21 April 2015

Headless fatty: is this the most overused?

This is an image that is often used in news media to accompany stories of fat abjection. A famous headless fatty.

I find the person in this picture compelling. Who are they? They look as though they are just going about their business and yet this image recurs over and over again in the news. A small moment in time repeated seemingly forever to remind readers and viewers how disgusting it is to be like them. How might they feel about their image being sold in this way time and time again? How much profit has been made off this image? What might the person in this image say if their power to speak had not been stripped from them? I would like to read a novel or a poem, or see a film or a play or a dance piece about and by someone like this.

Wiki: Headless Fatty


Sleepydumpling said...

One of the most devastating things to ever happen to me in my pre-fat positive days was turning on the news one night after work and seeing my own headless body on the screen "illustrating" a story about the "evils of obesity" dressed in the very same clothes I was still wearing. I had been filmed without my knowledge or consent earlier that day in the public square outside my office.

I was absolutely devastated and humiliated at the time. Now I just get angry at the invasiveness of this crap.

These photos are almost never obtained with the subjects consent. I wonder if the person in this photo knows that they are being used this way? I wonder if they are OK, or if they are feeling the same devastation and humiliation I felt when it happened to me. I wonder how many people go through that and think about how so many non-fat people claim that the news people do it "to preserve anonymity". Do they think we don't recognise our own bodies? That the people close to us don't recognise our bodies?

The whole practice is vile and has to end.

Dr Charlotte Cooper said...

Oh my god SD, I forgot this happened to you. It is so appalling. I'm so sorry. You are right to be angry, I am also angry about it.

Sue S said...

Really sorry to hear of your experience, Sleepydumpling. I live in fear of this happening to me, or of deliberate 'fat shaming'.

In my case I DO have a lot of health issues, but I was slim when they started. Unfortunately it's a vicious cycle now, where I have significant pain and mobility difficulties, leading to weight increase, leading to further loss of movement, and so on.

If I can improve my health, I. won't really mind being so fat!

Anonymous said...

Very inspiring article like most of yours, Charlotte!!!