls for a “queering” of the gender research agenda within marketing to better interrogate the linkages between an individual's fluid and contested identity work, consumption and marginalised or excluded status within the marketplace.
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