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The Metamorphoses of FatA History of Obesity$
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Georges Vigarello

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159760

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159760.001.0001

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The Dominance of Aesthetics

The Dominance of Aesthetics

(p.141) 16. The Dominance of Aesthetics
The Metamorphoses of Fat

Georges Vigarello

, C. Jon Delogu
Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses how references to weight became ordinary and a widely understood indicator in people’s minds in the nineteenth century. This can be seen in the mention of weights in the literature of a bicycle manufacturer in the 1890s, whose sales pitch made an association between the ideal weight of the bike and the rider: 14–15 kilograms “minimum” for the bike, on condition that the cyclist weighed no more than 70 kilograms “maximum.” Bodily weights and measures became progressively more and more commonplace as technology moved into everyday life. Other practices encouraged an unprecedented attention to nuances. For example, people revealed their bodies more at the end of the nineteenth century, a new habit that incited watchfulness of the adipose, as did public and private pastimes as well as fashion and body care. Becoming big was also talked about in years younger than before, and as something generally unpleasant and ugly.

Keywords:   fat, fat people, weight, fatness, nineteenth century, body exposure, bigness

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