24 August 2010

Archival images of fat women

I'm clearing my desk before I head off to Australia and there are a couple of things I've been meaning to post here for a while. Both images are courtesy of Simon Murphy, who brought them to my attention.

1. The Honeymoon Killers features one of my favourite screen fatties in Shirley Stoler who plays Martha Beck. Her fatness is a central part of her characterisation and her portrayal is unforgettable, she's pathetic and murderous. In an age where fat people conform certain themes and storylines whenever we are rendered onscreen, including 'positive' portrayals, it's always exciting to see depictions that offer a bit more nuance. This is possible even within an exploitation genre. I also love to see fat people in films as aggressive, crazy, mean and fucked-up, which may explain my obsession with this clip of Divine from Pink Flamingos.

2. I wrote about my visit to the GLBT Historical Society whilst I was in San Franciso earlier this year. I got to paw and prod some of Sylvester's stage costumes. This week Simon picked me up a copy of The Weather Girls' album, Success. Martha Wash and Izora Armstead were the original Weather Girls and worked as backing singers for Sylvester. I read somewhere that s/he used to get them to break in her shoes too, huh! I never have to hear It's Raining Men again, it won't be too soon, but I love love love the picture on the album sleeve for these reasons:
  • Turbans
  • Neck detailed fatty kaftan couture
  • Outfits dripping with beads and jewels
  • Gloves
  • Awkwardly posed grandiose gesture as literal interpretation of album's title
  • Round faces
  • Successful fat black women working together who, I hope, are still laughing all the way to the bank

11 August 2010

This is what a fat activist looks like

Being an activist means that I make stuff and I do stuff. Often this is about fat, but it's also about zines, the internet, films, academia, sex, all kinds of things. My fat and queer body is central to my cultural production, I cannot deny it even though, like many people, my body is often mediated by a screen, a mouse and a keyboard. My friend Sara Davidmann, who also happens to be an excellent photographer, took some pictures of me in a nest of some of the things I have made. That's me in the picture, pulling things I've made out of my cunt, my body. Here I am: fat, queer, a thinking, critical and productive citizen, "the obese". This is what a fat activist looks like, I'm one of many different kinds of fat activist.