Failing Women: An Ethnography About the Experiences of Women with Larger Body Sizes in Southern Ontario Health Care Settings

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Mcallister, Morgan Kaile




This thesis explores the experiences of fat women in Southern Ontario health care settings and their relationships with their bodies. It is an ethnography of thirteen women who identify as curvy or fat and currently use Canadian medical care. It shows how fat women's relationships with their bodies are multifaceted and shaped by external influences, and the ways they experience denial in their access to health care because of their body size. This thesis ultimately points to how historical and cultural constructions of body size ideologies, power relations, and understanding of the physical form as a determinant of "health" impact fat women's health and well-being through structural violence and biases in health care. It argues that there is a need for fat cultural safety programs, along with other changes to current practices to improve care, and, as a result, the health and well-being of people with larger body sizes.


Medical and Forensic Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology
Public Health




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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