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Fighting obesity, sustaining stigma: How can critical metaphor analysis help uncover subtle stigma in media discourse on obesity

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)

Forthcoming
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Abstract

Although the biological and structural influences on obesity have been documented, many healthcare professionals believe that weight is under personal control. Such beliefs are influenced by popular societal representations of obesity, especially the way in which obesity is framed in the media. Using critical metaphor analysis, Atanasova and Koteyko expose how news reporting on obesity typically uses War metaphors and show that the ways in which these metaphors frame the issue can contribute to stigma and unfavourable views of obese individuals. For example, War metaphors typically require that there is an enemy to be fought. However, in the case of obesity (as with other chronic conditions) there is no obvious external entity such as a virus: the enemy to be fought are the patients themselves. This leads to a kind of othering that may explain why obese individuals increasingly report unequal treatment in clinical encounters.