Shame on who?

Art is such an incredibly powerful thing. It can give life to things that only existed within the boundaries of your imagination, introduce you to someone else’s private world, or make something completely revolutionary that was so ordinary before. Or it can bring a new perspective to something you are aware of, but don’t usually think about. It can also make you uncomfortable. Enter artist Lee Price. With her newest series, her photo-realistic paintings explore the (unnecessarily) complicated relationship women tend to have with food. The images are striking and draw the viewer directly into a snapshot of what seems to be an obsession with seeking… something… in food. The original article has more examples (you can find it here: Huffington Post). The author of the HuffPost article sees the article like this:

Price’s subjects don’t ask to be pitied or judged. Their enjoyment of junk food, rather, is equated with a joy of life, and a grand “screw you” to all who attempt to censor their needs and desires. Even if the nourishment they’re looking for isn’t to be found in a bag of Cheetos, that’s their problem, not yours.

However, I see things a different way; and that’s the beauty of art – it’s subjective. I’m seeing a different woman in the paintings. The woman in the bathroom, wedged between the tub and the door, clearly seems to be making an effort to keep anyone and everyone out so they don’t see what she is doing. There is such a feeling of isolation and sadness… of shame. Another image of the series shows the subject on a bed of white sheets wearing a tank and underwear, surrounded by jelly doughnuts covered in white powdered sugar. There is a smear of jelly on the tank, trailed across her belly; almost like a blood stain. It evokes the image of a crime scene and the subject is the victim of her own violence; violence by doughnut.

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These images illustrate the larger issue of fat-shaming that pervades our culture. “You can never be too thin” or “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is the kind of claptrap I’m talking about. We see it in commercials and advertisements all the time; and we even do it to ourselves. I don’t know how to stop the companies from making such terrible ideas for their products and the human race, but I do know this: you are beautiful. We are all beautiful. We are beautiful in a million inspiring, funny, crazy, and terrible ways. Find your own form to live in. Define it by what makes you happy, and keeps you healthy… not by what other people say it should be, or what size it comes in. Beautiful is how we should be, not how others define us.

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