Thesis

From NSA to FWB: big beautiful women and sexual agency online

Big Beautiful Women (BBWs) experience attempts to define and often erase their sexuality that include controlling images and external constructions of these women's sexual aesthetic and sexual agency. The deployment of a white male gaze defines BBWs as being without attraction or desire. While it does construct a stereotypical pose for Black and Latina BBWs, this construction is at the same time contradictory and ambivalent. BBWs are seen as concurrently asexual, aggressive, sexually promiscuous, strong, submissive, sexually experienced and naive. This work privileges voices and experiences of women in an examination of personal ads as constructions of a contradictory white male gaze and productions wherein Black and Latina BBWs reaffirm their beauty, sexual desire and sexual agency. As such, they construct a site of resistance that empowers them as sexual actors. Keywords: Sexuality, Gender, Counter-hegemony, Counter-narrative, Standpoint, Race, Sexual Agency, media

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