Author Mekdela examines fatphobia and its never-ending cycle against young bodies

In an interview with CultureShift’s Tia Graham and Amanda LeClaire, Mekdela discusses fatphobia in today’s society.

Person weighs themself on the weight scale

Social media posts, vlogs and podcasts are all chatting about a body trend many hope will never return.

Being overly thin.

In the past year, there have been a lot headlines about fatphobia. Multiple outlets including, Insider, The Guardian and Washington Post, have all discussed the alarming trend that “thin” might be “in” again.

Mekdela is an Ethiopian-American writer, advocate and organizer. She is a contributor of the anthology, “Pan African Spaces: Essays on Black Transnationalism.” She is also the author of “Plus Size: A Memoir of Pop Culture, Fatphobia and Social Change.” The book takes a look at the uneasy truth of America’s ever-changing, ever-evolving relationship with fat.

Ethiopian-American writer, advocate and organizer Mekdela.

In an interview on CultureShift, Mekdela says our relationship with bodies has always been tied to society trends.

“We saw a lot of fat women specifically in like the artwork, at that time in that time period,” says Mekdela. And we can even look back at the art and see that was the standard of beauty.”

We can look back at history and see how bodies told your place in society.

“We had the transatlantic slave trade, right when Europeans went to Africa and they started enslaving people,” Mekdela sats. “And also there was that switch, where now rich people tend to be very thin.”

Through television, movies, books, and now social media, the need to mold oneself to fit an ideal image has taken on a new form in our society.

Listen to the interview in its entirety at the top of the page.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.