The simplicity of fat?: Assessing the efficacy of anti-obesity campaigns from a fat studies and feminist perspective
LE3 .A278 2016
Bachelor of Arts
This thesis examines the messages in two anti-obesity campaigns: Coca-Cola’s Coming Together advertisement and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign webpage. I explore the messages, both visual and textual, that are portrayed in these campaigns and then explain how these messages negatively impact the targeted fat population. Very little research has explored the implicit messages portrayed in these two anti-obesity campaigns. The purpose of this study is to critically evaluate their subtle biases against fat people and to evaluate how they promote weight loss while potentially causing psychological harm. In order to get a better understanding of how messages about fatness are circulated, this research examines two case studies: Coca-Cola’s Coming Together anti-obesity advertisement and Michelle Obama’s Lets Move! Campaign. A multimodal critical discourse analysis was conducted on Coca-Cola’s advertisement and the Learn The Facts About Let’s Move! and Take Action Simple Steps To Success webpages on Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move website. The themes of the codes emerged from my data. The most common code that occurred in the Coming Together advertisement was company publicity, and the codes that are believed to be the most detrimental to fat individuals was individual responsibility and negative context. The emerging themes that developed from the multimodal critical discourse analysis was the idea that there is a simple solution to ending obesity and that parents, specifically mothers, are the ones responsible for childhood obesity. Further research should be conducted in order to broaden the spectrum of anti-obesity campaigns analyzed and these should be contrasted with body acceptance and body diversity campaigns in order to show which type of campaigns have more positive effects on the targeted fat individuals
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