Fat Representation in Art

This is the story about how I got to be a work of art, created by an artist of whom I am a major fan. I tell this story both because I’m utterly grateful and honored and want to tell everyone, and because representation of fat bodies is important, so here’s a chance to see one of them, and meet an artist (and a photographer!) who have created many more examples.

A while ago I saw a piece by artist Kathryn Hack that combined her drawing with a poem by L. E. Bowman. It inspired me to create a piece of my own with one of the photos from my session with fab fat-positive photographer Lindley Ashline. So I got permission to use the poem and I created this:

I hold my body with higher esteem than your opinion

And posted it to Instagram with this quote from me:

Fatphobia isn’t our fault, but it becomes our problem. We each have to make our own decisions about how we interact with a world that shames, stigmatizes, bullies, and oppresses us. To me, Fat Acceptance is the first necessary step. In order to fight for our humanity, we must claim and own our humanity for ourselves.

It happens when we say – I am a fat person, not a thin person covered in fat, and I am worthy, right now, in this body. I will wield my beautiful fat body like a weapon – I will love it, I will care for it, I will give it my full-throated support, and I will viciously defend my body against anyone who seeks to classify it as anything but amazing. I will not apologize, I will not back down. This is me.

Poem by @l.e.bowman.poetry (used with permission)
Picture by @BodyLiberationWithLindley
Inspiration from @KathrynHack

Then Kathryn surprised me by creating this! (And sent it to me in an e-mail with the subject “You are ART” which made me tear up.)

Fat Pride Kathryn Hack

Representation matters – if we don’t see people who look like us it’s easy to make the mistake of believing that we don’t deserve to be seen, and nothing could be further from the truth. I am so grateful to activists like Kathryn Hack and Lindley Ashline for creating a world where I can (in this case literally!) see myself reflected in art.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Need some fat-positive end-of-year cheer? Here’s a playlist of re-vamped holiday songs that highlight things like the importance of fat-friendly seating, singing the praises of our amazing bodies, and just saying no to giving unsolicited weight-loss gifts. Enjoy!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Body Love Obstacle Course

This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
Price: $99.00
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRON-distance triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an Iron-distance triathlon! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com .

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.


4 thoughts on “Fat Representation in Art

  1. so cool that she did that!
    Speaking of art, have you seen Elisa Valenti Studio? She paints amazing fat positive art and totally inspires me. You should check her out!

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