'Fattitude' - Because Every BODY Deserves Respect.

Stop Press: Fattitude, the feature-length documentary highlighting fat prejudice – and what we can do about it – is in post-production.

Lindsey (L) and Veri (R)

Lindsey (L) and Veri (R)

And – fundraising.

It’s a few months now since I posted “Fattitude Has the Right Attitude!“,my in-depth interview with Fattitude’s filmmakers Lindsey Averill and Veri Lieberman. The team have been busy working on the film, developing their new fundraising campaign and re-launching their website, www.fattitudethemovie.com.

Why donate? Because…

…the film examines how popular media perpetuates the fat hatred and fat-shaming that results in a very real cultural bias and a civil rights issue for people who are living in fat bodies…offering an alternative way of thinking. – Lindsey Averill

We desperately need to educate against this very real discrimination. A society with only one acceptable body type creates a toxic environment where eating disorders, poor self-esteem and negative body image will flourish. Not acceptable.

Wanting to see how the team were getting on, I recently I caught up with Lindsey via Skype (she in Florida, me in London). As a body image activist, academic, feminist and documentary film-maker, Lindsey is as determined as ever to get Fattitude into the public domain.

What did I learn?

  • They are seeking additional funds of $100K.
  • Post-production costs for a feature length documentary film are very high.
  • The trolls and stalkers are still lurking. The line between free speech and hate speech is a fine line.

The plan, Lindsey told me, is to bring the finished documentary in 2016 to festivals, and then on to a larger audience …continue reading ‘Fattitude’ – Because Every BODY Deserves Respect.

“Fat is a Feminist Issue” by Susie Orbach

Why review this book? Because of its fabulous title? Or because, unlike so many other books, it:Fat is a Feminist Issue

  1. Has (largely) stood the test of time.
  2. Has an author who is still out there, committed, passionate and practising what she preached to us in 1978.

Many editions (and years) later, much of the message of ‘Fat is a Feminist Issue’ still resonates.

…continue reading “Fat is a Feminist Issue” by Susie Orbach

Body Image Issues? 4 Books that Help.

Do you find teaching and promoting positive body image a challenge? Luckily, there are now so many more resources available for educators, students, clinicians – all of us. Certainly more then when I started!

I’m often asked for recommendations, so in the first of a continuing series I’ve briefly highlighted four books you may find helpful. All offer practical advice and accessible insight into the fight back against our culture of ‘thin’.

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Thomas Cash WorkbookThomas F Cash, PhD, is the author of ” The Body Image Workbook: An Eight Step Program for Learning to Like your Looks” as well as co-editor with Linda Smolak, PhD of the 2012 edition of Body Image: A Handbook of Science, Practice and Preventation. Cash is founder and editor-in-chief of Body Image: An International Journal of Research.

The Body Image Workbook uses a cognitive-behavioral approach which has proven success for those working on negative body issues, whilst The Body Image Handbook focuses on the background to, research into and various clinical practices to avoid poor body image and eating disorders.

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2 Linda SmolakLinda Smolak is co-editor of Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in Youth: Assessment, Prevention and Treatment. What I found especially useful was the analysis of the cultural, social and familial factors leading to poor body image and eating problems. Both Professor Smolak and Professor Kevin Thompson, PhD, author and co-editor, have authored numerous articles and books on body image …continue reading Body Image Issues? 4 Books that Help.

“Big Brother” by Lionel Shriver

The author of “We need to talk about Kevin“, whose own brother died from obesity-related causes,tells here the fictional story of just what happens when Pandora’s big brother, Edison,visits after a few years absence – with a weight gain of 200lbs+.

Big Brother creates discomfort as it challenges assumptions on how you might deal with a suddenly very,very Big brother.

…continue reading “Big Brother” by Lionel Shriver

Shame. Having fat friends makes you greedy.

 

The word Shame is mine, the ‘Having fat friends makes you greedy” was the Daily Express’s ‘catchy’ little headline.

Why?

“Sitting next to overweight people makes you more likely to gorge on unhealthy food.” – Daily Express.

A small scale study, published in the peer reviewed science journal Appetite looked at how a group of 82 college students were influenced by the presence of a fat-suited actress near them at the buffet (as in this photo from the film”Shallow Hal”.)

The results suggest that we eat more, and not necessarily more healthily, when we observe a fat person.

“Professor Mitsuru Shimizu of Southern Illinois University in the US said the findings showed the ‘larger your friends, the larger your appetite’ because the body type of a dining partner, or those nearby, influence choice.”

However:

  1. There were only two food choices: salad or pasta – and when did pasta become ‘bad’ if you eat a bit more of it?
  2. Who is going to ‘gorge’ on salad?
  3. Was it raining? Cold? I know what I and most people would eat, especially in this English climate…..
  4. Only young college students participated in this study. Results could have been very different, again, with older adults, children and other cultures.
  5. Any vegetarians? They wouldn’t eat meat sauce…

In addition, the research team claim that more pasta was eaten by the study participants “because the health commitment goal was less activated”. In Plain English, we don’t care quite as much when we are with fat people, the implication …continue reading Shame. Having fat friends makes you greedy.

Interview: 'Fattitude' has the right attitude!

Like me, many of you reading this will be well aware of the excitement and media storm surrounding the fundraising for the forthcoming feature length documentary, Fattitude, due for release in late 2015.

So I was excited to have the opportunity while visiting Florida to meet with Fattitude‘s producer, Lindsey Averill, a fat activist, women’s studies scholar and body positive coach together with the co-producer and director of Fattitude, filmmaker Viridiana (Viri) Lieberman.

Three hours have seldom gone so quickly. Our discussion ranged from the portrayal of fat people in the media, to the work being done by other fat activists and, of course, the how and when of the film.

I discovered that Lindsey and Viri became friends when they met through Lindsey’s husband, but what really bonded them was a their interest in women’s studies.

Viri’s research on sport and gender resulted in the recent publication of her book, Sports Heroines On Film. It isn’t a big leap to see how her friendship with Lindsey led to the creation of Fattitude.

When asked where the idea for a film highlighting weight bias and offering alternative views originated, they told me they felt it naturally arose from their mutual interest in these issues, combined with Lindsey searching for a suitable project. “Let’s make a film,” she said to Viri. Why not?

Like so many of the best ideas, their original concept is quite different to the film that is in production as I write this.

“Culturally,” said Lindsey, “we are on a roller coaster of body image as portrayed in the media, and the media always need a new way to …continue reading Interview: ‘Fattitude’ has the right attitude!