• Dieting for Salvation: Becoming God by Weighing Less?

      Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2015-12-17)
      This chapter argues that the historical legacy of suspicion towards the body, time and material existence forwarded in much classical theology also lurks behind contemporary cultural assumptions about weight. Drawing on the experiences of dieting women inside one UK secular commercial weight loss group this chapter argues that ancient theological understandings of salvation as a quest for perfection and hope for a future in which the body is reconditioned resurface in this secular context as women seek a similar future where their bodies do not take up so much space. Rendered theologically, salvation emerges as a spurious form of theosis as women’s efforts to remove their weight and freeze their bodies in time forge their bodies in the image of the phallic God. Attending mainly to the difficulties with such salvation narratives, the chapter ends by suggesting that a theological rooting of hope within the crucible of history has the potential to invest women’s present bodies with soteriological value.
    • Does size really matter? A feminist theological response to secular dieting and weight loss

      Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester (T & T Clark, 2011-06-23)
      This chapter examines the principles and practices of secular dieting and Christian thought surrounding the issue of female desire and body image.
    • Fat, syn and disordered eating: The dangers and powers of excess

      Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2015-04-08)
      This article draws on qualitative research inside one UK secular commercial weight loss group to show how ancient Christian suspicions of appetite and pleasure resurface in this group’s language of “Syn.” Following ancient Christian representations of sin, members assume that Syn depicts disorder and that fat is a visible sign of a body which has fallen out of place. Syn, though, is ambiguous, utilizing ancient theological meanings to discipline fat while containing within it the power to resist the very borders which hold women’s bodies and fat in place. Syn thus signals both the dangers and powers of disordered eating.
    • Feminist Theology and Contemporary Dieting Culture: Sin, Salvation and Women’s Weight Loss Narratives

      Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2019-08-08)
      The fat body has increasingly become a site for a confrontation of different ideologies about lifestyle, as it is increasingly stigmatized and concerns about the obesity 'epidemic' create headlines in the newspapers. Weight-loss industries are booming, and the rise in faith-based dieting among Protestant evangelical women in the US evidences a growing relationship between Christian devotion and the pursuit of female thinness. What exactly though is the relationship between Christianity and secular commercial diet plans? Bacon draws on qualitative research conducted inside one UK secular commercial weight loss group to show how Christian religious forms and theological discourses inform contemporary weight-loss narratives. Notions of sin and salvation resurface in secular guise, but in ways that repeat well-established theological meanings. Theological tropes help produce and sustain a set of contradictions and tensions about weight loss which conform the women's bodies to patriarchal norms while simultaneously providing opportunities for women's self-development. Taking into account these tensions, Bacon asks what a specifically feminist theological response to weight loss might look like. If notions of sin and salvation service hegemonic discourses about fat, how might they be rethought to challenge fat phobia and the frenetic pursuit of thinness? While naming as 'sin' principles and practices which diminish women's appetites and bodies, this book gives theological expression to the conviction of many women in the group, that food and the body can be important sites of power, wisdom and transformation.
    • What's right with the Trinity? Conversations in feminist theology

      Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester (Ashgate, 2009-12-18)
      This book discusses the doctrine of the Trinity and the problems it poses for feminist theology.