How racism ended a renaissance of weight
- July 8, 2022
- Sabrina Strings, sociology, WNYC Studios, July 8, 2022
Back in the 16th century, a question captured Europe’s artistic and philosophical elite: what is beauty? Proportions, facial features, and fat were all dissected in search of the divine ideal. The answers, left for us in the form of Renaissance art, offer a snapshot of a society that valued women of luminous variety, and especially those of weight. But something started to change around the beginning of the 18th century. Brooke sits down with Sabrina Strings, sociologist at University of California, Irvine, and author of Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia, to discuss how, in both the brushstrokes and philosophy of the Enlightenment, fatness began to fall out of favor —and why.