by Smrita Jain
Fat bodies = lazy women
Fat bodies = women who don’t love or care for themselves
Fat bodies = depressed women
Fat bodies = ugly
Fat bodies = women who don’t have partners in life
Fat bodies = don’t deserve serious relationships
Fat bodies = unhealthy
I could go on and on, but this is the reality of what most people think fat bodies mean to them especially in the context of women. We see these views in advertisements, graphics, slogans, our daily talks, on dates, and several other ways.
Judging a woman based on her looks is just like judging a book by its cover. But then why are professional graphic designers and illustrators hired to design a book cover? They hire them because there is a deep sense of strategy involved in designing the cover.
There is a reason as to why the cover is set in a deep, dark tone, or a bright yellow, or designed in a way to give a lighter romantic feel or with a font that is thick and bold or a thin and lean font or a handwritten style… the designer is strategically placing all the elements to make a cohesive look and feel of the book and to bring out a personality to the book. But a fat font used in the cover design does not mean that it’s an ugly book, does it?
While designing the book cover for Women in the Crossfire, by Robert Paul Churchill, which is being printed by Oxford University Press, I requested Paul to send me some of the beginning chapters to read, to get a whiff of what the book is all about. The book discusses honour killing and how women are victimized and what are the possible solutions to combat this cultural issue, its co-relation, and debunking the facts related to religious beliefs.
It was not up to me to make the story look good on the cover. The real story is when you actually read the book. The cover does not define the story. The cover is merely a personified vision of the story displayed using graphical and visual elements. We women are pretty much the same and our designer is the nature itself.
Just as any book cover does not define the book itself, women’s appearances should also not be the way to judge her character or her beauty.
In 2014, Victoria Secret came out with ‘Perfect Body’ campaign, as a plus size person myself, I actually felt very uncomfortable with their poster ads in front of the showroom. Very quickly, the campaign received severe backlash and women from all over the world wanted to show the reality, the truth about how normal bodies look like and how they are still ‘perfect bodies.’
But what happens after that? We dive back into the same old visual imagery that surrounds us in every step of our way that actually makes many women very uncomfortable. Do you remember the ad with the tag line ‘Are you beach body ready’ (released in 2015)? If yes, then brace yourself for the Seven Dwarves movie expected to release in 2018.
I have faced character assignation so many times in my life. But what was most hurtful was when I was told that I was fat which means I don’t love myself and that I am a depressed person.
Companies and organisations create awful, degrading ads, and then apologize but rarely go out of discussion. I sometimes feel many companies do this on purpose to create a buzz around their product or service even though they might be infamous for their ads. I’ve seen myself as the same ladies who get angry over these ads, stand in a line for hours and hours when the products go on sale.
We all can simply run around in a circle and try to chase each other’s backs but honestly, this is how the world works now. Simply put, it is the yin and yang: the negative and positive; dark or bright forces that churn the wheels of the earth around. The worry is if that wheel ever stops, would it stop on the sunny side or the fat side.
當我為由Robert Paul Churchill所撰寫的Women in the Crossfire一書（由Oxford University Press印刷）時，為了更好地捉摸書本的內容，我要求Paul給我先發書本的開首幾個章節。書籍討論的是「榮譽處決」的相關歷史事實、探索女性究竟如何無辜的被變成受害者並且解決這個文化的可能方法。
不論我如何努力，我也沒有辦法利用封面就能將這個故事變得美好。當你閱讀這本書的時候，你才看到真正的故事 – 封面並沒有辦法定義這個故事。封面只不過是利用圖像稍微將故事總結一下 – 我們作為女人有著自己的故事，設計師就是自然本身。
但是在此之後呢？我們還是看見跟往常一樣的該廣告，還是讓人繼續的不舒服。不知道你是否記得一個以「Are you beach body ready？」（2015）為宣傳標語的廣告？如果記得的話，2018年還有一套關於七個小矮人的電影呢。