FullBeauty Project Captures Morbidly Obese Women In The Nude (NSWF images)

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Beauty is in the eye of beholder. At least that’s the message these portraits were created to demonstrate.

The controversial set of images, captured by Italian photographer Yossi Loloi, make up an ongoing art project called FullBeauty. FullBeauty is part of a growing movement to promote acceptance of people of all shapes and sizes and and challenge traditional notions of beauty.

“What larger women embody to me,” Loloi says, “is simply a different form of beauty. I believe we own ‘freedom of taste’ and one shouldn’t be reluctant of expressing his inclination towards it. Limiting this freedom is living in a dictatorship of aesthetics.”

Loloi only uses models that weigh at least 30 stone (420 pounds), with the heaviest weighing in at 43 stones (just over 600 pounds). He asks that they wear no clothing so as to portray them in their complete “fullness and femininity.”

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When asked about the overall intention of the project, Loloi said:

“I believe there are several ways to what is perceived as beauty, it is not measurable and has not got a standard size.”

When asked whether his project promotes ill health (according to the WHO, obesity kills over 2.8 million people each year), Loloi responded:

“It saddens me sometimes when people stop at the gates of the ‘health issue’ rather than stepping inside the image and trying to understand it.

It shows how we are spoiled culturally, and so it is my job as an artist to ‘awaken’ feelings in others, be it outrage or marvel.

With FullBeauty I am trying to underline that we all have the right to be appreciated the way we are and that there should be no dictatorship on taste.”

But setting aside notions of beauty, many argue that “fat acceptance” campaigns like Loloi’s are missing the point. Dissenters say organizations like the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, which fights size discrimination, are propagating the notion that being overweight or obese has no personal or societal consequences. They cite research that suggests being significantly overweight leads to heart disease and diabetes.

Stephen Nicholls, M.D., clinical director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention, is concerned that fat acceptance campaigns like Loloi’s might send the message that being overweight isn’t a health issue.

“As a population, we consume processed, high-fat, easily available food and reduce the amount of exercise and activity we perform on a daily basis. There is complacency about developing obesity, and it could suggest that we underestimate what its implications might be.”

While most people would agree that the modeling industry’s focus on anorexic-looking models isn’t healthy, promoting the opposite extreme might be just as harmful. But if the mission of this project is to provoke questions in the minds of viewers, Loloi has certainly achieved his goal in that respect:

What is the connection between beauty and health? Is beauty something to strive for? Who decides what is beautiful?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

You can view all the images in the FullBeauty project (warning: NSFW) here.

via HuffPost UK

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About Chelsea Roff

Chelsea Roff is Managing Editor for Intent Blog. She is an author, speaker, and researcher writing about science, spirituality, women's health, and humanitarian issues. Visit her website to read past writings, watch video interviews, and see her teaching schedule. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Comments

  1. While I get the artistic impulse to break the taboo and reveal the beauty of these morbidly obese women, and while I am impacted by the loving and sensual depiction of their bodies, I think this is a bit misguided.

    First: beauty is not merely socially constructed. While there are cultural variations in what is perceived as beautiful, those variations are constrained by evolutionary factors.

    Beauty is not a blank slate – it is based in our instinctive evaluation of health and status. However much it may get tweaked by cultural influences, at bottom beauty has to do with evaluating mates that we feel would be good candidates for the strongest chance of our genes surviving.

    Most people do not find morbid obesity attractive for the same reason we don’t find wildly asymmetrical facial features or advanced tooth decay attractive – these are signs of ill health.

    We generally find evidence of superior health and immunity attractive, and then this is exaggerated in various ways by cultural fashions. Sure, the unrealistic image of, say, skinny women with disproportional breasts is problematic – but we can see how it combines two indicators of health: fitness and fertility in a way that enacts what ramachandran calls a “super stimulus.” Similarly, six pack abs, chiseled facial bones and outsize biceps create an impression of potent masculinity that many women respond to with arousal.

    Which leads to the naive statement about wishing people would not stop at the gates of health…. On an abstract aesthetic level, sure – if we practice dropping our reaction of either aversion or concern we can meditate on the shapes and unique features of these bodies as holding a kind of beauty, but it does not change the fact that we are innately disposed to a) not see the morbidly obese as desirable and b) to feel concern for their health. These two facts are intimately related.

  2. Beauty is inherent in everything. We often lack the ability to see it. This is where artists come in, they help us see things in a new, more inspired way. Can you sense the divine feminine essence, the vulnerability of the woman in each portrait? Can you recognize her intrinsic value and appreciate that she has a meaningful contribution to make to this world and can you separate that from your need to assign a social meaning to her physical differences?

    Can you stretch yourself to recognize beauty where you thought it did not exist?

  3. While i can appreciate the beauty within each individual and the talents and strengths inherent in all of us, find the portrayal of these morbidly obese women to be a bit disturbing. The pain. humiliation, and the health problems they must certainly have trumps their sense of purpose and healthy self esteem. How beautiful can someone be if she dying from heart disease? How beautiful can someone be if she can’t fit in an airplane seat? And how beautiful can she be if she experiences the heartbreak of rejection due to her weight? The inner talents that each one of these women has will shine through with much more energy if her outer self reflects her inner self.