Around Valentine's Day, media s full of images of fit women in silk kimonos and red, lacy underthings — and while those images can be fun, the bulk it is somewhat homogenous and heteronormative. However, the Adipositivity Project’s Valentine Series, a collection of photographs showing different bodied couples, breaks that mold. The project focuses on diverse couples of different shapes and sizes — and by putting them at the forefront, the underlying message is that all bodies deserve love.
Substantia Jones, the creator and photographer behind the Adipositivity Project’s Valentine Series, is trying to broaden the definitions of physical beauty by showing different body types naked. Jones created the Adipositivity Project with the hopes of encouraging the discussion of body politics — she's trying to show her audience fat people's bodies in ways that are absent from mainstream media, with the hopes that the more we see them, the faster people are able to accept and respect them.
"Repeated exposure to positive (or even neutral) depictions of fat bodies is known to help people accept their own fat bodies, as well as those of others. I find the two fuel one another. And that’s all I want, really. I want people to love their bodies and allow others to love their own," Jones tells Bustle.
Each year, Jones photographs plus size people with their partners for the Adipositivity Project’s Valentine Series. She shoots the love birds totally naked, posting a picture or two each day in February until Valentine's Day.
The Valentine series began in a super organic way, at one of her regular photo shoots. "Years ago an Adiposer brought a date to her shoot. I don’t recommend it, but this one worked out great, as he suggested I also photograph fat people with their squeezes," Jones shares. "I thought it was a great idea, and Mr. Idea Dude dropped trou for me right then and there, and the two of them became the first Adipositivity Valentine couple. There’s been a whole lotta love in the years since."
Even though her subjects are naked, the locations for the shoot are varied and super interesting. "In an LA grotto, on a South Pacific island hilltop, a downtown Detroit street, alongside New York City’s East River, and one overlooking the Hudson. In a rainy field with fire batons (!), and in matching onesies. Not to mention more than a few in beds and backyards," Jones shares.
The photos in the 2017 Valentine's series will represent participants of color, the disabled, and the LGBT community, amongst others.
"Seeing yourself represented in media and culture is vital to your well-being. Feeling invisible can contribute to minority stress and further marginalization. The aim of the Adipositivity Project is to create visibility fat people, many of whom are also part of other marginalized populations," Jones explains. "It wouldn’t occur to me not to include them. Non-intersectional activism would be counter-productive. It’s important that the project reflect the world we live in. Love is for everybody. As is self-love."
To see both last years photos and to keep up with the unveiling 2017 series, check out the collection at The Adipositivity Project.
Images: The Adipositivity Project (7)