Coloring books are awesome. It’s no secret that they mellow children and adults alike. Coloring has been scientifically shown to lower stress levels, as art therapists and researchers have been telling us for decades. Even Crayola has gotten in on the adult coloring trend by creating a new line of adult coloring books.
What’s even better than chilling out with a coloring book? Adding body positivity to the mix! A plus size woman herself, illustrator Allison Tunis combined her background of art therapy and fine art to create the coloring book Body Love: A Fat Activism Colouring Book. Tunis features fat liberation and body positive activists in her coloring book as a thank-you for teaching her how to love her own large body.
By creating this book, Tunis has also given the fat community desperately needed representation. “I started thinking about what I could do to contribute to that movement, because it had made such a difference in my life,” Tunis tells digital magazine Mashable.
Children and adults may now color bodies that look like their own or that of someone they love and respect. You may spot some folks that look especially familiar — Wear Your Voice’s own contributing writers Virgie Tovar, Ashleigh Shackelford and Aarti Olivia Dubey are featured!
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I did this #sketch of @curvesbecomeher, and would love to get her approval to use it in my upcoming #bodylove #fatactivism #coloringbook!! Please email me #Aarti! Malcontent.email@example.com #bodypos #bodypositive #fatisnotabadword #yegart #colouringbook #coloring #colouring #activism #body #curvesbecomeher #blogger
In an interview with Mashable, Tunis told the magazine:
“It forces you to think about the different bodies and what your relationship is with them … It forces you to work out your own issues with bodies. It’s not only a soothing and relaxing meditation through the act of coloring, but also a meditation on self.”
For those of us working on our relationship with our bodies, this can be an excellent meditative practice. Following the curves of the folks we respect in Body Love can help us learn to love our own!
“As I was drawing these pictures, I realized I was able to see all of the beauty in these people — so why wasn’t I able to see it in myself?” Tunis says.
Activities like this may be especially helpful for young adults and children with body and self-esteem issues, or those who are learning to embrace bodies that look different than their own. (Note: Parents may want to know that there are a few more “adult” figures in this book, like a topless figure of the plus-size porn star April Flores, but nothing overtly sexual — just a tiny bit of nudity.)
“People have been saying that they are buying this coloring book not only for themselves, but to color in with their daughters and children,” Tunis says. “I really think it helps spread a positive notion. You are spreading awareness that all bodies are good bodies to your children.”
Tunis has offered 25 percent of the proceeds to the activists she’s included, with the option to donate their portion to the Canadian Mental Health Organization.
“I’m using their names and their images and their reputations to sell this book. They deserve acknowledgment — and that means monetary recognition.”
Like what you see? Check out WYV’s own coloring pages, too, for a bit of free self-care and meditative messages of self-love.
Body Love: A Fat Activism Colouring Book is available on Amazon.