[Image: A painting of a fat, light skinned woman with short, sandy colored hair sitting on the edge of a bed in profile. She’s wearing dark lingerie with tiny while polka dots, and there is a pile of colorful clothing on the bed behind her.]
by Angela Pabón
The actual postmodern society through mass media, creates an endless cycle of deception and frustration in today’s women. A war against the weighing balance and the mirror, that ties women to a fantasy ideal of a body and a poor body image.
In this project I wish to speak about the bodies that have been excluded in the present cultural-historic moment. Absent bodies, because they’re not represented and are excluded, in a society where all the present bodies have to correspond to the homogenous model promoted by the media. Bodies like mine, that are out of the beauty and health norms of society.
Through watercolors and self-portrait as an expressive tool, I wish to expose mi body in different situations of passive frustration, when I encounter myself with the fashion industry; where my body is absent in its size and design rank.
This is the last painting of my three real-scale self-portraits.
210cm (6.8 feet) high by 240cm (7.8 feet) wide. Watercolors and collage on Fabrianno watercolor paper.
(Sumbitted by frenchtoastadventures)
Where do you call home: The northwest suburbs of Chicago
How did you discover FA/HAES: I was wandering the stacks of my local library nearly twenty years ago, when I stumbled upon Nothing to Lose: A Guide to Sane Living in a Larger Body by Cheri Erdman. It changed my life to consider the idea that I could be not only be healthy but LOVED and deserving of respect no matter what the number on my dress or scale.
How did you become one of the Abundia Team: I attended an Abundia Retreat in 2007, where I had the great fortune to actually meet Cheri and tell her how influential her book had been for me. Four years later, my good friends Jeani and Rebecca invited me to meet with a group of ladies who were concerned that Abundia might not continue. Before I knew it, I was volunteering to take part as one of the new leaders.
What is your FA/HAES philosophy: That every person has value, dignity, and deserves respect no matter their size or health status. And that a huge step toward being a truly healthy, happy person is to unhook from media messages designed to make us feel bad about ourselves in order to buy stuff that ultimately won’t help so we’ll need to buy more stuff and so on.
What’s your favorite FA/HAES website or book or resource: Nothing to Lose, of course. I also can’t recommend Jean Kilbourne’s Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel enough. While not a FA/HAES book exactly, I think it’s so important to learn about how advertising, and the media overall, convince us that we are deeply flawed in order to sell their products. This manipulation is so harmful to our self-worth and our sense of empowerment and action. If you spend all your time trying to find the right hairspray to make your “problem” hair look amazing, (and believe me, I’ve done it), how will you have time to make the world, or YOUR world, a better place?
What one thing could you never give up: Cupcakes, and dogs. That’s two things.
Why are you amazingly awesome exactly as you are: I have an outstanding commitment to dessert and to trying to create a world where women love themselves enough to find the pleasure and joy in being exactly who they are, right now, no matter what the culture at large tells them is “valuable.” Also, I kill at karaoke.
I think we could all use a confidence boost.
My best feature I would say is my personality as well as my eyes. Cause they’re big o.o And I’ve been told my smile too though I get all self concious xD
So tell me guys, what is your best feature?
Name: Rebecca Targ
Where do you call home: Right now, Milwaukee. But I’ve had home in West, Lafayette, IN; Chicago, IL; and Chattanooga, TN. And a little bit in Osaka, Japan.
How did you discover FA/HAES: I’ve done work with the amazing Judith Matz, LCSW. She’s a therapist, speaker, author and wrote The Diet Survivor’s Handbook. She taught me about HAES and being compassionate with oneself.
How did you become one of the Abundia 8: I have a big mouth.
What is your FA/HAES philosophy: Don’t yell at yourself. Be compassionate with yourself. Eat foods that make you feel good. Morality and food don’t belong together. Teach your children that people come in all sizes and shapes and colors and abilities and we all should accept each other every day.
What’s your favorite FA/HAES website or book or resource: Big Big Love by Hanne Blank. I just read it and it was enlightening and resonant.
What one thing could you never give up: The support of my parents AND CAT.
