Conference Paper

“Make It Work”: Riot Grrrls and the Reclamation of the Fat Body Through Fashion


Lauren Downing Peters

SKY Doctoral Course: Representation (Helsinki University)


Representations of fat people in the Western media are geared toward pathologizing their corpulence and marginalizing them as lazy, incompetent and unattractive. As such, one of the principal goals of the “new wave” of fat activism has been to reclaim fatness as a legitimate identity marker through artistic and critical interventions. This paper will examine one such space in which this process has occurred: fat acceptance Riot Grrrl zines. As my own research emerges from the field of fashion studies, I will investigate how fashion is employed as a pointed trope within these documents to articulate the fat experience and to foreground how the fashion industry marginalizes fat women. Thus, by reframing zines such as I’m So Fucking Beautiful (1991) and Figure 8 (2001-2009) as fashion documents, I will demonstrate how they present a counter-discourse to the normativizing thrust of mainstream fashion media in the struggle to reclaim fat identity.

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  • Type:
    Conference Paper (other)
  • Conference:
    Sky Doctoral Course: Representation (Helsinki University)
  • Published:
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About the Author

Lauren Downing Peters

Lauren Downing Peters is a PhD student at the Centre for Fashion Studies. Prior to beginning her studies at the Centre, Lauren graduated summa kum laude from Washington University in St. Louis where she received her BA in art history and anthropol... Read more


Downing Peters, L. (2014). “Make It Work”: Riot Grrrls and the Reclamation of the Fat Body Through Fashion. In: SKY Doctoral Course: Representation (Helsinki University).