Jason Whitesel

Assistant Professor

Sociology, Ohio State University , Other , 2009
Psychology, Purdue University , Other , 1996

Expertise: Related: Teaching Interests:

Jason Whitesel (Ph.D., Ohio State University) is a Women’s & Gender Studies faculty member at Pace University. His research focuses on gay men’s rigid body image ideal and the resulting intragroup strife among them. His recent book, Fat Gay Men: Girth, Mirth, and the Politics of Stigma (NYUP, 2014), describes events at Girth & Mirth club gatherings and examines how big gay men use campy-queer behavior to reconfigure and reclaim their sullied images and identities.


Big Gay Pals

Aug 8, 2014

Whitesel’s book focuses primarily on Girth and Mirth, a nationwide social club of fat men who hang out with each other to dodge the stressful expectations of the larger gay community. One passage tracking different men’s paths to Girth and Mirth is startlingly moving. One man joined the day he was diagnosed with HIV; another stumbled across an ad for the club while looking for a suicide hotline number. Not every Girth and Mirther, of course, emerged from such dire straits; some merely wanted to socialize without fretting about their bodies. Many—perhaps most; here, Whitesel plays irritatingly coy—just want to have sex.

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