I saw this image on Facebook and Twitter this morning, and the subsequent discussions have been interesting. I assume the image was designed to help women feel better about themselves, but the people who created it have not gone about this in a particularly useful way. First of all, I’m pretty sure many people would not call this woman fat. She appears to be somewhere around the average size for women in the UK – perhaps a little under – and is only ‘fat’ by fashion model standards. In addition, whether or not someone is fat is entirely subjective and it’s also a very loaded word. Some people see fat as an insult and others embrace it warmly, either as a personal preference or as an attempt to reclaim it from the haters. Labelling this woman as fat is unhelpful as it simply alienates anyone who doesn’t view a bit of tummy squish as obesity.
Secondly, the caption says that she is “just as beautiful as any other amazing woman” implying that she should still be considered beautiful even though she is supposedly fat. Wow, so fat people can be beautiful too? Thanks so much for pointing this out to me! I hadn’t realised that you could only be beautiful if you are young, slim, tall, white, female, able-bodied etc! OK so, sarcasm aside, perhaps some people really don’t realise that, but a better way of promoting this idea is probably not to use the word just. Being beautiful isn’t the same as being amazing, either. And beauty isn’t all about our bodies. I have known traditionally physically attractive people who are utter twunts, and others who are on the fringes of physical beauty whose personality shines brighter than anything portrayed in a magazine.
Finally, the image is headless – perhaps because the photograph wasn’t originally shot for this purpose – which makes the caption’s use of I’m somewhat redundant, as the woman has been reduced to an anonymous body. How can you speak out for fat women when you have no head… and aren’t really what most of us would consider to be fat anyway? Facebook is filled with these images, telling us that one body type is better than or just as good as another, but it’s all lies. Thin isn’t better than fat, just different to it. Women don’t have to be curvy to be gorgeous. Instead of concentrating on this, why don’t we point out that: beauty is a combination of many things, the only person we need to please with our appearance is ourselves, and everyone has the potential to be amazing.
I’m considering creating an image like this myself and would be interested to hear what, if anything, you think the caption should be. I have a photoshoot planned for tonight, so watch this space!