#1402: Photographer Takes On Sneers At Body Image

Jun 3, 2016

On this week’s 51%, we hear from a photographer who takes on societal sneers at body image. And we explore the biography of one of the most important French writers of the 20th century.

Becoming an Internet sensation was the last thing on photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero’s mind when she released a series of self-portraits on Lenscratch, a fine art site frequented mostly by photography aficionados. The images showed an overweight woman in public places being met with ridicule, gawks and sneers. When The Huffington Post and The Daily Mail picked up the series viewers deluged the sites expressing both condemnation and praise. She was called everything from a “fat lump of lard” who should kick her donut habit to “brilliant and so powerful.”

The photos hit a cultural nerve, speaking to our standards of female form and beauty, the expectations placed on women to achieve them, and societal reaction when such standards are tossed aside. The experience inspired Morris-Cafiero to expand her series of self-portraits, and, camera in hand, she hit the road, surreptitiously having photos snapped of herself in destinations such as Prague and New Orleans, Miami and Berlin. The result is her book The Watchers. She says it all started about six years ago in New York City, in Times Square.

New guidance issued by a New York City agency includes a provision saying that pregnant women cannot be kept out of bars or refused alcoholic drinks just because they're expecting.

The city Human Rights Commission guidelines outline a variety of anti-discrimination measures and expound on a 2013 city law that mostly concerns protections for pregnant workers. Included is a warning saying bouncers cannot refuse to let mothers-to-be into bars and that restaurants cannot refuse to serve them alcohol. The U.S. Surgeon General and major medical associations say pregnant women should avoid alcohol. New York City itself requires restaurants to post warnings that alcohol can cause birth defects. Nevertheless, city officials say such health decisions are up to the woman, not a bartender.  And now Caitlin Esch explores the biography of one of the most important French writers of the 20th century.  

And that's our show this week. Thanks to Patrick Garrett for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio

Parts of this podcast contain copy from the AP. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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