The following photos are pictures of three women I met at a “Goddess Party” in lower Manhattan. The parties are billed as events for Big Beautiful Women and Men and their Admirers. Allzok, Feisty and Sinflygud met in a chat group and call themselves “The Triumvirate.” Over several years I hung out with the “goddesses” at parties, homes and conventions on the East coast. Their friendship guided me through September 11th’s aftermath, a divorce, and helped me experience and accept the fullness of myself as a woman. Sometimes I felt like each woman represented an aspect of my self. I’m grateful that they opened their lives to me. Photographing in this way, being known, not anonymous like working in the street was a challenge and experiment for me.
I hope these photos challenge Western standards of beauty in regards to the assumption that thin is beautiful and that women should be constantly trying to achieve it. My intention is to show the large female body as one of sensuality, full of joy and playfulness, not pathology. In Western culture the fat body is often viewed with disdain and ridicule. American culture’s obsession with dieting and thinness, the search to discover the obesity gene, and summits held to address the “epidemic” amount to institutionalized attempts to render the fat body invisible, and a counter-narrative is needed.
I hope these photos serve as portraits of three women who have come to accept, celebrate and lovingly embrace the complexities of both their physical and emotional size.
Special thanks to Kathleen LeBesco whose book Revolting Bodies: The Struggle to Re-define Fat Identity helped me make sense of many aspects of the work.