An article on today's Yahoo front page highlights a series of self-portraits taken over eleven years by photographer Jen Davis. The photos are beautifully rendered, but that's not what makes them newsworthy. They're newsworthy because they in part highlight the (lap band assisted) 110-pound weight loss that happened during that time.
Are Fat Bodies Desirable? Yes, But That's Not Always Enough
Of the photo above, entitled "Fantasy," Davis writes:
"The guy in this photo is my roommate. I wanted to know what it felt like to have a guy desire me."
The idea that no man desired Jen Davis as she was in this photo is completely unfathomable to me. And I'm going to go out on a limb and say that from everything I know about life up to this point, it's impossible that no man desired Davis' body. But I think she's letting on to a much bigger and more nuanced idea.
What I believe the image reveals (and her verbiage - perhaps unwittingly - obscures) is not that she wanted simply to be desired. It seems she wanted:
- to be desired by a normative-looking man
- to be desired by a normative-looking man while also being normative looking
No, Davis Is Not A Meanie Pants. I'm Just Saying Fatphobia Is That Bad.
My point is not to paint Davis as a misguided or bad person, but to point out how insidious fatphobia really is. It's not just the belief system that fat people are inferior and deserve scorn, it's that even as body acceptance becomes a somewhat more widely acknowledged option many people would still choose normativity over self-acceptance.
For a great primer on just how bad fatphobia is and just how awesome, fierce and desirable fat girls are pick up the paperback or kindle edition of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion.