Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 56

which coincidentally are played by actors who are both fat and unattractive. It is this representation of the person in the fat body, repeated ad nauseum in the entertainment media, that bolsters the stereotype of the fat body, leading to further othering. Knowledge of a bodily discourse is necessary to gain an understanding of the power inherent in the perception of that body. The foundation of the discourse of the fat body is the naturalized connotation of the fat person as untrustworthy, stupid, awkward, and morally bankrupt. With the media providing visual support to this discourse through its portrayals of the person in the fat body as irreparably flawed, how would the fat body ever have a chance to be accepted as equal? With such a discourse attached to the fat body, the person in the fat body has their power removed before they are able to utter a single syllable. This is reminiscent of Foucault’s thoughts that knowledge linked to power not only assumes the authority of “truth,” but also has the power to make itself true (Foucault 134). In this case, the power of the thin body discourse gives those that possess the knowledge of a “bodily truth,” i.e. their thin bodies, power over those with fat bodies that are assumed to be void of such knowledge. In this way, those whose bodies do not reflect truth and therefore power are relegated to a position of powerlessness that leads to othering. All of this is indicative of the fact that it is the discourse, not the subject, that is the producer of knowledge (Foucault 93). The application of the thin body as superior discourse, in effect, others the person in the fat body, thereby negating their ability to change their social standing because the knowledge implied by their bodies does not give them a chance to do so, and they are immediately dismissed as inferior. In the episode “Slash Fiction,” Bobby, Sam, and Dean attempt to torture a captured Leviathan in the hopes of understanding anything about them. This scene is an excellent example of the idea of the powerful thin body and the irreparably flawed fat body. In the first interaction of the season between the Leviathan and Sam and Dean, it quickly becomes apparent that despite being tied to a chair, the Leviathan, much like the person in the thin body, is the one with the power. He is physically powerful, highly intelligent, cool, attractive, and exuding self-confidence. He exhibits no fear of Sam and Dean and continues to remind them of their weakness, stupidity, powerlessness, and the innumerable reasons why humans are inferior to the Leviathan. In addition to being a means of removing its agency, the coding of the fat body’s relationship to food as its major failure is also one of the more powerful ways of othering the fat body. After losing one’s agency, the transition to a place of “other” is achieved by associating the moral qualities of the food the fat body eats with the perceived morality of the person within that 56