LI’L FATTIES: A TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF GENDER, RACE, AND CLASS IDENTITY PORTRAYALS OF OVERWEIGHT AND OBESE CHILDREN IN POPULAR CHILDREN’S FILMS

Open Access
Author:
Guldin, Rachel Elizabeth
Graduate Program:
Media Studies
Degree:
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 14, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Dr Jeanne Lynn Hall, Thesis Advisor
  • Jeanne Lynn Hall, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • children
  • film
  • movie
  • overweight
  • obese
  • fat
  • child
  • race
  • gender
  • class
Abstract:
Overweight and obese characters have and will always be part of society, culture, and narratives. This thesis uses textual analysis to examine the ways in which identities of overweight and obese child characters are constructed and portrayed in children’s films. The findings indicate that overweight and obese children from the sample, which includes films from the past four decades, are likely to be white, working-class males. Females are nearly invisible as compared to boys; black and other raced characters are less present than white characters; and upper-class characters appear less often than working- or lower-class characters and are frequently used in moral judgment.