The Power of Diverse Body Representation in Art

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We here are Beyond The Curve talk about the power of representation and exposure to different body types as key in really embracing body love. The way it works is pretty simple. If you see more bodies that look like you, it normalizes your shape and your negative feelings are replaces with more positive ones. Filling your Instagram with plus size bloggers and cutting out sources that idolize the “ideal” body (i.e. women’s magazines, high fashion websites, etc.) are proven ways to help people start and maintain more productive thinking about their own bodies. However, the more ways that you can get different visuals of diverse bodies, the better off you will be. In order to provide you with EVEN more great images of all kinds of bodies, here some additional sources that can helps you achieve full on Body Love Warrior status.

Coloring Books

Adult coloring books are hot! This art therapy is used for the treatment of everything from depression and anxiety to borderline personality disorder. It is also a fun and relaxing activity that brings you back to your younger days and it is very satisfying. You can color in everything from beautiful undersea images to artistic masterpieces to vulvas. Happily, there are even some options that that contribute beautifully to our efforts of normalizing different types of bodies.

bodyloveA brand new offering is Body Love: A Fat Activism Colouring Book by Allison Tunis. The author is also the illustrator and used images of real people for her illustrations, which you can color in any way you want! Even some of your favorites fat activists like Jes Baker are included in the pages. Tunis includes many types of fat bodies including those belonging to people of color and men.

Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace: A Body-Positive Coloring Book by Theo Nicole Lorenz has been around quite a bit longer but was reissued in June 2016. Just as the title tells you, it is filled with images of different sized women not just in space but doing cool stuff like riding a robot unicorn and using a jetpack. You know, like we did last weekend. The author has shared that they are planning at least two other Fat Lady coloring books od different genres.


Previously written off as the domain of “geeks and nerds”, comics are having a moment. faithWhile accurate representation of the female form in this medium is a controversial topic, there are at least a few places where larger and/or different bodies can be seen. One of the better known is the series comic Faith by Jody Houser and Marguerite Sauvage. Our heroine is described as “fat and fierce superhero” who both comes to terms with her new powers and fights crime.

Another source for body diversity is the work of Sarah Winifred Searle , whom we have touted in a previous blog entry. She is also extremely sex positive which is a lovely combo. Two new-to-me sources include Girls with Slingshots includes relatively diverse body types in a positive light and Godseeker, which has a fabulous fat fertility goddess among its strong female leads.

Traditional Art

From Rubens to Botero, the curvier feminine form takes many shapes in the art world. This doesn’t only apply to art in museums, although that is a fantastic place to start. screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-8-05-56-pmCurrent artists are doing some wonderful work exploring different forms. Some of my favorites include drawings from Kathryn Mallow from Murder of Goths, works from renowned Chinese sculptor Xu Hongfei  and the charming paintings and sculptures by Susan Ruiter . This includes her painting “Feeling Good”, which is the cover image for this article.


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