Social constructions of fatness: legal proceedings in Canada as a case in point
Hanson, B. (2018). Social constructions of fatness: Legal Proceedings in Canada as a case in point. Disability & Society, 33(6), 954–973.
This article uses reports of cases of Canadian legal processes to explore social constructions of fatness as disability, as well as illness, cultural aesthetic, and blame. The review of cases in Canadian human rights, civil, administrative, and employment law suggests that fatness has been constructed as a disability in Canadian law. This has led to favourable outcomes for fat persons seeking redress for discrimination. Illness, cultural aesthetic, and blame also surface as recurrent themes. To consider all four themes, a concept of mythopoeia – myth-making process – is introduced. This adds to models of social construction by focusing on where ‘un-reality’ is constructed in a non-hierarchical view of marginal identities. Fatness constructions/mythopoeia of disability, illness, cultural aesthetic, and blame overlap as well as diverge. This suggests that fatness may be an incomplete fit with current classifications in human rights law.