This work is an autoethnographic exploration of the social construction of fatness in contexts of existing and emerging neoliberal state control through the embodied experiences of fat people, following the tradition of ‘fat epistemology’ promoted by the emerging 'critical fat studies' field. It is a comparative study of the experiences of fatness as an unstable embodied category of being, rather than a liminal undesirable state or medical condition, in Cairo, Alexandria, and Tokyo, paying particular attention to the gender, racial, and class dynamics surrounding the construction (and marginalization) of fatness across various spatial and temporal contexts. These experiences are considered in conversation with the urban landscapes inhabited by each interlocutor, and comparative media representations of fatness in Egypt and Japan (media including television shows, commercials, and public comments made by government officials), as well as an exploration of the historical moments oft-referenced in modern debates surrounding the body in both contexts.


School of Global Affairs and Public Policy


Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women's Studies

Degree Name

MA in Gender & Women's Studies

Graduation Date

Fall 2-28-2024

Submission Date


First Advisor

Martina Rieker

Committee Member 1

Ramy Aly

Committee Member 2

Munira Khayyat


133 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item

Available for download on Wednesday, January 21, 2026