The Fat Body Visible – by Megan Manning

July 30, 2013

fat body invisible

The SWOVA library recently added a film to its collection.  “Fat Body (In) Visible,” is a short film by Margitte Kristjansson and a fascinating insight into the lives of two fat activist women, Jessica and Keena.  The norm in our society is to believe that fat is bad, but there are many fat acceptance (FA) activists who are challenging that belief and who value and enjoy their bodies.

According to the women in the film, fat style is one of the best ways to be political as a fat woman.  People see them walking down the street, wearing clothes that show off rather than hide their shape, and this challenges stereotypes and makes some people uncomfortable.  It has garnered some negative reactions, including being called a ‘fat piggy bitch’.  Jessica and Keena won’t change themselves to make others comfortable and have developed a love and appreciation for their bodies.


“If I could say one thing to young fat people dealing with bullying and their body image … It’s not about you.  It’s about the bully.  It’s about their own issues, about what people are telling them they should feel.  Just don’t let anyone police your body.” Jessica, fat activist.


The idea of fat acceptance (FA) is that every body is a good body.  There is a strong supportive social media community out there for people to share ideas, express their feelings and network.

This film made me think about my own conditioning to judge and/or feel sorry for ‘fat’ women.   A few months ago, I saw a young woman wearing a crop-top which showed her belly, and tight, cut off shorts over large legs covered with fishnet tights.  I thought “oh, girl you are not doing yourself any favours.” After watching this film, I think, perhaps that young woman was not trying to hide her ‘fat’ bits.  Perhaps she was celebrating them.  Our conditioning to hide our lumps and bumps at all costs is pervasive.  Those of us who are not a size 10 or under must stick to dark colours and try to stay invisible.  I’m not saying that I’m going to rush out in a mini skirt and tube top, but I will look on those lumps and bumps (mine and other’s) in a different light.

This film encourages feeling good about your body no matter what size, shape or colour you are and for this reason, it’s a must see for anyone – especially teenage girls – who is struggling with their body image.  You don’t have to be ‘fat’ to appreciate this film.  Even if you don’t value everything these women say, their points are interesting and insightful and will give you some empathy for plus size people.

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SWOVA’s library is free and open to the public, Monday – Thursday 9am to 5pm.  If you would like to rent a film or a book, please come to our office at 344 Lower Ganges Road, (between the Golden Island Chinese restaurant and Dagwoods).  For more information please call: 250-537-1336

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