A feel-good body-image post



Big Moves, originally uploaded by JillNic83.

After Zuzu’s excellent post on re-framing fatness, I thought we could all use something a little uplifting — and Feministing gives it to us. Former Feministe guest-blogger and all-around awesome and uber-talented lady Jaclyn Friedman has created a Big Moves calendar, which features 13 months of beauty and body-positivity and raises money for East Coast Big Moves.

And, in “wow it’s a small world” moment, I went to elementary school with the woman whose photo is featured above and on the May page of the calendar. In fact, it was at her house in 6th grade when I first saw a “chat room,” which was the height of online technology at the time. Congrats to her (hi Ariel!), and to all the other lovely ladies who have volunteered their images to raise money for a great organization.


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13 comments for “A feel-good body-image post

  1. Katherine
    November 19, 2007 at 9:41 am

    Maybe some of the misunderstandings that I have perceived in the debate on “fatness” arise from different people meaning different things when they say “fat”. Looking at that calendar, I didn’t see much that I would have thought of as “fat”, not really. Is that what “fat” means to most people?

  2. Katherine
    November 19, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Okay, I take that back. One or two maybe, but still. “Fat” becomes meaningless if it is used to compare extreme magazine-style skininess to normality.

  3. November 19, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Katherine, given that people called Britney Spears “fat” in the aftermath of her MTV performance, then yeah, most people seem to think anything more than Hollywood thin is fat.

    Which highlights that how we as a culture define ‘fat’ is subjective. Medical attempts to label ‘obesity’ and ‘overweight’ via BMI are just as slippery. Over what weight? Determined how? The medical definition for ‘overweight’ has changed multiple times making large numbers of people ‘normal’ one instant and ‘fat’ the next.

  4. November 19, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Katherine-

    It’s a good question, in a way. I can answer it two ways:

    1) Every single model in that calendar (with the exception of jj) is considered “too fat” to be a performer or dancer by industry standards. As we’re all performers and dancers, that’s a very real social definition we have to deal with, and a big part of what we work to challenge when we perform with Big Moves.

    2) Big Moves is about celebrating body diversity in dance & performance, not just “fatness.” One of the powerful things about the calendar, I think, is how beautiful so many different body sizes and types can look, and how you rarely see that kind of body diversity in any image-based media.

  5. jayinchicago
    November 19, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Ariel introduced you to the internets! That’s kind of amazing.

  6. November 19, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    That’s my roommate! She’s gorgeous.

  7. November 19, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    “Fat” becomes meaningless if it is used to compare extreme magazine-style skininess to normality.

    Quite.

  8. littlem
    November 19, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Katherine, given that people called Britney Spears “fat” in the aftermath of her MTV performance, then yeah, most people seem to think anything more than Hollywood thin is fat.

    You know, having absorbed that actually makes it easier for me (when I’m not at work, because I work in NYC in entertainment – heh) because I realized that it DOESN’T MATTER if I have16% body fat, I’m STILL NEVER GOING TO BE THAT SIZE.

    My LEAN BODY MASS weighs more than Britney.

    At that point, I actually let out a huge sigh of relief. Now I just look at people who have internalized that Britney’s 3-years-ago self is a normal female body type and think 2 things:

    1) “If you ever try to get into a policymaking position I will do everything I can to sabotage that.”
    2) “Other than that, you are stupid and can’t think for yourself, and therefore don’t know anything.”

    It makes you very serene. Plus people wonder what you’re smiling about.

  9. littlem
    November 19, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    Katherine, given that people called Britney Spears “fat” in the aftermath of her MTV performance, then yeah, most people seem to think anything more than Hollywood thin is fat.

    You know, having absorbed that actually makes it easier for me (when I’m not at work, because I work in NYC in entertainment – heh) because I realized that it DOESN’T MATTER if I have16% body fat, I’m STILL NEVER GOING TO BE THAT SIZE.

    My LEAN BODY MASS weighs more than Britney.

    At that point, I actually let out a huge sigh of relief. Now I just look at people who have internalized that Britney’s 3-years-ago self is a normal female body type and think 2 things:

    1) “If you ever try to get into a policymaking position I will do everything I can to sabotage that.”
    2) “Other than that, you are stupid and can’t think for yourself, and therefore don’t know anything.”

    It makes you very serene. Plus people wonder what you’re smiling about.

    Oh, BTW, for Feministers who dance — I think Marina is going to be giving a class at the NYC BigMoves home at the end of the month. Check their calendar.

  10. Schmorgluck
    November 19, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    16% body fat ? I suggest you see a serious doctor : it’s a bit low for a woman.

  11. Katherine
    November 20, 2007 at 4:48 am

    I’m very glad I’m not the only one who looked at those pictures of Britney Spears and thought “that’s not fat!”.

    Jaclyn, I think it is a beautiful project and I hope it goes well.

    As for the fat fascism that can come from a misunderstanding/misuse of the BMI measure, I’ll just say that whilst extreme obesity, on that measure, is associated with various forms of illhealth, being “slightly overweight” is associated with longer life than being BMI “normal”. Stick that in your cream cake and eat it, fat fascists!

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