The conversation about the lack of diversity in media and television extends beyond issues of Black and White—it includes the topic of body image, too. Flip through any channel on TV or thumb through the pages of your magazine and your chance of seeing a spread or a commercial clad with full figured women is slim to none. Sure, we’ve got our favorite thick girls on the big screen (Gabourey Sidibe, Danielle Brooks and Raven Goodwin) but for vast majority of TV watchers, they could tune into their favorite shows for hours and never see a curvy actress grace their screen. To add insult to injury, if by chance, you do see a curvy character, she is rarely —if ever— the love interest. Last season, Empire got critics and audiences talking when Gaborey Sidibe’s character, Becky, engaged in a steamy love scene with co-star Mo McCrae, sparking a series of rude comments about the portrayal of curvy love.
Curvy, fat, thick— however you chose to label it, women (and men) who exceed certain measurements are generally tossed into Hollywood’s no man’s land. Women with curves are an untouched area that Hollywood generally overlooks and renders invisible when it comes to love. However, one short film director is bringing curves to the forefront sexualizing fat and the women who own their curves. As a part of NOWNESS’s ‘Define Beauty Series,’ short film director, James Lee debuted “In Praise of Fat” last fall in which he explores the sensuality of fat from cellulite to stretch marks and every fold in between. “When do you ever see an overweight model being sexual?” Lee asks. “It’s almost as if it is taboo; deemed not something people want to see. I wanted to confront this face-on,” states Lee when asked about the premise of the film.
Shot in black and white with close up and wide angle shots and gripping base in the background, the film is a titillating two minutes of beautiful and electrifying cinematography that lends an intimacy and eroticism to curvy women that has been long absent from the big screen. Lee casts curvy model, Vanity Fox along side porn star, Brock Avery, completely calling us to question how we define beauty and seamlessly trumping the notion that fat cannot be coveted and seen as sexy.