The (2010) Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name

Lynne Murray says:

Lord Alfred Douglas, famous as the lover of Oscar Wilde, wrote a poem “Two Loves” in 1894, containing the famous sentence:

“I am the Love that dare not speak its name.”

Douglas’s and Wilde’s love was, in fact, illegal in England in their time, and Wilde famously spent time in prison because of those laws.

More than a century later, Susan Koppelman pointed out this link to an April 12, 2010 article by director Raymond de Felitta, describing a controversial subplot in his film City Island, winner of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival audience award. If you don’t want to read “spoilers” about this film, please don’t read further.

This part of the film concerns a young man who has a secret crush on his 400-pound neighbor:

In looking for a secret that the young man can be ashamed to keep, I continually ran up against the “been there seen that” problem: What secrets do today’s youth actually keep? But the existence of the BBW community — its members and their admirers — is still taboo. The notion that men might prefer fat women to thin ones remains disturbing and — to many — not quite believable. But it’s the truth. Witness the many “fat acceptance” Web sites, dating services and photo galleries you will find on the Internet. Indeed the prevalence of these sites and the pride expressed within them might suggest that the whole “fat people are gross” epidemic is as dead and gone as the “gay people are gay because they had a bad experience with the opposite sex” thing. (Something I was shamefully told in my long-ago youth.)

He writes about the search for a super-sized actress to play Denise:

“A totally life-loving, confident, beautiful woman who’s comfortable with herself and just wants to be accepted for who she is. Carrie Baker Reynolds is every one of those things and more. Her love for the role and delight that I even wanted to go to this place where many have not yet ventured, created an incredibly strong and personal bond between us. One that has given her even more confidence than she already has (she really wasn’t in need of much more) but which gave me the greatest gift — that of discovering that what I thought was interesting long ago, in those early frontier days of Internet lurking, was in fact true: the fat acceptance culture is a beautiful, bountiful and entirely necessary thing.

In order to find a picture of Carrie Baker Reynolds I had to search for quite awhile on the net and found this Facebook shot:
Carrie Baker Reynolds' Facebook page

No one goes to prison for loving a fat woman. Shame and ridicule are terrible things, and are nonetheless not a true comparison to being forced to keep secrets or be put in jail. At the same time, the difficulty of finding an image of Reynolds online makes its own statement. And although we have had a lovely bevy of somewhat successful fat actresses in the last few decades, including Kathy Bates, Dawn French, Camryn Manheim, Mo’Nique, Marianne Sagebrecht, and Gabourey Sidibe, it’s still clearly a “strange twilight world” when a fat person is cast as an object of desire.

So I appreciate de Felitta’s words, and his movie is now on my list to see.

4 thoughts on “The (2010) Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name

  1. Sounds like a really interesting movie! It’s definitely going on my “to-see” list, and you make some great points.

    But I found a few photos of Carrie Baker Reynolds immediately when I googled her name! Considering she’s apparently only been in this one movie, I don’t think it’s that strange that there aren’t more photos of her on the internet.

  2. She’s beautiful. And maybe it is not strictly illegal to love a fat person, but it is still widely discouraged, disapproved of, & ridiculed, & many who do love fat people, especially if they themselves lack some confidence & independence of spirit, are reluctant to be too public about it. So to a great extent the love of fat people, especially the love of fat women, is really ‘the love that dare not speak its name.’ I am glad that there seem to be more people who can be ‘out & proud’ about it, & admit that they love an individual fat person as is or even admit to being strongly attracted to fat people, but there are still even more who ARE drawn to fat people but who date &/or marry thin ones because they cannot deal with the baggage, & still others who DO date &/or marry fat people but claim loudly that they love the person inside the body & because of that love are able to ‘overlook’ the fat body. It seems as if most of us have to be in a fat acceptance atmosphere, convention, meeting, online community, for everyone to be out, open, proud, & comfortable about loving fat people.

  3. It’s true, Patsy, those accepting, positive fat accepting places are so valuable in seeing what a non-screwed-up atmosphere looks like. Each one has an impact, just as each one of us has an impact!

    May such small islands of sanity, pride and community grow, thrive and multiply!

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