The definitive takedown of fatphobia, drawing on personal experience as well as rigorous research to expose how size discrimination harms everyone, and how to combat it—from the acclaimed author of Down Girl and Entitled
“An elegant, fierce, and profound argument for fighting fat oppression in ourselves, our communities, and our culture.”—Roxane Gay, author of Hunger
For as long as she can remember, Kate Manne has wanted to be smaller. She can tell you what she weighed on any significant occasion: her wedding day, the day she became a professor, the day her daughter was born. She’s been bullied and belittled for her size, leading to extreme dieting. As a feminist philosopher, she wanted to believe that she was exempt from the cultural gaslighting that compels so many of us to ignore our hunger. But she was not.
Blending intimate stories with the trenchant analysis that has become her signature, Manne shows why fatphobia has become a vital social justice issue. Over the last several decades, implicit bias has waned in every category, from race to sexual orientation, except one: body size. Manne examines how anti-fatness operates—how it leads us to make devastating assumptions about a person’s attractiveness, fortitude, and intellect, and how it intersects with other systems of oppression. Fatphobia is responsible for wage gaps, medical neglect, and poor educational outcomes; it is a straitjacket, restricting our freedom, our movement, our potential.
In this urgent call to action, Manne proposes a new politics of “body reflexivity”—a radical reevaluation of who our bodies exist in the world for: ourselves and no one else. When it comes to fatphobia, the solution is not to love our bodies more. Instead, we must dismantle the forces that control and constrain us, and remake the world to accommodate people of every size.
About the Author
Kate Manne is an associate professor of philosophy at Cornell University,where she’s been teaching since 2013. Before that, she was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Manne did her graduate work in philosophy at MIT and is the author of two previous books, Down Girl and Entitled.
“Unshrinking is an incisive polemic that brilliantly dissects fatphobia, the way it encroaches upon our lives, and how ultimately we can, if we are willing, do the challenging work of unlearning damaging ideas about fatness, health, and happiness.”—Roxane Gay, author of Hunger
“A tour de force that only someone with Kate Manne’s particular mix of rigor, clarity, and writerly skill could pull off—Unshrinking is a must-read, no matter your body size, and an unignorable call to action.”—Anne Helen Petersen, author of Can’t Even
“If you have ever struggled to feel safe in your body as it is, or if you have ever wondered who your body is for, Manne has articulated the answer: Our bodies belong to us.”—Virginia Sole-Smith, author of Fat Talk
“An essential book of impossible-to-overstate importance, Unshrinking is a lucid, vital addition to the fat canon.”—Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House
“Kate Manne lays bare the sinister power of fatphobia—its pervasiveness, its roots in anti-Blackness, its shoddy logic—and argues beautifully and clearly for the moral necessity to resist it. Both trenchant and moving, Unshrinking is a long-overdue reckoning and a manifesto for true intersectionality.”—Kimberlé Crenshaw, co-editor of Critical Race Theory
“Trust Kate Manne to provide the clearest statement of one of the major problems of the twenty-first century. Through science, reason, and human experience, she shows us the moral failure of fatphobia, in direct contradiction to the widespread and toxic narrative of fatness as a moral failing.”—Emily Nagoski, author of Come As You Are
“This rich text for the ages is one we should all read, especially if we desire to create a world that treats fat people with more dignity and less disdain.”—Evette Dionne, author of Weightless
“Unshrinking is a deft autoethnographic work that brilliantly weaves together indisputable research with parts of Kate Manne’s own personal story. I am thrilled and thoroughly impressed with the scholarship and pivotal citational practice displayed in this book.”—Da’Shaun Harrison, author of Belly of the Beast
“As someone raised in the era of ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,’ I am beyond grateful to Kate Manne for ushering in the era of Unshrinking. This book is a tasty, tasty takedown of diet culture and a firm-but-gentle guide to finally getting free from fatphobia—individually, collectively, and within society at large. Is it too much to say that Manne has written a big, fat masterpiece?”—Jessica DeFino, writer, The Unpublishable
“Incisive . . . A brave, thought-provoking book. With rigorous research and personal experience, Manne tackles and dismantles fatphobia in all its forms.”—Kirkus Reviews