Title

Communicating Stigma about Body Size

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2013

Abstract

Body-size stigma is a well-documented phenomenon, particularly for large bodies (Puhl & Brownell, 2003), but few studies have investigated the features of body-related stigma communication. This article uses Smith's (2007a) stigma communication framework to analyze descriptions of male and female bodies of various sizes for their stigma content. Analyses reveal that elements of stigma communication appeared in 46.5% of comments across all bodies. The most common elements of stigma communication were severe labeling and negative comparison to body ideals. The most stigmatized body was the large male body; the second most stigmatized body was the very small female body. This article shows that stigmatizing communication occurs across the spectrum of body sizes for both genders. The implications of weight-based stigma communication on emotional and physical health are discussed. Implications for future health communication interventions aimed at decreasing body size stigma are presented.

Publication Title

Health Communication

Volume

28

Issue

6

First Page

603

Last Page

615

DOI of Published Version

10.1080/10410236.2012.706792

Publisher

Taylor & Francis