Intersectionality Gets Fashionably Fat

Arts-Based Approaches to Gender, Fat and Fashion


  • May Friedman Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Calla Evans
  • Ben Barry



fat studies, arts-based research, fashion, gender identity, representation


The authors’ research project, Sizing Up Gender, explored the experiences of thirteen participants at the intersections of gender expression and fat. Through a series of photographs of participants and their garments, the project pushed the boundaries of art, identities, representations, and research. This article seeks to consider the ways in which innovative arts-based practice with a deep focus on justice and anti-oppression can allow for a thickening of intersectionality research. The blending of art and research practices, such as those under discussion here, can simultaneously maintain a commitment to the genesis of intersectionality’s critical potential while allowing the term to evolve and consider heretofore undiscussed terrain. 

Author Biographies

May Friedman, Toronto Metropolitan University

May Friedman works as a faculty member in Social Work and Fashion. Drawing on a range of arts-based methods, including digital storytelling as well as analyses of treasured garments, May has explored meaning making and representation in relation to embodiment and experience.  

Calla Evans

Calla Evans is a fat activist and digital storytelling facilitator at Re•Vision: The Centre for Art & Social Justice. Calla has a long history as a feminist photographer, and much of Calla’s research explores how communities visually perform their identities through photography.

Ben Barry

Ben Barry is the Dean of Fashion at the Parsons School of Design and a faculty member at Toronto Metropolitan University. The use of arts as a method of inquiry, analysis, and dissemination, and specifically fashion arts, has shaped Ben’s scholarship for the past eight years. 



How to Cite

Friedman, M., Evans, C., & Barry, B. (2023). Intersectionality Gets Fashionably Fat: Arts-Based Approaches to Gender, Fat and Fashion. Art/Research/International:/A/Transdisciplinary/Journal, 8(1), 173–204.