38 comments for “Love Your Body

  1. May 9, 2005 at 2:18 pm

    She could stand to lose a little weight, but other than that I think she looks just fine.

    And remember that I can stand to lose a little weight, too. But other than that, I look just fine except for a prominent surgical scar.

  2. May 9, 2005 at 2:30 pm

    Wow. Wonderful.

  3. May 9, 2005 at 2:34 pm

    The point is that she is just fine as she is. She doesn’t have to wait til she loses “just five more pounds” to accept herself. The point is that there’s not only one way to be attractive, and you can eat and live and still be loved.

  4. May 9, 2005 at 3:16 pm

    More power to her, why shouldn’t she accept herself as is (mind you I don’t, but I know I should)? It’s that “just 5 more pounds” to lose attitude that ends up creating a vicious dieting cycle filled with ups and downs in weight (the ups always increasing significantly, the downs becoming higher and hareder to attain) that actually causes more cardiac stress than maintaining a higher than socially acceptable weight.

  5. May 9, 2005 at 3:20 pm

    My point Shannon is that we should not say Fat is beautiful any more than we should say being skinny is beautiful. Both are signs of sickness.

    Love your bones, love your facial features, love your muscles. Get real about your weight.

    I speak from the perspective of someone who suffers the medical effects of being overweight. I am someone who has encouraged people at both ends of the spectrum to get where they need to be and keep it there.

    I like my bones, my facial features, my muscles. I want this blob in my belly gone because it is straining my heart and my pancreas. Anyone who tells me to love the fat, too, is not concerned for my well-being.

  6. May 9, 2005 at 3:48 pm
  7. May 9, 2005 at 3:54 pm

    I don’t get it. Yes, the woman in the picture looks good.

    Why is it so important that we look at this? She’s brave for showing her body? Most women look like that, and taking or publishing photos of real-live women is not a brave or revolutionary act.

    I once overheard a news show call Jennifer Lopez brave for walking around with her big ass. If she’s brave, then I see heros walking around the streets of Chicago everyday.

    It’s arrogant to tell fat (i.e. average) women that they are brave or amazing for failing to live up to your beauty standard.

  8. May 9, 2005 at 4:08 pm

    Or maybe we could say fat AND thin is beautiful and SHE IS NOT FAT! Love yourself for you and don’t take your self hatred out on a natural woman. She has the body most women have NATURALLY and you are so used to stick figures you think it “could stand to lose a few pounds.” This is not about a health or pc issues. That statement is blatent judgement.

    And health is different on EVERYONE. Just because yours is strained by your belly doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone else who does not meet the reccommended INSURANCE ACTUARY TABLES guidlines is in ill health. (yep, that’s where the numbers come from, Insurance) I am 30 pounds heavier than my “reccommended” weight and I am as healthy as hypocrisy in this country. Weight is not the only guideline and your response holds no logic or openmindedness in it. Just more brainwashing.

  9. randomliberal/Robert
    May 9, 2005 at 5:19 pm

    Uh, Joel, I don’t know what picture you’re looking at, but she’s not in the least fat or overweight or whatever the hell we’ll call it next.

    She’s really cute, actually.

  10. May 9, 2005 at 5:49 pm

    Steph, I think it’s important that we look at images like this because we are so often bombarded with images that say the only healthy, beautiful way to look is like a junky pony straight off her last hit.

    But I agree, I don’t think it’s particularly brave to look this way (or I’m hella brave) but it is brave to pose nude and loving it in our beauty culture. Nor do I think it’s particularly revolutionary. The revolution regarding body image happens one mind at a time: our own minds regarding our own bodies.

  11. May 9, 2005 at 5:54 pm

    Am I glad I came back to read the comments. I looked at the picture and said, “Okay, what point are they trying to make?”

    Seems to me it is pretty freakin’ shallow to judge someone by their appearance. That is different from judging a person by skin color how?

    We are what we are. All of us have things we might want to change, or need to change. If we don’t like who and what we are, then we’re in trouble. When all is said and done, we have ourselves.

  12. May 9, 2005 at 7:02 pm

    That is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

  13. May 9, 2005 at 7:03 pm

    One of my mentors, Susan Koppelman is a political activist as far as Fatness and Fat Acceptance is concerned. I had the great pleasure last october to sit in on the first Fat Empowerment panel that she hosted at the MPCA conference in Cleveland. Susan is a well established feminist, academic, and writer. Indeed, she taught the first women’s studies course in the country.

