'Do I Still Belong Here?' The Body's Boundary Work in the Israeli Fat Acceptance Movement

Maya Maor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Boundary work is important in all social movements, but the instability of bodily-based categories makes boundary work particularly complicated in movements where bodily attributes are key to identity formation. Many Anglo-American fat acceptance groups have attempted to draw boundaries on the basis of two 'ideal fat subjects': one with a stable, unitary 'resisting' consciousness and/or one based on excluding those who are not 'really' fat or fat 'enough.' The former excludes members who display ambiguity or ambivalence in relation to accepting their bodies, while the latter excludes members seen as not fat enough to participate. In contrast, the Israeli fat acceptance community establishes its boundaries based on shared negative social reactions to body size. This increases its ability to tolerate ambiguity and contradictions among members, and to accept members who do not fit into fixed bodily identity categories. Simultaneously, this collective identity poses other problems, like reducing members to their identity as fat and encouraging constant preoccupation with weight or social oppression based on body size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-297
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Movement Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • Boundary work
  • Israel
  • body
  • fat acceptance
  • social movement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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