Tag Archives: fat acceptance movement

So She Thinks She Can Dance?



A Special Guest Blog By: Courtney Mueller, Co-Producer of “Finding Thin”

The pressure was on for Natalia Mallory. 18-year-old Natalia and her sister Sasha made it through the first round of auditions and headed to Las Vegas to compete on the television show, “So You Think You Can Dance?. For their primary
and perhaps most important audition the sisters performed a duet.

Upon initial review, you wouldn’t think these two were actual sisters.

Natalia and Sasha MallorySasha Mallory was thin, very fit, and had a traditional dancer’s body. She represented the energy and beauty that an audience has come to expect from a dancer.

But Natalia was not typical. She was tall and stocky with a big personality. She was the bigger sister. She was the bigger dancer.

Her size was further emphasized when she had to switch partners- the first, more slight partner could not lift her during a jive routine.  Natalia persevered with the grace and smile her audience had already come to expect of her.

After the jive, Natalia became dizzy, felt chills, and ended up being
hospitalized for blood sugar issues.  Instead of speculating about whether or not her size played a role in her health problems, her fans just rooted for a quick recovery.

She rallied, and came back to the auditions where she performed once more before the next cut.

It was down to the last dance. Her sister had already made it, but
Natalia’s future was at stake and the odds were stacked against her. She was
already being compared to her sister as well as the rest of the traditional dancers.

The truth is, Natalia was more than just your typical dancer. She was
bigger in size, but she was fit, talented, and had an essence that
captured the music and the hearts of the judges and fans. She broke barriers. She broke the stereotype of what a dancer looks like.

Natalia showed that a larger sized woman can dance just as well as the skinny willowy girls we’re used to seeing.  She showed there was more to performing than a dancer’s body type.

She made it through to the next round.

We look at people like Natalie and are often quick to judge. We think
they are overweight instead of built. We think they are weak instead
of strong. We think the thin dancer has more talent than the thick
one. We judge the book by its cover.

Surely Natalie doesn’t look like the typical dancer; but her strong
technique, passion, and talent speaks for itself. Forget the cover,
open up the book and read the pages.

The first chapter title reads: Real Women Can Dance Too.

My Position on Fat Acceptance

There has been speculation recently about what stance the film “Finding Thin” would take on fat acceptance — a very heated and sensitive issue. The time has come to try and make my intentions very clear.

I am obese, and I accept myself and want others to accept me. That puts me on the side of those who do not tolerate bigotry or prejudice of of any kind including discrimination against size, race, creed, religion, sexual preference, etc.

I also believe that fat is beautiful and anyone can be attractive. I sometimes waver about my own appearance and can be very self conscious. I’m lucky that I have good people, including my closest friend and business partner, around me to remind me that my weight shouldn’t stop me from what I want to do.

Despite this, I firmly believe that the health risk that obesity presents to myself, my family and to this great country of ours means we should try to understand how we came to be this way and what we can do to be healthy. I have lost almost half my family due to obesity-related illnesses, and I recently ended up in the hospital with a health scare directly attributable to my weight. If I had chosen healthier eating or a better lifestyle, I’m certain it could have been prevented. Likewise, if my family had known the risks of the weight they carried and had the tools they needed to help achieve a healthy weight, I may not have lost them prematurely to obesity.

I know there are no easy answers, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to find them for our children, who are experiencing increasing rates of obesity, or for the adults, who are dying in larger numbers due to diabetes, cancer and heart disease. These problems are not mythical and have real causes rooted in weight issues. They will catch up with each and every one of us if we don’t learn to take care of ourselves and live at a healthy weight. We know this and can’t seem to do anything about it, and I don’t think it’s acceptable.

I think the fat acceptance movement does a lot to highlight the real discrimination that people of size experience in our society, and I’m not opposed to their efforts. However, I don’t feel discrimination is the biggest problem that we face and that’s why I’m making this film.

I stand on the side of never going up against or hating anyone or anything except this terrible disease and epidemic called obesity. Certainly not the people that suffer from it because I know, love and am one of them.

– Barry Roskin Blake

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