  14. May 9, 2005 at 7:20 pm

    Steph, Jennifer Lopez did a lot of training and dieting to look like she did. If after you have done your exercising, you still have a big butt, then love that big butt.

    Buffalo: I wouldn’t make or break a friend depending on whether they were or weren’t overweight. And you’ve got a fine point there: why are we looking at the body and making a judgement about the person. The only thing I know about this woman is that she has cellulite about the midriff and she is willing to pose nearly nude. Someone tell me how that is better than pornography? There are plenty of sites out there which appeal to the purient interests of “chubby-chasers”. Are they now of high artistic and cultural value just because the women featured in them are proud of their obesity?

    Then we must ask if a double standard is being applied: it’s OK to be a fat woman, but to be a fat man is to be ugly and not an object? Personally, if being an object is the reward, then I thank the heavens that I am not one!

    I am sure this woman is someone who has a soul, interesting thoughts, hobbies, and values, but this picture reduces her to two dimensions and a wet dream for some.

    That’s not liberation: that’s enslavement.

  15. May 9, 2005 at 7:40 pm

    You have such a white male perspective. I dont even know where to begin…or if I even want to….alas, what do you say about Judith Butler posing nude? Is that pornography? YOu have soo many assumptions and your paradigms need to change.

  16. May 9, 2005 at 7:44 pm


  17. May 9, 2005 at 7:47 pm

    These comments are interesting to me. I clicked over and I saw a happy woman talking about things to do for your body. Whether she was “fat” or “thin” or “(un)healthy” didn’t really register — she is what she is.

    I was more struck by the words, and the way that they seemed to talk about the body as if it were a beloved pet or something. I didn’t find this a bad thing; mostly it was interesting seeing someone talking about their body as if it were an independent animal creature, rather than an aspect of their own person.

  18. May 9, 2005 at 8:00 pm

    Rana, that’s an interesting observation. But again, is it healthy to make that divide? Is the mind really something separate from the body so that we can do whatever we like to the body and think the mind will be unaffected?

    When I saw the picture posted myself, it came off as an invitation to look the woman over, to evaluate her. So I did. I liked the skin tone, I liked the eyes, the way she held herself. I felt concern for the cellulite around her midriff because I suffer from diabetes and know that diabetes hits many overweight people. I can tell you from experience that it is not a beautiful disease.

    And then I came to the emptiness. What did this really tell me about the woman? I remembered this picture that a friend showed me of her brother. He’d hauled in a big fish and, in the picture, there was every sign of his being very happy. A few weeks after the picture was shot, however, he put a gun to his head. That picture alone was just an object and said nothing about him.

    The trouble with pictures is that we can only go by superficials. And this one was no different: it blatantly invited us to do just that, to not think about how unhealthy it might be for this woman to be overweight. How is that different from adoring Nicole Kidmann in a tight tight corset or Cameron Diaz as sex objects?

    Not a lot. An unhealthy body is an unhealthy body.

  19. May 9, 2005 at 8:44 pm

    An unhealthy body is an unhealthy body…that much is certainly true. Alas, you have to realize your positioning when you make comments like the one you made previously. Also, there was Absolutely nothing unhealthy about her body. As my friend Susan says, just because you are fat doesnt mean that you aren’t healthy– and alas it is some kind of messed up western americanized bs thinking that says so. So at anyrate…. there is always something to learn……

  20. May 9, 2005 at 8:45 pm

    The thing is that I look thin. I am still at risk for diabetes. You can not tell who has diabetes by looking at them. I mean, I cram burgers and fries and pop in my mouth, yet somehow am assumed to be healthier than girls who run miles and eat salad just because I’m a size two. That’s just not cool. If you really care about health, stop promoting the diet culture. Stop hating fat bodies.

    Instead, encourage cities to create walking and biking trails and greenspace and keep it safe for us to walk. Make it feasible for people to get healthy food cheap and near their houses. Promote community gardening. Promote corporate policies that give people time to exercise. Promote gym classes that focus on fun not competitive sports.

    Loving your body will get you a lot farther healthwise than loathing it. Could you imagine a country where women swim more because they aren’t afraid to be seen in a bathing suit? Where women run more, because people don’t make rude comments on their bodies? Where women go to the gym more because they don’t feel judged on how they look? Saying “hey, I don’t live up to the standard, and I love myself” is the first step to that world.

