Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Women's and Gender Studies

Degree Program

Women's and Gender Studies, MA

Committee Chair

Caldwell, Anne

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Theriot, Nancy

Committee Member

Theriot, Nancy

Committee Member

Griffin, Jo Ann

Author's Keywords

Origin stories; Cyborg; Transgender; Fat; Feminism


This project draws upon the work of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Donna Haraway to critically analyze the political power and utility of origin stories as they are used within discourses of identity. I specifically examine the dominant cultural and counter-origin stories of transgender and fat bodies and argue that the counter origin stories constructed by both trans and fat studies/activism continue to engage with norms that regulate identity. These regulations create an impossible situation for individuals who are both trans and fat as they are not recognized as intelligible subjects within either category due to their lack of appropriate origin story. I argue that the fat/trans subject is an example of Haraway’s cyborg figure and offer an alternative approach to identity and politics that does not require engaging pure origin stories.