How Art Has Been Ahead On The Body Positivity Game
I have talked a few times about my love of art here on the blog. In fact one of my very first dates with my husband was going to a valentine’s day event at a local art gallery. We both love and appreciate various types of art. So it’s really not unusual for us to visit an art gallery, or some sort of tourist attraction surrounding art, when we go on vacation. My most recent vacation in September was no exception. We visited The Ringling while we were in staying in Sarasota County.
In addition to having a lot of fun and relaxation on our vacation, I also found a lot of inspiration. One of the things that inspired me, as you might have guessed, was walking around the Ringling Fine Art Museum. This is just one of four museums you can visit at the Ringling. I found as I was walking around their Fine Art Museum I was really thinking about how body positive art is and has been since the beginning of art. I was especially struck by this thought when I came upon this statue. (I apologize for the quality of any of the pictures I am sharing from my trip, but there was a lot of odd lighting and you can not use flash photography in an art museum)
In the museum I couldn’t find the usual tag that tells the name of the artist or piece. I didn’t see anything other than the signature at the base of the statue. You can see the signature says G. Lachaise. After a tiny bit of research I found this piece was done by Gaston Lachaise, a sculptor of the early 20th century. I couldn’t find the actual name of this piece, but I found that he was known for his sculptures of women, most of who were voluptuous in form.
Every day in our media we are inundated with messages that women are only supposed to look one way. And while that look has changed from time to time over the years, it is still only the look that is popular at the time. But when you walk through an art gallery, it is much more like a celebration of all body types and is representative of real women through time.
Here are just a couple of the pieces I found that I loved during my walk through the museum (paintings will be on the left, and their information tags will be on the right.)
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that a walk through your local art museum is going to suddenly make everyone love their body as is. What I am suggesting is it is a healthier representations of women’s bodies than what is offered in the media currently because there are so many types of bodies represented in art. And I think having those representations of all bodies is the first step in accepting your own body.
There are also these false ideas we get sold about fat bodies through watching TV and movies. And, unfortunately, those ideas sometimes come from health professionals that should know better. We have this idea that there were no fat bodies until the last thirty or forty years. Or sometimes you are told there were exception during a short period of time that being fat was a symbol or your status and money. And while there is truth in that last statement, the first time you walk through an art gallery of any size and really think about what you are seeing you realize what bull shit the rest of it is.
We might have more fat bodies walking around today than in previous times, but there are many reasons for that. Those reasons are really a topic for another time.
It’s important for future generations that we continue to have those artistic representations of fat bodies. Thankfully there are already artists out there doing just that today. Here is a short list of some of the artist I personally love, please go show them some love.
- Butter n’ Honey – An artist local to me located in Lexington, Ky. Amongst other things, her art includes curvy mermaids, fairies, and other cuties.
- Joanna Thangiah – An artist based in Sydney, Australia. Her art is mainly focused on feminism and quite often features fat bodies.
- The Tiny Hobo – I have talked about this artist on the blog before, her art is pop culture and icons shown with fat bodies. I am linking to her website. She did have an Etsy shop previously, but it seems to be gone now.