"No matter what, we must eat to live": food feelings and body image in contemporary women's literature in Canada

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University of New Brunswick


What if loving our bodies was not revolutionary? What if, rather, being happy with our bodies, no matter what they looked like, was the norm? Through its analysis of Saleema Nawaz’s Bone and Bread (2013), Tracey Lindberg’s Birdie (2015), and Mona Awad’s 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (2016), this thesis explores the ways that women authors in Canada write back against diet cultures and body shaming, and, in turn, depict positive and healing relationships between individuals, their bodies, and food. With today’s proliferation of technology amongst youth, people as young as elementary school-aged children can access fatphobic messaging through the glorification of thin ‘Influencers’ on platforms such as Instagram, Netflix, and YouTube. In response to this era of unlimited technological access, this thesis uses these three novels to shift the cultural focus from body- and food-shaming, and to, instead, promote self-acceptance and self-love.