This essay explores the representation of the fat female body in contemporary U.S. media culture. It argues that the burgeoning interdiscipline of fat studies-as well as media images of fat women -have emerged as salient flashpoints for debate about gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and the proper parameters of citizenship. In the iconography of the mass media, the fat woman has long functioned as a site of palpable public anxiety about changes in the gendered social economy and the citizenship contract. However, some media texts challenge the stigma that is associated with fat. This essay discusses two of these texts, the television series Ugly Betty and the John Waters filmHairspray, to argue that the recent establishment of fat studies, and the positive resignification of fat women in U.S. popular culture, provides literary and media scholars with a unique opportunity to track the emergence of a new burgeoning “body” of knowledge regarding the meaning of citizenship.