Why are you amazingly awesome exactly as you are: I made close friends with the other Abundia organizers, including Jenny and Tracy. Also I’m a teacher and an artist and I love picking out gifts for people.
My body =/= Your Political Playground
Because my body is my own
Exactly. Unplug from the media that tell you that you’re flawed in order to sell products, including diets. Believe in yourself instead.
My home is in Laingsburg, Michigan. In September, I will have lived here the past 25 years (my husband and I will celebrate 25 years together on 9.27.12).
I first learned about FA/HAES at my first Abundia retreat in June 2004. I never realized until then that I could be fat and be accepted.
I have close ties with several of the other seven members of the Abundia 8 for many years now. I also see great value in attending this retreat and enjoying the camaraderie, laughs, tears, hugs, and love we all share with each other.
My favorite philosophy of FA/HAES is the idea that I can be fat, be healthy, and be lovable. I have embraced this idea more recently in the past couple of years. I do things now instead of waiting until “someday”. I travel extensively with my job. I flew to Little Rock, Anchorage, and Orlando last year. This year’s flights include Savannah, Maui, Atlanta, and Orlando. I am delighted to know my desire for travel has not been stifled by my fat.
The original book I read was by Camryn Mannheim called “Wake Up, I’m Fat”. This book prompted me to accept the invitation to go to the Abundia retreat in 2004. I have read many fat positive books and blogs. My favorite and most inspirational book is “Health at Every Size” by Linda Bacon. My favorite daily reading is Ragen Chastain’s daily blog called “Dances With Fat”.
One thing I would never give up is all the foods I enjoy eating. I love to eat and am continuously looking for new recipes. I recently subscribed to a new magazine I found in my doctor’s office called the “Vegetarian Times”. It had a recipe for biscuits and gravy in it. The gravy was made with Chickpeas. I love to cook and eat.
I have been a model for fat acceptance on a business level. My colleagues have had difficulty accepting the word “fat” in conversation. I explain about HEAS and FA at any opportunity. I also demonstrate love and discuss the beauty everyone has in them. It is amazing to share this information with others and see their reaction. I believe the more we share our philosophy, the more we will be accepted.
It’s that time again! Meet the Abundia 8: Dawn!
Name: Dawn Howard
Where do you call home: Bolingbrook, IL
How did you discover FA/HAES: Somehow I found out about a plus size fashion show in my area in the mid-90s and went to check it out. One of the speakers at that event was Cheri Erdman, author of Nothing To Lose. That book opened a whole new world to me that I didn’t even know existed until that day. It also began my journey into self acceptance and into activism for FA.
How did you become one of the Abundia 8: I was late to the Abundia party. Even though I had attended Cheri’s class at College of DuPage in the 90s and knew about Abundia, I didn’t get the nerve or the money to attend until 2006, the year it was canceled. I attempted to go again the following year, which was the last year the Abundia 5 attended, but my father passed away and I was unable to attend again. I finally made it in 2008 and even though I cried the whole weekend, I knew I had discovered something wonderful. By the following year I was volunteering to help in any way I could and I knew that I wanted to be a part of this group of smart, talented, funny, crazy, beautiful women for as long as possible. When the existence of Abundia started to become uncertain, I also knew that I wanted to help ensure its survival. A handful of us started talking and we decided that Abundia was important to us as a community and a support mechanism and wanted to not only make sure that it survived but also wanted to spread the word to other women of size so that they too could experience the love, laughter and sense of belonging that comes with spending time with this group of women.
What is your FA/HAES philosophy: Love yourself for who you are right now. I don’t always live that philosophy, I stumble and fail and regress but when I do, I have this amazing group of women to lean on and call upon for support.
What’s your favorite FA/HAES website or book or resource: My favorite FA book is Big Big Love by Hanne Blank. When the original book came out 10 years ago, it was the first time I had ever seen fat people’s sex lives discussed and the first time I had seen instructions and tips for people who look like me. Yes, people … fat people have sex!
What could you never give up: Sushi & Sake
Why are you amazingly awesome exactly as you are: I am amazingly awesome exactly as I am because I am smart, funny, loyal, caring and I am beautiful both inside and out.