Class notes 11/14

Author Presentation on Courtney Martin, by Allie

Class analysis of Marie Claire article “Forced to Be Fat,” divided by sections

Section 1

  • Rhetoric/language used in the introduction invokes repulsion, disgust
  • “summer camp” – establishes author as writing from a western, privileged perspective

Section 2

  • establishes history of the country/tradition of force-feeding
  • further shows bias: western ideals as “progress,” native traditions as barbaric, uncivilized, unfathomable

Section 3

  • “The recommended consumption for a healthy 12-year-old girl averages 1500  calories; an adult male bodybuilder eats up to 4000” (4) – what does healthy mean? For which 12 year old girls is this statistic true? What’s the source? Why is “an adult male bodybuilder” the unmarked body used for comparison?
  • Force-fed girls’ intake between 14,000 and 16,000 calories a day – despite the problematic way this is presented, it is undeniably a large amount of food
  • Tijanniya represents only her own stories/opinions, not those of an entire population

Section 4

  • Child marriage practices
  • Characterization of witnesses: Elhacen is “droopy-eyed” and fat, Aminetou is a “feisty, pencil-thin” woman,

Section 5

  • Fat babies are cute, but fat children are a huge social crisis
  • Dr. G’s quote of the day: “There’s all kinds of ways that babies are cute.”
  • Cultural differences: women are have “traditional roles – cooking, staying indoors, and staying fat to keep men happy”


  • Author’s perspective is (maybe unconsciously) limited by a Western perspective
  • Mauritania and the US have the same problems but with reverse effects: which is worse?
  • Food consumption is highly political – Thanksgiving example
  • Political implications of cartography – America-centered models
  • “First” and “third” worlds = Global north & global south

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