Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the fat body (in)visible: documentary

fat body (in)visible from Margitte Kristjansson on Vimeo.

found via definatalie. wow! i just watched this and really enjoyed it. it is a documentary focusing mainly on two fat acceptance fashion bloggers, jessica and keena, and their complicated relationship with being visible or invisible. it is worth watching whether or not you are fat, or know much about fashion blogging. if you're interested in body politics and fashion, it is a real treat.

what really resonated with me is when @9:08 jessica speaks about how her visibility and feeling present is intrisically linked with when she decided to let herself wear "everything i ever wanted to wear." i don't know about you guys, but i can really relate to that. i've written a bit about it before, but that moment you experience (esp. as a young woman) when you look in the mirror and see something you want to see? really revolutionary. especially given the fact that often times, you're seeing what's always been there in the first place, but framed in a way you chose and that you love. whether it be a ratty vintage t-shirt, a super high femme glittery tube top, or a 3-piece suit, you chose to put it on your body and you know you look damn fine.
"In allowing myself to dress the way I've always wanted to but never allowed myself when I was hating my body, I make myself very present for other people." - Jessica
both jessica and keena acknowledge that visibility comes with its ups and downs, but ultimately what i think makes this documentary work is that it isn't a sob story. it is important to acknowledge that fat bodies are hated, but i think it is equally important to acknowledge the great empowering work badass people like jessica, keena, and tons of other fat bloggers and fat acceptance activists are doing and have done.
"There's a lot always what fat girls wear, what fat girls wear, but not a lot on what girls think in relation to what they wear." - Jessica
i'm just putting that quote out there for further writing inspiration. lately i've been talking with some friends online about what fashion blogging has become (or been reduced to?) and about our varying levels of frustration. i think a lot of this has to do with the fact that we are encouraged to look, and to buy... but much more rarely encouraged to think about fashion critically, let alone talk and write about it. are fashion blogs just virtual closets, or can they be something more? that's a whole other discussion, though, but one i would like to have some time soon. i'm really glad jessica pointed it out though.

i could go on and on but i will stop there! take 20 minutes out of your day and enjoy this documentary.

Riots Not Diets (documentary maker)
The Adipositivity Project
Tangled up in lace: the highs and lows of modern femininity (Jessica's blog)
Tangled up in lace (Jessica's tumblr)
Keena's Closet (Keena's blog)
Buttah Love (Keena's tumblr)

More Fatosphere Goodies
Shapely Prose
Fat Acceptance and Feminism (Again) at BFD
The F Word
Big Fat Deal
Bea Sweet
Obesity Time bomb
Unapologetically Fat


illustratorclaire said...

I hope you do have that conversation soon, because I'd like to involve myself in it.

fashionforwriters.com said...

Jeez Julia, every time you post a new post, I feel fluttery and happy inside and the I try to figure out how I can intelligently respond to your amazing post, like how I want to say so much about that moment when you realize that you can wear anything you want and that you look damn fine, as you said, and it's not about 'dressing for your body' or any of that shit, and I also would love more dialogue, more reading material (maybe write and think more critically myself) on what fashion blogging has become, how much it feels like another marketing arm (buy this, I own this and I own that, buying this made me happy, like everyone else, I want this,) more than a critical machine, something revolutionary and hopeful, which is what your blog is to me!

xx Jenny

Jessica said...

Oh WOW this was such an amazing thing to wake up to!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I'm thrilled to find your blog for obvious reasons ;) I think its so important we have more of a dialogue about the role fashion bloggers play in their reader's personal politics. I look forward to reading more of your blog! xoxo

the fashion turd said...

thanks for an interesting read (without being preachy!)and for some great moustashes.... come visit me and my little girl/boi style at


Tove said...

Awesome documentary, thoughtful post! As a fashion culture writer / blogger myself (http://threadforthought.net/), I'm constantly frustrated to read magazines and newspapers that give attention to yet another look-what-I-wear fashion blog, as opposed to critical fashion thinking blogs. Issues pertaining to body image, race, size, gender, sexuality, it's all reflected in fashion in some way, and I believe fashion can be used to mitigate these issues too (as with Jessica and Keena's revelations about dressing to make themselves happy). It was especially heartening to find your musings, thanks!

sassyfrasscircus said...

Keena was really kind of mean to me every time that I posted on Fatshionista...like saying "Are you serious?" about my clothes and saying that I wasn't fat.

It's a good documentary but I also just hope that people who do fat activism don't pull weird "fatter than thou" shit.

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