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This cartoon is another collaboration with Becky Hawkins.
Most cartoonists hate drawing crowd scenes; Becky, given several scripts to choose from, picked this one out immediately. I’m glad she did; this comic really shows off Becky’s ability to draw different sorts of bodies and fashions.
Of course, doing that well usually requires diving into internet image search engines; imagination is fed by research. Here are some of the photos Becky used as inspiration for this cartoon.
I think – or, anyway, I hope – that this cartoon explains itself well enough so that even people who aren’t familiar with fat politics will get it.
Tigress Osborn, writing for the BBC, sums the issue up:
Unfortunately, as more people started using hashtags like #loveyourbody and #allbodiesarebeautiful, the most marginalized bodies in society have become marginalized again within the very movement they started.
Some Body Positive believers say that weight loss talk should be included in Body Positivity messaging, as losing weight makes people feel better about themselves. Even major diet companies describe themselves as Body Positive. Some activists still embrace Body Positivity as a gateway to more radical body liberation movements. To others, the phrase has become so meaningless that they’ve either adopted variations or simply won’t use it at all.
Body Positivity is nothing without its Fat Activist grandparents of all genders. It’s also nothing without the Black women and femmes who amplified the message at the beginning of the trend.
I just paused in writing this post to go refill my water glass. When I opened the freezer to get ice, a box of corn flakes on top of the fridge came tumbling down, and I said “AAAHH!” and then caught it one-handed, without a single flake being spilled. It’s a matter of no importance, but it’s probably the greatest moment of physical competence I’ve had all month, so I wanted to tell someone about it. :-p
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. All the panels show people standing in a blank cartoon space and talking directly to the readers.
Three women, all unambiguously fat, are smiling warmly and talking to the readers. The one on the left, who is white, is wearing cool boots, and an open red plaid shirt over a black dress. She’s wearing squarish glasses. The other two women are black. The middle woman is wearing a crop top shirt with a brightly colored blue and pink pattern, and bright blue shorts. The woman on the right is wearing a plain white tee, blue shorts, and red-and-blue sneakers.
BOOTS: Body positivity means that no one should apologize or be made to feel bad for their body.
SNEAKERS: Love the body you’re in!
A white woman, thin and with carefully styled blond hair, has walked out in from of the three fat women. She’s carrying a big sign that says “Love the body you’re in” in cheerful large lettering that’s a bit nostalgic for the 1960s. Below the lettering is a picture of a tube of lotion.
Behind the new woman, Boots looks startled and distressed. Sneakers is holding up a finger like she’s trying to object. And we can’t see what Crop Top is doing, because she’s almost completely blocked from view by the woman’s sign.
THIN WOMAN: “Body positivity” sounds great! You know what this would be amazing for? Selling skin care products!
Two more thin white people have entered. One is a young woman with a pony tail, wearing yoga pants and a crop top; she’s sitting on the floor, legs curled under, and is holding her smartphone high to take a selfie. The other is a salesman-looking man, wearing a blazer over a v-neck shirt, who is holding up a book for us to see. The book’s title is “Love Your THIN Self.” Both of the newbies are talking very cheerfully.
Between these two newbies, and the blonde woman with the sign, Boots and Crop Top are almost completely blocked. (We can see Crop Top’s eyes, which look annoyed). Sneakers can be seen better, and is open-mouthed with how appalled she is.
PONYTAIL: If I bend just the right way, there’s a fat roll! Helping women like me is what body positivity is all about!
BLAZER: Diet companies are also part of the body positivity movement! Losing weight will help people love their bodies!
There’s now a lot of smiling people, nearly all white, crowded into the panel. Most are thin, a couple are a bit chubby, but there’s no one here you’d describe as “obese.” Everyone is grinning and talking to the readers.
Boots and Crop Top cannot be seen at all. We can see just a bit of Sneakers, as a smiling woman in a pretty pink blouse with an open back, with string forming a spiderweb pattern over the open part, violently shoves Sneakers out of the panel.
EVERYONE IN UNISON: Remember, body positivity is for everybody!
PINK BLOUSE: Except for really fat people. We can’t glorify obesity.
CAPTION AT BOTTOM OF STRIP
A large caption under the strip says “A CONCISE HISTORY OF BODY POSITIVITY.”