Tuesday, June 4, 2013

BBW Berit from "My Life as a Dog"

As a sixteen year old girl I saw the Swedish film "My Life as a Dog" at the Fine Arts Theater in Mission, Kansas.  At the time it was one of my favorite films, and although I have grown attached to far more movies than this one since then, it still retains a special place in my movie-going heart.  It's been twenty-six years since I've seen it and I still recall scenes from time to time.

I've been blogging a lot about body issues lately.  I've become friends with several fat activists.  Big bodies have been on my mind.  So I've been thinking of "My Life as a Dog" and how it was one of the first times I remember watching other people respond favorably toward a large woman.

The artist's model Berit, played by Ing-Marie Carlsson, is, in the parlance of the urban dictionary crowd, a BBW--a big, beautiful woman.  All the townsfolk are hot for her.  The twelve-year-old protagonist nearly kills himself falling through a roof trying to peep on her during a nude modeling session.  Already wide-hipped at sixteen, I vividly remember sitting in the scratchy seats under the big screen thinking to myself, "Wow, if I lived in Sweden in the fifties instead of Kansas in the eighties I'd be a beauty queen."

Here's the trailer.  Warning: contains brief female nudity:




Watching this now, Berit doesn't seem that big to me at all.  I'll have to go back and watch the movie on DVD and see how I respond to it as a forty-two year old woman who has learned to love her body, rather than when I first saw it, just five years after my sweet little fifth-grade self was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa after having been sent to Weight Watchers in third grade.  Is it a case of I'm older now so things that seemed so big when I was a kid seem small now?  Or were the pickins so slim for American images of BBWs in the eighties that I was too quick to lump not-really-all-that-big Berit into that category?