Katie Oldaker has written a lovely article on the prevalence of Kyla Hagedorn’s Fat from the Side project, a Tumblr blog dedicated to showcasing user-submitted photos and stories about what happens when we are confronted with our own fat side-profiles.
Reading it reminds me of the thought process I went through when my fiance showed me the photo he took of me - the one above - while we were lighting lanterns in a field and drinking champagne to toast our engagement.
My feelings about “unflattering” photos have been well documented, but seeing my body from the angles I’ve taught myself to avoid capturing forces me to consider so many things. As I generally prefer to observe my body straight-on and am so used to contorting my parts in ways that appear slimming, it’s no wonder I am caught off-guard.
This photo is not “flattering”. My belly is proudly protruding as it meets with the shelf of my breasts. You can see where the waist of my jeans have cut into my flesh, beneath the cotton layer of my t-shirt. The curves of my body are obvious and unearthed. This is how I exist.
It took me a couple of days to swallow the discomfort I felt about this photo, but it has now been properly digested. Because FUCK FLATTERING.
Going through this marriage/wedding process and all the photo-opportunities that come with it have forced me to really come to terms with my fat body in a completely different way. I have no control over how I will be captured by photographers, friends, and loved ones - but in reality, I have no control over how they see me anyway.
I’m FAT and there’s no hiding it, so I choose to own it.
OOTD 4-14-2012: Blonde-Haired, Brown-Eyed Walking Purple People Eater (In which a stranger tries to tell Sandy how to dress. Again.)
- Top and Belt: Goodwill
- Jeans: KMart
- Bracelet: Crafted by my amazingly talented mother-in-law; there’s a matching necklace that I adore (but was overkill with this look.)
I wasn’t even going to post my outfit today, I didn’t think it was that special or controversial…and then I went for a walk with my dogs.
So, in honor of the woman who asked, “Don’t you think it’s time you went up a size in shirts, honey?,” here are several angles of my fat that inspired looks of utter disgust and confusion from her.
I learned 3 things from the exchange today:
- I should probably put up some kind of fence to keep these people out of my space.
- Hypervisibility works. At least, mine appears to be.
- Being nice really fucks with these people! They must expect me to be hurt/offended; I think they want me to lash out or cry or call them something mean, so when I smile and laugh and say, “Heck no! This top is brand new, I bought it this way and I LOVE the way it hugs my fat body,” I imagine it must break something in their brain, because she just looked at me like I grew another head, mumbled something about “obese” under her breath, and walked away.
“Heck no! This top is brand new, I bought it this way and I LOVE the way it hugs my fat body”
great example of how to respond to this kind of hate.
BREAK THEIR BRAINS with your unapologetic body love.