Weight and talent

You know what sucks? The amount of talent that’s lost when society requires its artists to fit a narrow standard of beauty.

Ragen at Dances With Fat has a great post about it here, mostly pertaining to performing artists.

But even writers face pressure to be pretty or be ignored. One of my favorite writers, Cheryl Strayed, talked about it in a recent interview (unfortunately, I can’t find the link).

As a fat writer,* it just makes me want to smash things.

As does the skinniness of this otherwise pretty cool fashion shoot, which I came across in an old issue of O Magazine. The shoot featured eight poets posing with lines from their own work.

All women, half women of color? Awesome, and not surprising coming from Oprah.  All thin? Well, also not surprising coming from Oprah.

I don’t begrudge these poets their place in the magazine. But how many others weren’t even considered because they failed the conventional attractiveness test?

I hate that so much more visibility is awarded to writers who happen to be thin. I hate that artists are often judged as much on their looks as their work.

I want to live in a world where art of all sorts is encouraged. And where artists of all shapes and sizes–as well as genders, sexual orientations, gender identities, races, ethnicities, religions, and abilities–stand on an equal playing field.

This is the world I believe in. This is the world I will work toward.

*I know this blog is mainly image-based, but I also write poems. I don’t publish my work online because that would make it ineligible for submission to most journals.

One thought on “Weight and talent

  1. Agreed. And it isn’t just art, it’s politics, the workplace, everywhere! Women are judged on their appearance all the time, even when it has nothing whatsoever to do with their work. The female talent pool is being narrowed to a ridiculous extent; small wonder that men continue to dominate.

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