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Leonard Nimoy in the NY Times

Abby Ellin has a piece in the NY Times about Leonard Nimoy's photography. You might recall that we discussed his art here a couple of years ago. Nimoy's work is on display in Northampton, MA in advance of a book, and Ellin has written a great piece around it.

“The average American woman, according to articles I’ve read, weighs 25 percent more than the models who are showing the clothes they are being sold,” Mr. Nimoy said, his breathing slightly labored by allergies and a mild case of emphysema. “So, most women will not be able to look like those models. But they’re being presented with clothes, cosmetics, surgery, diet pills, diet programs, therapy, with the idea that they can aspire to look like those people. It’s a big, big industry. Billions of dollars. And the cruelest part of it is that these women are being told, ‘You don’t look right.’ ”

The article talks about his work with the late Heather MacAllister. And I'm proud to note that BFB gets namechecked as does BFBer nellicat.

He expects his second book to provoke an equally strong reaction, though he hopes the audience will gain a new perspective on the issue and learn something.

As for whether people will think he has a fetish, he said he can’t help that. “I just have no way of dealing with that,” he said with a laugh. “People will think what they’re going to think. I understand that.”

Leonard Nimoy remains awesome. [Via Susan Stinson, via fatfu]

Does This Photo Make Me Look Fat? | Get The Picture

Limor477's picture
Limor477
May 12th, 2007 | Link | As for whether people will

As for whether people will think he has a fetish, he said he can’t help that. “I just have no way of dealing with that,” he said with a laugh. “People will think what they’re going to think. I understand that.”

I think that this is a very interesting statement about our society. No one would even consider thinking that he has a fetish if he put out a collection of photographes that only showed women who are a size 6. I feel like this is what my husband must endure. He prefers fat over skinny (and no, he's not a feeder), but he told me that he used to feel like he needed to be "closeted" about it. He felt that admitting that he was attracted to big women, would make him look like a perv to his friends, because everywhere he looked, he was being told that the only attractive body type was a skinny one. He doesn't feel that way anymore, but it makes me wonder just how many men feel like they need to be "closeted" about this preference.

DeeLeigh's picture
DeeLeigh
May 13th, 2007 | Link | Yay! I'm so glad he's

Yay! I'm so glad he's speaking out on the topic. I've liked Leonard Nimoy ever since watching reruns of the original Star Trek as a kid. I always had the feeling that his character's intelligence wasn't faked.

As for the issue of sexual attraction, there's a big difference between preferring larger women and being a fetishist or feeder. Some men just like a more exaggerated figure, or they like a woman who's big, soft and cuddly. Some men prefer a women who's closer to their own size, rather than very light and fragile. Nothing perverse about that. I don't know why it's considered so abnormal in some circles.

urbangal May 13th, 2007 | Link | Mr. Spock Rocks

I loved the article about Leonard Nimoy's photography. I love that he thinks big women are beautiful.

And, yes, Limor477, I think that a lot of men are attracted to healthy gals and are afraid to admit it. A good friend of mine, who is also big and beautiful, maintains that the guys who make comments about big women, are actually turned on by us but hide behind the negative comments so they seem "normal," whatever the heck normal means. I'm inclined to agree.

JP's picture
JP
May 13th, 2007 | Link | But he just had to distance himself

I, too, enjoyed the article, and I look forward to Nimoy's book being published. The end of the article bothered me, though - he just had to point out that no, personally, he doesn't find fat women sexually attractive. If his subjects were elderly people, buffed out men, or size 6 women, would the writer have asked whether he specifically found his subjects sexually attractive? And would he have thought it particularly important to answer the question no no, not me, I don't?

nellicat May 14th, 2007 | Link | Yay, I made the NY Times!

Yay, I made the NY Times! LOL. I loved the article, but I, too, wondered why it had to be pointed out that Nimoy didn't necessarily find the women sexually attractive. I mean, who cares? He's an artist and he's presenting these beautiful women in an artful way, and celebrating their beauty. Whether or not he gets turned on by them is so not the point! But, yeah, it was overall a cool article.

I did kind of question why my quote, of all the comments surrounding his art, was chosen. My guess is that it was to make the contrast between how the women featured in the art were presented as unabashed and free and so many of us simply don't feel that comfortable in our bodies. I felt kind of bad, almost as if, yet once again the skinny woman gets the press. I suppose the point was that the tyranny of the narrow definition of beauty gets to us all.

Anyway, cool to see BFB mentioned and how nice to see Mr. Nimoy's art get more attention.

onceupon's picture
onceupon
May 14th, 2007 | Link | Two things

I think that the editors took a certain spin. This IS an article in a mainstream paper, after all.

Plus, I kind of like the idea that Nimoy can see beauty in fat women independently of his preference for sexual partners. After all, the gauge of beauty does not need to be whether or not you want to have sex with a person.

Blue May 16th, 2007 | Link | Seeing as he's married,

Seeing as he's married, perhaps he would have answered no to the sexual attraction question regardless of who the models are, size 6 or size 26.

aellin123 May 17th, 2007 | Link | NY TIMES

Hi all,

Wanted to comment on your comments. First off, thanks for linking to the piece and mentioning it. And I am glad you (mostly) liked it. The reason I quoted you, Nellicat, is because here you are, a relatively 'small woman', and you are envying the 'larger' women for their confidence! I feel the same way, and it was nice to have someone else echo my sentiments. And what does that say about our culture, that you would feel uncomfortable in your body--when you are culturally more accepted than the women in his pics? So, I thought it was a very signifcant quote. I wanted to honor Heather somehow, and I thought her comment on the tyranny of thinness being something she still railed against profound. There she was, a vibrant, beautiful woman who appeared totally at home in her body-and I'm sure she was--but that still, after all these years and all her hard work, it was something that required vigilance. I thought her words were honest and real and fair and worth noting. I wish I'd had the chance to talk to her in person.

