From ‘Plus and minus’, 8 Jan 2011, Mailbag Life!
(Marietta Koh Ai-Meng): I refer to the article…which featured 10 plus-sized women who posed nude for a calendar to raise funds for a cancer charity.
My apologies for being a wet blanket towards this otherwise worthy initiative, but being photographed starkers does not an empowered women make. I fail to see how a crass act of exhibitionism can give a sustained fillip to a plus-sized woman’s self-esteem.
What rankles me is that, in the words of Ms Erica Sim, who came up with the idea for the calendar, ‘even non plus-sized girls… are inspired by the nude calendar’. Such admiration for the 10 women who posed naked is, in my view, grossly misplaced, for it is an act wholly undeserving of emulation.
There are other unobstructive and more impactful ways of encouraging self-acceptance among the fuller-figured. One way is to constantly celebrate one’s unique traits, allowing inner beauty and other strengths to shine through….This will go a far longer way than a one-off doffing of one’s clothes.
If the calendar were intended to solely proclaim that fat women have every right to be sexy and marketed to BBW fetishists everywhere, then the writer would probably have a point. But this is not a joint Dove -Playboy campaign, it’s for a cancer charity and the reason why anyone would admire such ‘crass acts of exhibitionism’ is not the enthusiasm and generosity behind it, but rather that these are fat women taking off their clothes in front of a camera. For free. And there must be profound psychological reason why sacrificial nudity, whether it’s at a animal rights protest march or in the form of fat people taking off their clothes for charity, seems to signify defiance and solidarity, in spite of the opposing views held by this complainant. Having these women bake cookies for the entire cancer children’s ward just doesn’t have the same emotional impact as the willingness to risk scorn and humiliation. Ultimately, it’s their choice if these women want to let their ‘outer’ instead of ‘inner’ beauty do the talking, though in this case, there’s no clear distinction between the two. Many fat women are already contributing significantly to society, free of the blight of discrimination, and we even have pageants for them. So this really, is no longer about proving a point that has long been recognised, that fat women can be as happy, healthy, successful and dance as well, if not better, than anyone of us. Perhaps such media overexposure and glamourising of the full physique may even have the flipside benefit of being the cure for anorexia/bulimia. Just grin and bare with it already