  21. May 9, 2005 at 8:59 pm


    I think that is a beautiful post….people should live their lives without hinderance…..and I have long since stopped trying to live according to people’s standards…. I define my own and live the way I think my life should be led…..

  22. May 9, 2005 at 9:15 pm

    That was great!

  23. VRC
    May 9, 2005 at 10:04 pm

    She doesn’t look unhealthy. She’s not stick-thin and she doesn’t have a small bone structure. But then you don’t have to be to live a long, reasonably healthy life.


    Moreover, anyone can be photographed to look “overweight” or misshapen or otherwise conventionally imperfect. Given the angle she’s shot at, I would say it’s not the best angle to represent what her body type may be. I work with nude photography of women every day — I know of what I speak.

    But then, that’s not the point, is it? What’s perfection? Who’s to judge? Not me. Not you.

    The message accompanying the photo was love YOUR body, not judge THIS body. When in doubt, read on, brother, and don’t project so much. I hope you’re as happy as the woman in the photo appears to be. Peace.

  24. May 9, 2005 at 10:15 pm


    When I saw the picture posted myself, it came off as an invitation to look the woman over, to evaluate her.

    I’m curious about why this was your first response. When I read your evaluative comment, it reminded me that this is often men’s first response to women. Many men seem to feel entitled to judge and evaluate women on their appearance, whatever the circumstances. This is why some men feel that they give me their opinion of my ass, or breasts, or whatever, when I walk down the street. Once I saw some guys at a bus stop holding up numbered signs, like gymnastics judges used to, as women walked by.

    I think that men who automatically respond to women this way should stop a moment and think about why they are responding this way, and whether or not it’s appropriate in the particular circumstances.

    You also said something about chubby chaser porn.

    here’s the differerence: chubby chaser porn presents men with a female body, for their consumption. just like other types of porn. it’s not necessarily about the woman’s pleasure in her own body, it’s not about her self acceptance or power, it’s for the edification of the viewer. this picture, on the other hand, is a woman feeling joyful despire her “failure” to live up to our culture’s narrow, racist, beauty ideals. and it’s also an overtly politicized image, because of the text below.

    I think it says a lot about how our culture teaches men to think about, and see women, that you responded the way you did. I don’t mean to attack you, I just think it’s telling.

  25. May 9, 2005 at 10:34 pm

    The so-called “Male Gaze,” that is, the immediate deconstruction of women into their æsthetic parts, is common to a lot of men. There’s a temptation, I think, to lump the objectification of women with the appreciation of the female form. There’s also a temptation to fall from the former to the latter extremely easily.

    I agree with Joel insofar as I don’t think “fat is beautiful” is a healthy idea to spread. I have no problem with the dissolution of constructs of beauty, but to do so irrespective of health of ridiculous. All I’ve said here, though, is also irrespective of the picture posted, though model of which is a bit chubby, rather than obese. Anyway, I think the important lesson here is that one needs to be within a healthy weight range, not a beautiful weight range. That the woman, regardless of her conformance to societal standards of beauty, is someone who can feel joy and enkephalin pentapeptides and orgasm and everything else, and that is a matter of celebration.

  26. May 9, 2005 at 11:57 pm

    I’m interested to see that so many people looked at the same picture and saw so many different things: She’s brave for showing herself, she’s celebrating her body, she’s fat, she’s not fat, she’s at risk for health complications…
    I looked at it and thought – wow, I’ll never look that good in jeans with no top. It’s like when I see models on TV, I automatically evaluated myself in the same getup.

    I’m interested to note, though, how man people jumped straight to the diabetes issue with being fat. I always assumed when men looked at women the last thing on their minds was health.

  27. jam
    May 10, 2005 at 8:45 am

    She could stand to lose a little weight, but other than that I think she looks just fine…

    what a disappointing & repulsive beginning to this comment thread – don’t know why but after seeing that little moment of joy i wandered on in fully expecting a nice little party of common cheer in response… & what do i get? self righteous wannabe diagnosticians spewing neurotic projections in all kinds of directions!

    she’s beautiful! and you want to know why? the expression on her face – that is a face in transport, that is a face in love, that is a face that is free! if you can’t see it, you need to move the hell on outta your own way

    what is up with all this dickering over whether she’s a “proper” body type, with “acceptable” color tone, a bit too this, bit too that… i mean, damn! could you possibly get over yourself?

    sputter sputter fume fume

    oh, just go read what Alley Rat wrote again, ok? and what Shannon wrote too. i’m too sputtery & ain’t gonna say anything nice…

  28. May 11, 2005 at 3:17 pm

    And remember that I can stand to lose a little weight, too. But other than that, I look just fine except for a prominent surgical scar.

