A short synopsis of FAT GIRLS FLOAT
“…[ W]e have this sick cultural idea that there is something wrong with fat and that a fat body is a marker of a defective person. This idea is so strong, so deeply entrenched in the culture, that we absorb it, it gets lodged in our psyches, and most people, fat and thin, come to believe and act as if this oppressive idea is reality.” (Dr. Linda Bacon, 2009)
Tired of no one sitting next to her on the M14 bus, 300 pound film maker Kira Nerusskaya decided to start on a journey to find out if fat women were treated with the same discrimination in other cities of the world. She started her journey at a number of nightclubs, single dances, and “bashes” (weekend social events for fat people) across the United States. She then journeyed across the pond to London, Paris, and three cities in Russia. This is a new angle on the ever-emerging “obesity epidemic” because it does not center on weight loss, but on the weight of self.
From small hills to all out mountains, these women with curves from Los Angeles to Russia talk what it is really like not to be a diet, and to walk around among the their societies and be hated, the butt of a joke, disrespected and invisible. They don’t end their interviews saying they want to go on a diet. They want to defeat the “thin privilege” of life, no matter their culture, and live their life happy and healthy, just like everyone else--without discrimination—in the workplace, in romance, on the street, and at home.
Fat people, women in particular, don’t always get ‘that chance.’ Even though it seems that the media is slowing warming to the larger size, after all 65% of the American population is considered overweight or obese, the media still spins the dial at those who embrace their size as if there is something wrong with it—that they should be embarrassed, distraught, and seeking change. Despite America’s war on obesity—more like the war on the obese—many women love their curves and have begun to not apologize for them.
Fat knows no boundary—economic or professional status, race, age, ethnicity. We all know someone fat, or overweight. Yet, fat stigma, like obesity, is on the rise worldwide. How deep seated and how early we begin to stigmatize fat people is best illustrated in a research study revealing four year old children liked fat people least, as “[f]at phobia is part of the cultural landscape.” (Bacon, 2009)
Nerusskaya travels to finds the pride of curves celebrated in the United States—from singles dances to porn, despite romantic discrimination; a new beginning with a discern for the word ‘fat’ in Russia, an influx of media hatred in Great Britain, and age-old discrimination in Paris. Yet, despite how their society views them, each needs to persevere in order to keep going. Salmon might swim upstream, but fat girls float.