Date of Thesis

Spring 4-3-2012

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

[Christopher Ellis]

Abstract

Chris Christie recently visited the famous “Wailing Wall” in Jerusalem, Israel, during his first trip abroad as governor of New Jersey. The New York Post reported on his trip with the headline “The Whale at the Wall” (Campanile 2012). Given headlines like this, it is easy to see anecdotal evidence of the stigmatization that surrounds obesity within contemporary American society. What’s more important is that these social stigmas that Americans are faced with every day are not merely surface level jokes bantered about for a cheap laugh. They are often prejudices that permeate every aspect of human life. Whether it comes to finding a date, looking for a job, or trying to be taken serious by one’s peers, weight is always a topic of concern. In an effort to understand how far entrenched these biases are in society, this thesis studies the ramifications of obesity in politics. In this thesis, I attempt to understand to what extent, if any, obesity matters in regard to candidate appearance, voters' choices, and political behavior.

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