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Botero : Women - Fernando Botero (Author), Carlos Fuentes (Author) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Culture and obesity

In several human cultures, obesity is associated with attractiveness, strength, and fertility. Some of the earliest known cultural artefacts, known as Venuses, are pocket-sized statuettes representing an obese female figure. Although their cultural significance is unrecorded, their widespread use throughout pre-historic Mediterranean and European cultures suggests a central role for the obese female form in magical rituals, and implies cultural approval of (and perhaps reverence for) this body form.

Obesity functions as a symbol of wealth and success in cultures prone to food scarcity. Well into the early modern period in European cultures, it still served this role. But as food security was realised, it came to serve more as a visible signifier of "lust for life", appetite, and immersion in the realm of the erotic. This was especially the case in the visual arts, such as the paintings of Rubens (1577–1640), whose regular use of the full female figures gives us the description Rubenesque for plumpness.

Contemporary cultures which approve of obesity, to a greater or lesser degree, include African, Arabic, Indian, and Pacific Island cultures. In Western cultures, obesity has come to be seen more as a medical condition than as a social statement. In American culture, many use a popular snap, "Yo' momma's so fat...", in playing "the dozens". A small minority of activists, especially clustered around the tradition of feminism, seek through the fat acceptance movement to challenge that emerging consensus.

Obesity and popular culture

Various stereotypes of obese people have found their way into expressions of popular culture. A common stereotype is the obese character who has a warm and dependable personality, presumedly in compensation for social exclusion, but equally common is the obese vicious bully. Gluttony and obesity are commonly depicted together in works of fiction. In cartoons, obesity is used to comedic effect, with fat cartoon characters having to squeeze through narrow spaces, frequently geting stuck. It can be argued that depiction in popular culture adds to and maintains commonly perceived stereotypes, in turn harming self esteem of obese people. A charge of discrimination on the basis of appearance could be leveled against these depictions. Traditionally, in premodern ages when was more , fat people were judged more than slender. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty, [May 2004]


    Women En Large: Images of Fat Nudes (1994) Laurie Toby Edison, Debbie Notkin [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Tracy Young, Allure Magazine
    The nude women in Women En Large have a certain majest, the unabashedness of Henry Moore sculptures. They have escaped.

    From the Publisher
    Women En Large has sold over 9,000 copies around the world. It is used as a textbook in
    gender studies and health classes; it is a coffee table book in thousands of households; and it has contributed to helping tens of thousands of women and men feel better about themselves, their bodies, and their lives. Don't miss your chance to share these stunning photographs and thoughtful text with someone you love, or check it out for yourself!

    From the Author
    Fat women are big; they are not hard to notice. Nonetheless, there is a particular way in which we don't see
    fat women. I never used to think much a out the artistic possibilities of fat women's bodies. When I began working with Debbie Notkin on issues of fat oppression and size acceptance, I began really paying attention to fat bodies (something most people never do), I was thrilled as an artist to discover that fat women have marvelous curves and masses distributed very differently from thin women, in aesthetically fascinating ways. Thin women are also beautifyl, but I was familiar wtih the limited variety of our thinner bodies' shapes. Fat women's shapes are wonderfully different from each other.

    When I review the final photographs, I see my images and I see the success of my efforts ... because I dont' see generic "fat women." I see women who are comfortable, confident, and beautiful. I see the twenty-five different, real, unique women who posed for this book.

    About the Author
    LAURIE TOBY EDISON is an internationally renowned and exhibited photographer. In 2002, one hundred of her photographs were exhibited in a retrospective solo show at the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan. Her work has been shown in the U.S., Canada, England, Holland, and Japan. Her other collaboration with Debbie Notkin is Familiar Men: A Book of Nudes, published in 2003.

    DEBBIE NOTKIN is a writer and editor. She collaborated with Laurie Toby Edison on Familiar Men: A Book of Nudes and has done a great deal of writing and speaking both separately and with Laurie on the subjects of body image and gender. She is the chair of the Motherboard for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award for works of speculative fiction that explore and expand gender roles, and is on the board of Broad Universe, an organization to promote science fiction and fantasy by women. She edited Flying Cups and Saucers, the first anthology of short fiction honored by Tiptree Award judges.

Botero's Women

  1. Botero : Women - Fernando Botero (Author), Carlos Fuentes (Author) [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Since the age of nineteen-the year of his first solo exhibition-Fernando Botero has delighted his audience with the joyfully rotund figures that populate his canvases. Like any great artist, he was compelled to paint the female form. More than 100 of his greatest works devoted to the theme of women are collected in this oversized, deluxe volume, the design of which was overseen and directed by the artist himself. This book includes fifty unpublished works, numerous archival photographs, and vellum inserts printed with images made by Botero especially for the book.

    Botero never works from live models, as he feels it limits his creativity. The women in his work are inspired by the women he has known throughout his life-the vivacious neighborhood characters from his native Colombia. In the early 1950s, he left Colombia to study the paintings of great artists, such as Diego Velázquez and Piero della Francesca, all of which made a lasting impression on the artist.

    Accompanying the work of this incomparable artist is an introduction by one of the most respected Latin American writers of today, Carlos Fuentes. --amazon.com

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