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Body Positivity Isn't Fat Liberation

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My piece, Body Positivity Isn’t Liberation, has given me permission to understand confidence around my body. Fat liberation challenges the way we understand fatness, reconstituting the (problematic) body positivity movement. Initially an empowering moment for non-normative bodies, the fat acceptance movement emerged in 2012 but quickly devolved into the perpetuation of a core problem: superficial confidence. “Self-love” merely acts as a band-aid to deep wounds of internalized fatphobia. Fat liberation, however, aims to uproot existing social norms (traditionally putting fat people at risk for violence/hate crimes/abuse). Fat liberation acknowledges a necessary adjustment to fat people’s needs; it demands normalization.

As a fat woman of color, it’s been a seclusive journey; to find other fat women of color with whom I can share experiences, felt impossible. However, I met Andrea-- this moment felt like reconnecting with a long-lost sister. Conversations quickly led to catharsis. The first capture of this moment is Andrea’s face; representing the daily self-realization fat people go through (the first step in fat liberation). The second still illuminates a comfortability to simply exist. The last captures unapologetic peace. I advocate for fat liberation and lead with authentic passion.  

Programs and Skills Used: Photography, Illustrator, Photoshop, Lightroom, Procreate

Behind the Scenes

Ideation and Inspiration

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My inspirations largely come from fat women and fat activists such as Paloma Elsesser, Barbie Ferreira, Alva Claire.
I compiled a moodboard of photos that I found to be beautiful yet raw and authentic.

Final Designs

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In the first frame, the model goes through self-realization of fat liberation and the power that it holds. The material still surrounds her head, symbolizing something that restricts her from liberation. 

The material gradually comes off of the model and is now placed on her body. The model is now comfortable in existing as a fat person, stepping into her normalcy.

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Freed from the material that has once restricted the model, Andrea is now liberated from the reigns of fatphobia and can exist unapologetically.

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