As for Nimoy and the sexual attraction question...I wanted to show that he appreciates these women, finds them beautiful, but not have it be about sex. I wanted to show that you can honor a body and not automatically want to go to bed with it. Not many people make that distinction. When I mentioned the story to my friends--and editors-- they all wanted to know if he had some weird fetish. And the answer is no: He is making a daring political statement without any hidden agenda. He has no ulterior motives. He has no weird hangs ups. And I wanted to express that.

A friend of mine said, "I wasn't interested in that, especially since he is married and has
presumably never dated a woman who weighs more than he does." I asked her: Since when do married people not find others sexually attractive????!! The answer could just have easily been yes (which would not necessarily have meant he'd have acted on it, of course). I also don't know why she would presume that he would never have dated a woman who weighed more than he does. And if she DID presume that, why not ask to be double sure?

As you, Onceupon, put it, "I kind of like the idea that Nimoy can see beauty in fat women independently of his preference for sexual partners. After all, the gauge of beauty does not need to be whether or not you want to have sex with a person." EXACTLY.

Anyway, thanks for all your efforts.
Abby

Meowzer May 18th, 2007 | Link | It's very sad that being

It's very sad that being attracted to fat bodies is still considered a "weird fetish" by so many people, especially since those bodies are everywhere. But nothing is "weird" about sexually loving women with BMI < 18, which represents a tiny portion of the population and becomes even smaller when you eliminate the many women who have to go to extraordinary measures to get their weights that low. That's why I objected to that line. Not only is it insulting to us, it's insulting to the men who really do love us and don't have "some weird fetish." When men hear over and over again that they're "weird" for wanting us, is it any wonder so many of us remain unloved and so many of the rest of us live in mortal terror of losing that rare man who is willing to step forward in public as our partner?

Meowzer May 18th, 2007 | Link | Amendment to above: I meant

Amendment to above: I meant to say "sexually loving only women with BMI < 18." I of course don't think there's anything inherently wrong with being very thin or being attracted to women that size, only with not being attracted to any woman who isn't that thin.

JP's picture
JP
May 18th, 2007 | Link | Sexual attraction is not necessarily a fetish!

Ok, I can buy "I wanted to show that you can honor a body and not automatically want to go to bed with it. Not many people make that distinction." But your next comment-- " When I mentioned the story to my friends--and editors-- they all wanted to know if he had some weird fetish. And the answer is no: He is making a daring political statement without any hidden agenda. He has no ulterior motives. He has no weird hangs ups. And I wanted to express that" proves the point that several comment posters are trying to make. Finding a fat woman's body sexually attractive and having a 'weird hang up' are not the same thing.

If the photographs were of thin women, you and readers would presume that he found them sexually attractive. But they are of fat women, and because many people presume that to find a fat woman sexually attractive is the result of a weird hang up, you had to ask the question in order to have him say "no" and show your friends and editors that he was "without any hidden agenda, ulterior motives, or weird hang ups."

paul May 25th, 2007 | Link | Another mention...

Big Fat Blog in Time. Unbelievable. And, ajoyce got the quote this time!

Meowzer May 25th, 2007 | Link | FARKIN' A!

FARKIN' A!

HarlemLynn May 28th, 2007 | Link | On admiration and desire

I'm a little late on this I see, but I recall feeling very strongly about that last line when I read the Nimoy story. My thought was: "Oh, great. Someone else who 'admires' me. The hell with that. I want a date!"

I know I'm being way politically incorrect here, but while I know it's significant that Nimoy is holding curvy women up as objects of beauty, my bullshit meter goes off when people say it's great he can admire curvy women without desiring them. I'm sorry, but part of what gives women who "meet the beauty standard" POWER in that realm is not just that society (and the opposite sex in particular) ADMIRES their beauty! It's also that they DESIRE that beauty.

Is everyone just being polite or am I just feeling salty tonight?

prettywendylady's picture
prettywendylady
May 29th, 2007 | Link | All politics aside, looking

All politics aside, looking at those pictures really made me look at myself in a whole new light. At first, when I looked at them, my vanity got in the way, and I found myself looking at those women thinking, "is that what I look like? Oh, my thighs aren't nearly that large. My breasts don't sag like that." But, as I kept clicking through the photos that I could find online, my thoughts changed. They turned from vain and nit picky to, "wow! Look at those women....they don't care about dimples in their thighs or the fact that their belly hangs down. Wow! I look every bit as beautiful as these women....I should have that kind of confidence."

So to me, it doesn't matter that Nimoy said he wasn't so much attracted to this body type....what matters to me is that looking at those photos made me feel more like the sexy woman that I am instead of the blob of fat that others may see me as. And really, as an artist, isn't that what he was really looking to do?

Just as an aside, I sent links to the Nimoy project to a guy friend of mine. He already knew about the project, but was quick to interject that he thought I was just as beautiful as those women. That was a real ego boost.

Catmom1's picture
Catmom1
May 30th, 2007 | Link | I still grok Spock but....

I have ALWAYS had a thing for Leonard Nimoy since I was 5-6 years old and Star Trek was originally on the air, so I was delighted to read that he "appreciates" the fat female form. However, I was disappointed that he had to make the point that he was not sexually attracted to the nude women in his photographs. As others have said, it appears he was trying to be sure no one would consider him a weirdo for lusting after fat women. *sigh* It would have been so delicious if he could have admitted to just a little carnal desire....Catmom

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