Change Proposal/Context Analysis

For my change project I want to address fatphobia and lack of media representation for overweight women ( books, dolls, toys, movies, tv shows,etc) especially when it comes to goods targeted at adolescent and preteen girls. This is obviously an issue that I have first hand experience with and I remember when I was a preteen I was obsessed with fashion, online dress up dolls and lifestyle games, and things of that nature, but never saw a body in these things that matched mine or that I could relate to. Even now, I don’t see bodies like mine in advertisements or represented in the mainstream media and I worry that this contributes to the already highly present collective fear of getting fat and general disinterest in/disgust for overweight bodies. This is especially harmful I believe in toys and games that young girls in a period where their bodies are changing and they are becoming more aware of how their bodies are treated and sexualized based on how they look.

I propose to do a line of paper dolls that are modeled directly after real women, women who identify with being overweight or having an unconventional body that is not respected or positively discussed in society and the media. I will likely look for volunteers on campus (female students) and ask them to discuss their personal experiences with how they’re body type has affected the kind of respect, treatment, and opportunities they have had access in their lives so far. I would also want to talk to them about how they have come to accept their bodies and beautiful and able even though they exist in a society that doesn’t always encourage them to love themselves. I would include a quote from this interview on the sheet of paper with their individualized doll. Also in the sheet of paper that is to be the work:

  • cartoon drawing of woman’s body in underwear or t-shirt as the base doll to which the clothes can be added two
  • cartoon drawings of two outfits that I will draw which will be the two outfits my particular subject feels the most comfortable, beautiful, and herself in
  • any hair styles or accessories that the subject feels is essential to her personal style or image

I intend to do four different dolls, including myself as one of the dolls, each with two outfits. These sheets will be available to download from my website. I am also trying to think of another means of distribution that can get at a larger audience, like making them available at children’s libraries or guerilla style inserting them into bookstores and toy-stores.

I feel like my personal experiences with this subject matter are like my context analysis of the issue but here are some sources that discuss the nature of a fat-disapproving culture and ways that women are redefining what it means to be heavy and healthy:

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