Precious Opportunities: Black Girl Stories and Resistance Pedagogies as Critical Race Feminist Responses to the Childhood Obesity Epidemic Open Access

Davis-Faulkner, Sheri (2012)

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Precious Opportunities: Black Girls Stories and Resistance
Pedagogies as Critical Race Feminist Responses to the
Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Black girls have been featured throughout the "real" genre of televisual media as
universal representatives of obese youth in America. Statistically, they are the
youth population with the highest prevalence of obesity. Precious Opportunities
is attentive to the treatment of black girls bodies within the "childhood obesity"
visual narrative through a critical examination of commercial mass media. This
dissertation is organized around four major areas: American consumer culture,
feminist body theory, critical race theory, and resistance pedagogy. Using a
critical race feminist framework, this project seeks to challenge the framing of
"childhood obesity" within popular media. It also challenges neoliberal
recommendations that individual youth simply "eat better" and "workout." The
dissertation argues that the fiercening of capitalism and expansion of media
conglomerates through acquisitions has significantly influenced individual
decision-making and consumer choice. A multi-sited media ethnography, it
begins with a content analysis of Too Fat for Fifteen: Fighting Back, the first
televised reality series dedicated to "childhood obesity," followed by an
interrogation of corporate actions by primary parent companies involved with the
series. Precious Opportunities advances humanities-based responses to the
framing of childhood obesity in a "pedagogy of mass consumption." The first
response explores the treatment of black girls' bodies within black feminist
literature as an alternative to televisual media. Using Sapphire's novel Push as a
counterstory, it analyzes "childhood obesity" from the perspective of Precious
Jones, a fat black girl protagonist. The second response engages youth directly in
an eight-week summer camp, Camp Carrot Seed. As a "pedagogy for social
change" it offered a group of black teenagers opportunities to develop multiple
literacies including: organic gardening, grocery shopping, cooking, creative
expression, and environmental stewardship in exchange for studying their
decision-making regarding food and physical activity.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


The "Childhood Obesity Epidemic" as a Pedagogy of Mass Consumption 1

Chapter 1
Critical Race Feminist Praxis: Advancing a Critical Race Feminist Intervention
in Media Studies 25

Chapter 2
As Seen On TV: Looking Within the Frame at the Official Story 55

Chapter 3
800lb Media Gorilla: A Fierce Critical Interrogation of Corporate Troubles
at Home 106

Chapter 4
Recovering a Precious Presence: A Critical Race Feminist Literary Response 151

Chapter 5
Camp Carrot Seed: Embodied Epistemology and a Pedagogy for Social Change
as Ethnographic Practice 190

List of Figures 232


About this Dissertation

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