Woman's photos expose the fat-shaming that overweight people are subjected to every day
Despite the fact that the world appears to have moved on when it comes to accepting our bodies no matter what form they may be, fat-shaming is still something that a lot of people have to endure and contend with. It seems crazy that in 2018, fat-shaming is still a thing, but as an incredible an eye-opening series of photos by Haley Morris-Cafiero reveal, body-shaming is still very much alive.
A few years ago, Morris-Cafiero set up cameras in public places in order to take self-portraits for a series that she was going to call "Wait Watchers." The initial goal of the photos was for self-reflection, however, she soon found that plenty of people were making rude glances behind her back. Shocked by her findings, the photographer decided to turn the subject of work from herself and onto those around her. Eventually, the images were released as part of her book, "The Watchers."
Taking to her Kickstarter page to talk about the inspiration behind the project, Morris-Cafiero wrote:
"In 2010, I set up a camera to take a self-portrait in Times Squares in New York City. After I had the film developed, I looked at the images and found that a man was standing behind me and appeared to be sneering at me.
"I never thought that I would capture a glance that can last a microsecond. Since then, I have been setting up a camera in public to see if I can capture the gazes of the strangers who walk by me while I am doing everyday, mundane acts.
"I then look at the images to see if anyone who passed by me had a critical or questioning look on their face or in their body language.
"I present the images to the world to start a conversation. While I do not know what the passersby is thinking, I attempt to reverse the gaze back onto the stranger."
The first set of photos went viral, and in turn, Morris-Cafiero received a bucket load of abuse from people who said that she should exercise and get a makeover. Taking them up on their word, the photographer headed to LA to start exercising in public.
However, while she may have thought that some people would react to her workouts sympathetically, the truth was much different.
"After my photos received viral exposure, I found that most of the articles had comment sections filled with thousands of anonymous comments criticizing my body, my clothes, my face, my hair, etc. Then the critical comments starting coming via email.
"Most of the comments and emails said that my life (and in some cases the world) would be better if I lost weight and got a makeover. The unsolicited criticism inspired the next phase of the Wait Watchers series.
"I now set up a camera and record people as they pass by me while I am doing what society wants me to do: exercise and get a makeover. By attempting to "improve" myself, I am engaging in the conversation of body acceptance and idealized beauty standards that unrealistic and unwanted by many people."
While the images are undoubtedly slightly upsetting, they have brought inner strength to Morris-Cafiero. Also, not only have her images given her a sense of pride, they have also provided an opportunity for her to speak to other overweight people who have to deal with the same things, which is undoubtedly a positive thing.