Sunday, February 13, 2011

This is Harder Than it Looks

Warning: Contains full nudity and lots of fat.

Yesterday wasn't my first nude shoot. Technically it was my second as I had had a dermagraphia based nude shoot just the week before. Although my shoot with Dan Smith from Duke University in Durham, NC certainly was longer and more detailed. I felt oddly comfortable (considering I'm not used to getting naked in front of people I barely know).

Why did I do it? Firstly there's an element of feminism- as someone once said to me "if a girl is naked, it's sexual, period". Automatically connecting nudity and the female body with sex is regressive. It's not even just about stifling female sexuality because nudity is not automatically the same as sexuality, but rather about women not being seen as blow up dolls- toys for the whims of others to satisfy sexual desire. Our bodies are our own.. sure, they're for sex and sex is enjoyable! Fantastic even! but they're so much more than that. They move us through our lives, they bare and nurture children, they go to work, watch TV, exercise, eat, sleep.. they are our very existence and that existence cannot be reduced to just sex. More so, however, is the idea that fat bodies can be beautiful, artistic, and inspiring, is revolutionary (in modern times- fat people in art throughout history isn't uncommon). We've created a society that is disgusted by and loathes fat. We don't want to see it and we don't want to hear about it unless it's about how bad and awful it is. Even the fatties of the world internalize and agree with these messages of hate, turning that loathing on themselves and abusing their own beautiful, wonderful, life sustaining bodies.

This is the first shoot that I'm posting that was totally nude. For those of you on the journey to self acceptance, you know that it's a hard road. For me, this was such a huge step and one I haven't truly overcome. As any fat acceptance blogger will tell you, there are good days and bad days.. and it still seems impossible to truly overcome years- a lifetime- of abuse and brainwashing. Please take comfort in the fact that I am not special, I don't have more courage than anyone else, and everyone is still somewhere on their journey- it doesn't matter where, as long as you keep moving forward.

I liked so many of these globe photos that I decided to make them their own post. So here it is and, remember, all the world's a stage. Have fun. 


  1. Hi there,

    Great pics, some show more confidence than others, but the one's that do, really work.

    But then Women have always had one huge advantage over men when it comes to physical size and photographs, I guarantee that there are men that are drooling over this photo set, and that the only people being critical are other women.

    But if a man with the same build as you was to post the exact same set he would not have a single admirer, and yet he wouldn't care!

    So why are women so critical of their bodies when there is always someone who likes it, and men aren't, even though no one wants to see them naked?

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  2. Nell, Actually women tend to have a disadvantage. Firstly, I promise you that there are a good number of men who would be itching to say nasty and mean things about fat naked women- including myself. So I'll point out that there are both men and women who hate fat people and both women and men who love fat people.. most people in the FA movement are, however, women. Because women are the most discriminated against when it comes to body size and the most judged. Women have a very very narrow range of what's socially acceptable while men have a much wider range for what's acceptable for their bodies. Of all of the people who have been negative about my body- most of them were men.

    Women *do* judge other women, don't get me wrong, but don't think that men don't judge women too! This is a patriarchal society still and men rule with a sexist fist.

    There are admirers of fat men, but, at the same time, there's less *need* for admirers of fat men because they're more accepted in general by society. There aren't a lot of people who seek out nude photos of men, fat or thin, but if there were a fat acceptance blog run by a man who posted naked photos- he'd get plenty of good attention I promise.

    I also think it's completely false to say that men wouldn't care or don't care about how they look or how they are judged. Men tend to be less vocal about it because our society IS sexist and that effects men too... in that a man who's open with his feelings is called feminine, girly, etc (and we all know that's a bad thing to be, right? because women are weak and you don't want that!). Men are just as insecure about their bodies as women are. They are just as critical. There are people in both groups who don't give a shit, but for the most part- both groups have their insecurities which is why we're seeing a rise in men with eating disorders. Don't let society fool you- men aren't as carefree as they seem.. although society tends to like them much more.

    1. Heather, I have to disagree with you that women are more discriminated against for being overweight. Even though I admit that opportunity in general tends to favor men (not as much as you are predisposed to think) there is still very little acceptance for fat men. Though it is a point that I cannot prove, I can offer anecdotal evidence from my own experience that men are often more accepting of overweight women, even men who prefer otherwise. Women, however, in my experience have tended to be very effected by body type. I have been discriminated against as relates to size by both large and and otherwise women, but ironically have received contempt only from less fat males. This includes workplace and educational experiences. As a heterosexual I only have had romantic interactions with women (who reject by body type without regard to their own at a high rate) but I imagine that it is similar in the gay community as well. Just a thought.

    2. Kevin- like you said, you only have anecdotal evidence whereas actual studies show that, for example, fat women make less money than thin women while fat men make more money. this is just one example. it doesn't mean that fat men don't run into problems including oppression and discrimination, but the fact is that fat women face a special kind of oppression which intersects with sexism. just like fat black women face a special kind of oppression which intersects with sexism and racism.

  3. The first one is the best because your smile is so natural and beautiful. You are accepting the world and yourself literally finding balance. Very nice.

  4. I find it odd that women are under more pressure to be skinny even though women have evolved to store more fat than men.

  5. If you were here with me right now I would give you one of the biggest hugs you have ever had. Secondly, I would ask your permission to do a photo shoot with you...naked of course. You, silly, not me. No one wants to see me naked....well almost. My wife says she does but I think she is biased. lol

    The above images are just so wonderful. Each and every one is a work of art as far as I am concerned. And what a fabulous idea it was to use the globe as a prop. To me it symbolizes the weight of the world on the shoulders of fat women. And especially fat women who choose to model nude.

    To me, as a photographer, fat women are a very special group of people and hold a special place in my heart. I only wish there were more who desired to be photographed as you have here.

    You state that you are not special or more brave than any other fat woman out there. But still you are to be commended, I think, for making the decision to go forth with this project.

    Best of luck Heather.

  6. Heather the world is'nt the final say or the authority to decide or the deciding factor just be YOU! ur amazing haven't got over YOU am wet since thats natural n Normal I guess if Ur Body turns me n many others like me who'd Appreciate for the amazing body that u posess Remember ur UniQue!

  7. There are different stages in human life and the body and physic of the human getting changed with the passage of time. The time add more beauty and attraction to the women body with the passage of time. Women like this and in this age becomes more attractive to the youngs and the mid aged persons.

  8. men are no question way more critical and demeaning than women are. men will yell things on the street, say 'ewwwwww' veryloudly, call you dog, etc. women tend not to do this.

    1. you're very right. catcalling is extremely common from men but very rare from women. this is because we're raised in a culture that tells men it's okay to treat women poorly, like objects. one study done using FMRI machines showed that men showed pictures of people and objects placed objects and women in the same part of the brain but placed men as people. women, on the other hand, placed both men and women as people and only objects as actual objects. this shows that men objectify women even when they don't know they're doing it. the only way to solve this is to completely overhaul how we view women in our society.

  9. Heather, you're a beautiful sexy woman. Don't ever think anything else! The man who wins your heart will be a luck man indeed.

  10. I really admire ur capabilities in sharing ur views ..have very high esteems on a guy of same such understand.


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