Weight is the last socially acceptable oppression. As a queer woman whose BMI categorizes me as obese, I have noticed Fat Shaming and Body Politics missing from many feminist themes. This form of oppression and verbal violence against women is often invisible, deeply ingrained, socially acceptable, and ignored. Aside from the obvious media impact and the billion dollar weight-loss industry, women over a certain size experience verbal assault regularly by strangers in public spaces. The medicalization of “The Obesity Epidemic” gives authority to the shaming of bodies. Obese women are deemed lazy, unmotivated, and are blamed for their size by health practitioners and the general public. Stereotypes of idealized racialized bodies further engrain body shame.
Overweight women are dehumanized. Women’s bodies, what they look like, and what food goes into them, are treated as public property. Family, friends, colleagues, and strangers comment on weight loss and gain, and offer unsolicited advice on how to lose weight. The qualifier “fat” is attached to my description and to my identity. The way I navigate the world and the way I am treated is motivated by fat shaming. My artwork explores bodies through an arc of canvas prints that begin with body shame and move through stages to body acceptance and self-love. I delve into how women’s body language communicates their feelings about their bodies and their experiences of shaming and oppression. My work explores a range of shapes and sizes of women and is meant to leave people asking themselves, who defines beauty? And who defines sexy? 50% of all my profits go directly to Sheena’s Place, non-residential, non-institutional centre in Toronto supporting people affected by Eating Disorders. Sheena’s Place relies solely on donations.