I’m in Las Vegas where Julianne has taken me to celebrate my birthday. Tonight she took me to see the Cirque du Soleil show Zumanity. It’s Cirque’s 18 and up show built around an exploration of human sexuality. There were a lot of really good things in the show, including a celebration of women of many different shapes and sizes. There are two fat women included in the show. Billed as the Botero sisters they have a lot of crowd interaction and are included in a dance number and in other small roles.
While I was very happy to see two fat women in the show, I was dismayed that, unlike any of the other performers, they wore full body stockings (covering their entire body including legs and long sleeves) under their costumes. (EDIT: Based on my understanding of how Cirque works, the costumes were chosen by the company and not by women – if they want to wear these body stockings that would certainly be their choice, I know many fat belly dancers who choose to wear the stockings which is, of course, totally cool.)
It’s progress for sure to have two fat women as performers wearing thong bikinis and I celebrate that progress. Having read a bit about the two sisters they seem to be both talented and body positive. But I am surprised that a show that thinks its audience is ready for [spoilers] women having orgasms while tied up and choking themselves, a drag queen propositioning an elderly couple for three-way sex, and a rotating “lazy susan” orgy doesn’t think its audience is ready for a fat body that isn’t wrapped in a nylon stocking.
I think that says something about the tremendously oppressive nature of fat bigotry in this culture. I also think it’s time for Cirque’s exploration to start a new expedition – no body stocking required. Perhaps the world will follow.
At the request of a number of blog readers, I’ve created a workshop designed to help people communicate effectively with their doctors – including things to say when the doctor diagnosis you as fat and prescribes weight loss, the research that supports a Health at Every Size Approach, and even optional role playing and Q&A. Get all the details here! Registration deadline is October 11.
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