It's Not Always Easy Looking Like A Fat Hooker

This week's New Yorker runs a short notice about Margot Roth, a first-time filmmaker who set out to make documentary showing "real" nude women, with all of their not-so-perfect parts exposed (the New Yorker describes her as the "Bob Guccione of bulgy everywomen"). When Roth shot the film — now called Fifty Nude Women: A Musical Montage — in 2001, the set was bursting with "girl-bonded giddiness." Some of the participants gathered to watch the film recently, and the reaction seemed a little more subdued. "'I'm thinner now," Heather Allison, a 30-year-old university administrator said, as a shot of her as an odalisque revealed an upper-abdomen paunch. 'I was still coming off my women's-college weight gain." I can understand Allison's need to tell people she's thinner in real life — because that's exactly how I felt after Tracie and I did the American Apparel video.




Before we made the video, I had accepted that it would be less than flattering, but I thought that it would be more empowering than soul crushing. I thought it would be saying a big fuck you to the celebrity-sartorial complex which requires everyone to be a size 0. I thought I could quell my vanity to make a point that I felt strongly about. It turns out, not so much! In the weeks that have elapsed since the we put up the video, I've been more self-conscious about my size than ever. Lemme tell you: Having thousands of internet trolls write about how gross you are — even when you've already likened yourself to a "fat hooker" — does a number on the old self-esteem. And I'm not the only one — Tracie felt similarly. She was only less upset than I was because she had prepared herself to be "devastated" before the video went up, whereas I thought that I could handle it.

I read the comments you readers write. Every time an issue comes up relating to weight on the site, everyone rushes to post her measurements. Even anonymous internet commenters feel the need to somehow prove they're not fat. I thought about doing that after the video, but I realized that would be destroying all the things I hoped to stand for by making it in the first place And yes, I realize how shallow and ultimately useless it is to obsess about your weight, and every time I think about how much time I've wasted hating myself for my unwaiflike proportions I hate myself even more.

The way we scrutinize our own bodies — and others' bodies as well — is almost impossible for some of us to get beyond, no matter how hard we try to will ourselves beyond it. I don't have any solutions. Maybe someday I'll be able to pull a stunt like that and be invigorated instead of cowed into size-submission. But for now I'm settling for never, ever seeing myself in a gold lamé tube dress ever again.

Real Naked Ladies [The New Yorker]

Fifty Nude Women [Fifty Nude Women Official Website]

Earlier: American Apparel Will Make You Look Like A Fat Hooker