Fat Bottom Revue

As most regular internet users know, Leonard Nimoy passed away recently. And while he was best known for his role as science officer Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek, he enjoyed a long and successful career across several artistic fields. I was recently introduced to one of his photography books: The Full Body Project.

This is how most of us remember Leonard Nimoy.

For those most familiar with Nimoy through his Trek performances, this project may seem dissonant. Particularly given Spock’s emotionally detached demeanor and his close bond with Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy does not naturally lead in one’s mind to naked women. Despite this, the photographs in this book demonstrate artistic and technical skill as well as obvious respect for their subjects. The Full Body Project is a collection of photographs of large women, minimally costumed or nude. Most of the subjects are drawn from a San Francisco-based “Big Burlesque” troupe who performed together in the Fat-Bottom Revue. The models are sensitive, playful, elegant, and proud. They dance and pose and look, very intently, at the camera and the viewer.

One image from the book. The next page shows these women in the same pose, without the costumes.

In a culture where fat is stigmatized, pathologized, and fetishized, these pictures were unlike any I had seen before. But the bodies in them are very familiar to me. That is what dear friends look like, and relatives. That is how the room looked at my first fantasy convention, as we sang along full-voiced to “Fat Bottomed Girls.” Those curves, dimples, lumps, and stretch marks all appear on my own body. Bodies that look like this are not normally presented as pretty or compelling, and the people whose bodies look like this are not normally made to feel pretty or compelling.

If you are interested in more resources that respectfully illustrate and address full bodies, try some of these:

The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and other Incendiary Acts

The Fat Body (In)visible

Stacked: A 32DDD reports from the front

Read My Hips: How I learned to love my body, ditch dieting, and live large

The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life

Health at Every Size: The surprising truth about your weight

Fat Politics: The real story behind America’s obesity epidemic

Fat: The anthropology of an obsession

What’s Wrong With Fat?

The Fat Studies Reader

Big Big Love: A sex and relationships guide for people of size (and those who love them)

Hot & Heavy: Fierce fat girls on live, love & fashion

Bountiful Women: large women’s secrets for living the life they desire

Two Whole Cakes: how to stop dieting and learn to love your body

Learning Curves: living your life in full and with style

–Bonnie T.


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3 responses to “Fat Bottom Revue

  1. Ginny

    A great post! I just listened to Eve Ensler’s play “The Good Body” – another interesting work on this topic! (got it the audiobook on Overdrive!)

  2. Reblogged this on Cystarrium Paradigm and commented:
    very, very, very interesting

  3. Linda Bacon

    Great post. Glad to see my first book, Health at Every Size, recommended. Also wanted to give you a heads up to my latest book, which is even more spot on to the topic: Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Leave Out, Get Wrong or Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight: http://thebodypolitic.biz/bodyrespect/ .

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