Multi-level gains of fat activism and their impact on sustained activism for fat justice

Yasemin Gülsüm Acar (Lead / Corresponding author), Özden Melis Uluğ

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Abstract

Previous research has indicated that outcomes of collective action can occur at the individual, group, and societal levels. Taken together, we argue that multi-level outcomes can influence sustained involvement in social movements. We aimed to examine the multi-level outcomes of fat activism across two studies. In our first study, we conducted semi-structured interviews with fat activists (N = 20) to learn what they believe are the multi-level outcomes of fat activism. At the individual level, activists reported greater health, well-being, and self-esteem; at the group level, they reported a sense of community and increased clothing options; and at the societal level, they reported change in toxic cultures around dieting. By building on the findings of Study 1, Study 2 (N = 464) aimed to understand how fat individuals' past collective action participation may predict their future collective action participation through individual-, group-, and societal-level gains. Results indicate that greater collective action participation in the past predicts greater willingness to engage in collective action through the pathway of higher beliefs in individual and societal gains of fat activism, but not through group-level gains, even after we control for identification with fat and fat activist identities. We discuss these findings in relation to the importance of multi-level outcomes in collective action and sustained involvement in social movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalBody Image
Volume43
Early online date22 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Fat activism
  • Social identity
  • Collective action
  • Multi-level outcomes
  • Empowerment
  • Sustained involvement
  • Social change

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