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Feminist Theology and Contemporary Dieting Culture: Sin, Salvation and Women’s Weight Loss Narratives

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 08 Aug 2019
Hannah Bacon draws on qualitative research conducted inside one UK secular commercial weight loss group to show how Christian religious forms and theological discourses inform contemporary weight-loss narratives. Bacon argues that notions of sin and salvation resurface in secular guise in ways that repeat well-established theological meanings. The slimming organization recycles the Christian terminology of sin - spelt 'Syn' - and encourages members to frame weight loss in salvific terms. These theological tropes lurk in the background helping to align food once more with guilt and moral weakness, but they also mirror to an extent the way body policing techniques in Christianity have historically helped to cultivate self-care. The self-breaking and self-making aspects of women's Syn-watching practices in the group continue certain features of historical Christianity, serving in similar ways to conform women's bodies to patriarchal norms while providing opportunities for women's self-development. Taking into account these tensions, Bacon asks what a specifically feminist theological response to weight loss might look like. If ideas about sin and salvation service hegemonic discourses about fat while also empowering women to shape their own lives, how might they be rethought to challenge fat phobia and the frenetic pursuit of thinness? As well as naming as 'sin' principles and practices which diminish women's appetites and bodies, this book forwards a number of proposals about how salvation might be performed in our everyday eating habits and through the cultivation of fat pride. It takes seriously the conviction of many women in the group that food and the body can be important sites of power, wisdom and transformation, but channels this insight into the construction of theologies that resist rather than reproduce thin privilege and size-ist norms.
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ISBN-13: 9780567659972
ISBN-10: 0567659976
Pagini: 360
Dimensiuni: 138 x 216 x 26 mm
Greutate: 0.44 kg
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția T&T Clark
Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom


Rooted in the real, lived experience of women who diet, this work engages qualitative research with feminist theological reflection

Notă biografică

Hannah Bacon is Acting Head of Theology and Religious Studies and Associate Professor in Feminist and Contextual Theology at the University of Chester, UK.


AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Theology, Food and Fat: a Healthy Recipe? Chapter One: Syn, Danger, and Disordered Desire Chapter Two: Syn, Self-surveillance and Taking Care: Tensions and Ambiguities Chapter Three: Salvation, 'Getting Rid' and 'Getting There' Chapter Four: Rethinking Sin: Sizeism, the Victimization of Food and the Divided SelfChapter Five: Rethinking Salvation: a (Re)turn to 'Sensible' Eating Chapter Six: Rethinking Salvation: Sabbath and Fat Pride Conclusion: For the Love of Food, for the Love of Fat Bibliography Index


In this age of understanding the human body and health mostly through the lens of science, it is easy to forget the long history of religious faith and its influence on contemporary western ideas and practices related to embodiment. In developing a feminist theological philosophy of weight loss, Hannah Bacon does a wonderful job of demonstrating the continuing importance of Christian beliefs in often surprising, but always thought-provoking ways.
Hannah Bacon offers a critical engagement with the pressing issue of women and dieting, which she rightly identifies as a political issue about the control and bounding of women's bodies. What emerges is an incarnational theology that claims women's bodies as bearers of the divine, as sacred. Sheencourages women to enjoy their flesh, offering the Sabbath as a symbol of how women may rest from a battle with their size and the Eucharist as a 'foody' celebration that encourages sensible eating, that is sensuous, communal eating that builds community. This book contributes new insights to the already scarce existing work on the subject - it offers a broader understanding of how slimming groups work and from this a sharp theological analysis which in turn brings to light new ways to understand theology.