Letter: Hengameh

At home with Hengameh.

Being the boss of your own life is hard when others are claiming ownership of your body. Other people‘s expectations and projections on me really messed with the image I had of myself.

My body is one of a non-binary, queer, Muslim, fat femme of color. In a neoliberal and capitalist logic, fat and non-white bodies are considered to be lazy, undesirable, gross, obscene, sick. To society, being fat means being a failure because if you had „tried hard enough“ to optimize your body, you would be athletic and slim and productive like „everyone“ else.

I had been tired of taking this blame and shame for a few years now. Still, being shot in underwear and knowing the pictures will be published gave me a lot of anxiety. Will these pictures be used against me to claim that I am unprofessional? Would a cis male person in the same work environment as me posing topless have the same worries? What about a skinny person? A white person?

Then I gave myself a mental reality-slap in the face to remind myself to chill - after all, this is just skin. Just because most people can‘t handle a fat person showing their skin and feeling themselves, it does not mean that I should stop living my best life.

Other people‘s narrow minds have been holding me back for such a long time now and I am not having it anymore. Plus, at the end of the day, I was not doing the shooting for myself only - I knew that it would simply mean a lot to me to see a person with a similar body take up this kind of space and owning and reclaiming their beauty.

And, it feels bold to be fat while referring to yourself as an underwear model.

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