The idea that people might be staring at you in public and judging you on your weight is something most of us fear. Being members of a rather obsessed society with thinness, life can be hard for larger people, especially women. To make us realize how tough and embarrassing that is for people with the "fat" stigma, an overweight photographer has captured society's animosity towards obese people in a series of photographs which show various strangers glaring and sneering at her while she is working out.
Memphis-based photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero has long been aware of strangers making fun of her behind her back due to her size. So aware, in fact, that she has turned the whole concept into a full-blown photography project. Titled Wait Watchers, the series consists of Morris-Cafiero’s self-portraits in public in which strangers can be seen in the background giving her strange looks and/or laughing.
Morris-Cafiero first noticed that she was being appraised by strangers while working on another project. For one of the photos, she took a self-portrait sitting on steps in Times Square. When she looked back through the pictures, she noticed that she wasn't the only one taking pictures. A man behind her was making a face at her while his friend snapped a picture of him. The event stood out to her. "Even though we're in the sensory-overload capital of the world, and he's being photographed, he seems to be fixated on me," she comments. She began to notice the phenomenon in more of her own photos as well. Instead of retreating from the public eye, though, she decided to meet it head to head.
She began setting up cameras in public places, and then staging it to look like she just happened to be in the area. The photos capture not only Morris-Cafiero herself, but the reactions of the passerby. "I'm very interested in how society uses the gaze to communicate their emotion, then how we, in turn, interpret the way people look at us," she explains. The Wait Watchers project turns the strangers' gaze at Morris-Cafiero back on themselves, and, she hopes, make people aware of the issues of body image, shaming of larger people, which Morris-Cafiero has experienced first hand.
And you really can't argue that her attitude is anything short of fantastic. "We all know that haters are going to be haters," she says, directly to her audience in the Wait Watchers Kickstarter video, "but as I celebrate myself, I hope you learn to love and celebrate yourself as well."
You can see some of the images on her site, and check out her Kickstarter, which will go towards funding the publication of her book. She's also on Instagram and Twitter.
Once again isn't right or moral to judge a book by its cover...Obese people need help to improve their health and rejection or jeer may push them to isolation and cause them more problems that they've been already facing! Morris-Cafiero has done an amazing work and she is ringing the bell to our society! Please listen!
Photos: Haley Morris-Cafiero
Sources: Haley Morris-Cafiero, Viralnova
Share her unique and meaningful project with others, we should all be aware!