Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Chwalisz, Kathleen


A paucity of psychological research exists on the topic of fatphobia, a type of pervasive oppression that occurs for people with plus-size, large, and/or fat bodies. Much of the research that exists about fatphobia focuses on medical ideals, the associated weight stigma, and how these are related to fat people’s physical health. Medical researchers have determined that weight stigma is actually more harmful to fat people's health than being fat. Fatphobia impacts women at disproportionate rates. Plus-sized, queer, lesbian, bisexual, and pansexual (LGBTQ+) women may be at a heightened risk for experiencing marinization as a result of their intersecting identities compounding the effects of fatphobia. The purpose of this study was to use a qualitative, grounded theory approach to explore LGBTQ+ women’s experiences of fatphobia, and how these experiences impact their romantic relationships. Four themes emerged from the data: (a) fatphobic is chronic and pervasive in the lives of fat, queer women, (b) fatphobic experiences begin in childhood and continue into adulthood, and are perpetrated by close family and friends, as well as strangers, (c) chronic experiences of fatphobia create negative mental and physical health outcomes for fat, queer women, and (d) intentional body work is used to help fat, queer women cope with and respond to chronic oppression. Suggestions for how healthcare workers and therapists can support fat, queer women engage in intentional body work are provided.




This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.