    Um, Joel, apparently that’s ours to judge.

  29. May 11, 2005 at 3:31 pm

    Joel, have you read The Obesity Myth or any literature from the Healthy At Every Weight movement?

    The medical evidence simply doesn’t back up the assertion that fat in and of itself is unhealthy, except at the point where fat actually impairs mobility. The numbers shows that people who are overweight to mildly obese actually have the lowest mortality rate of all Americans, and people who are 100+ lbs overweight have the same mortality as people who are 10 lbs underweight. It is actually more dangerous to be slightly underweight than a great deal overweight.

    As for dieting, what nonsense. It doesn’t work, never has, never will. Some people are able to lose weight through exercise and eating right, most cannot. We should focus instead on getting people to eat healthy (not 1200, 1000, even 800 calories a day!) and exercise, regardless of the effect on weight.

  30. May 12, 2005 at 8:50 am

    What Dru Blood’s Mama Should Have Taught Her

    Understand a point of view before you attack.

    More here:


  31. May 12, 2005 at 8:59 am
  32. May 12, 2005 at 9:08 am

    “She could stand to lose a little weight, but other than that I think she looks just fine.”

    I hate to requote myself, but it’s so clear that you guys didn’t read what I said. Where is this saying she is ugly?

    And none of you has given me credit for applying the same standard to myself. Beauty and wellness are two different things.

    So pardon me, but I can pretty much reject your responses as kneejerk and pack behavior.

    As far as the obesity book, when a few people who disagree with the medical establishment, you’re usually better off going with the medical establishment (which is always checking and rechecking its facts).

  33. May 12, 2005 at 9:46 am

    Joel, the sentence, “She could stand to lose a little weight, but other than that I think she looks just fine” focuses on her physical appearance. “She looks fine” implies more about a concern for aesthetics than about a concern for her well-being. Also, the woman is not obese, and has no health problems so far as I can tell, so I really don’t see why you feel a need to be concerned about her well-being.

    And men in this culture are not held to the same standards of thinness and beauty that women are, so even if you thought you were applying the same standard to yourself, it doesn’t come off as sounding like the same thing.

  34. May 13, 2005 at 6:47 pm

    As far as the obesity book, when a few people who disagree with the medical establishment, you’re usually better off going with the medical establishment (which is always checking and rechecking its facts).

    Sorry Joel, but it’s not disagreement with the medical establishment—it’s disagreement with the facts. Read the book, then read the studies. The data simply don’t say what you think they do. And there are plenty of legitimate medical professionals who are saying these things—the fact that your doctor might say something different doesn’t mean anything, because he or she is probably just reading the journal articles that distort the facts like everyone else.

  35. Virginia
    May 13, 2005 at 10:27 pm

    I must go with Chris here. While working on my masters in public health, I have read the original studies for myself (something most of the medical establishment has not done), as opposed to reading the reports about the studies or just glancing over the abstracts. Every study I have read has implicated unhealthy eating or sedentary lifestyle, not weight. Many of them CLAIM to have “proven” that weight caused the health problems and weight loss caused improved health, but they actually just showed that improved lifestyle improved health. The 2004 study showing that lipo does not remove one’s health risks clearly shows that lifestyle, not weight, is the issue. Similarly, when you actually examine the data, it is clear that people who are naturally overweight while maintaining a healthy life will live longer than any other group of people. Perhaps you just don’t believe that there are “overweight” people who live a healthy lifestyle?

  36. Jo
    May 15, 2005 at 7:08 am

    I have been obsessed with “losing a little weight” for years. Like the woman in the picture, I don’t need to lose any weight in order to be heathier, I am well within my ideal weight range for my height. Attitudes like yours, Joel, which suggest that to have any fat on your body looks unhealthy have lead me and many other young people to mental illness. If I could do as the picture says and love my body, even “love the fat, too” I would be a great deal healthier. And it is all about health isn’t it?

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