Laurie Toby Edison

Photographer

Body Image Links of Many Flavors

Laurie and Debbie say:

When we started this blog (wow, three years ago!), we wanted it to be almost always about body image, but interpreted as widely as possible. The links that have come in from readers and from our reading over the last ten days or so are an excellent sampling if what we meant by that.

Lizzie sent us this link to an obituary for Beryl Cook, a painter whose delightful work with fat images we hadn’t seen.

Beryl Cox painting

Her paintings, which fetch up to £40,000, document familiar social situations like girls on a hen night, in a disco or shopping, men in the pub, at a strip club or at the market.

She is credited with capturing ‘moments of social history, portrayed with a playful streak of naughtiness.

From there, it’s a pathetic jump to this story:

In this article about magazines that appeal to pre-teen girls, Toni Round, managing director of the youth and children’s magazine division at BBC Worldwide says, among other damning things:

“Around this age there’s very little that’s of interest to both boys and girls.” She doesn’t think that magazines drive this gender division – “It’s more deeply ingrained than that” – and believes the pre-teen magazines are just giving readers what they want. “There is a lot of pink,” she says. “But they respond to that. Girls do like these things.”

Then there is this absolutely superb keynote speech which Eli Clare gave at the Trans Health Conference in Philadelphia at the end of last month. It really is too good to excerpt, but here’s one taste:

I come to this gathering thinking about shame—that chasm of loathing lodged in our bodies, a seemingly impenetrable fog, an unspeakable and unspoken fist. Shame all too often becomes our home. … This afternoon I want to strike at the center, to talk directly about the raw, overwhelming mess that shame is: how it wakes us up in the morning, puts us to bed at night, whispers to us as we’re having sex, sitting in job interviews, pulling on our clothes to go out. Shame visits us in the bedroom and at the beach, in the medical exam room and at the therapist’s office. Shame lives in the mirror and the camera, and its impact is huge, ranging from low self esteem to addiction, from infrequent health care to suicide. This afternoon I want to talk about the ways in which shame inhabits our bodies and how we can resist that habitation.

Clare, who identifies as both genderqueer and disabled goes on to discuss the intersection between disability and trans, his passionate belief that nothing about him should be called a defect, and much, much more.

The scientists have also been active, this time demonstrating (with worms) “that the nerve messenger acts through independent channels to control whether you eat versus what to do with those calories once you’ve eaten them.” Or, in other words, how much a worm eats is not the only factor in how fat it gets. Good back-up data for what we already knew.

Here’s a very familiar story, more often told about women, but this time about a man:

For the last nine years, Christian Boeving has been a model for over-the-counter dietary supplements in Iovate’s MuscleTech division. Now the company is refusing to renew his contract after Boeving admitted on camera that his insanely toned body is not just the result of powders and potions–it might also have something to do with the steroids he’s been injecting since the age of sixteen.

The same site also posted this excellent interview with a fat female model who is taking on the whole fashion industry.

If people are only exposed to imagery of fat people as jokes in movies, TV, etc., then that limits our perception to degradation. So what then is the solution? Not to take the opportunity to proudly embrace my curves in a global venue? One must take advantage of these rare opportunities when presented by people who are willing to take the risk on you.

And let’s close with woofers, who takes fabulous self-portraits

woofers looking in mirror

There’s also fine text about masculinity and fatness at the link.

Links from Lizzie, Lynn Kendall, betsy, and more. Thanks for sending them, and please keep them coming.

5 Responses to “Body Image Links of Many Flavors”

  1. Lori S. Says:

    If anyone remembers where Debbie saw the great countering article about the fat female model who is taking on the entire fashion industry, please put the link in the comments.

    Did you mean Velvet?

    http://5resolutions.blogspot.com/2008/06/our-interview-with-velvet-damour-part-i.html

  2. Dolia Says:

    The artist’s name is Beryl Cook, not Cox. See also the work of Martin Leman.

  3. Zaftige Says:

    Oh lord, those are great. It’s so, so WONDERFUL to hear actual fat people IN THE PUBLIC EYE (and especially in entertainment) saying everything that we say EVERY DAY in the Fatosphere. That’s the kind of impact I want to make, if I get the chance.

  4. Debbie Says:

    Lori, thanks: added it to the post. I should have known you were the person who brought it to my attention.

    Dolia, also (very embarrassed) thanks. It’s fixed.

    Zaftige, yes. Just so.

  5. stefanie Says:

    Thanks for the mention of my blog post about the extraordinary photographic self-portraits done by wooferstl (not “woofers.”) Usually I read more carefully than this!

    Thanks for your continuing coverage of fat people in the arts, as well.

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