As the body positive movement becomes more mainstream, many are arguing that it is leaving behind those that it set out to empower in the first place: fat people. As a result, they are instead turning to fat acceptance, a movement that aims to truly make body talk more inclusive and representative of marginalized bodies. It’s about accepting others who are fat without passing judgement or shaming someone’s weight.
There have been calls for change in industries like media and fashion, and now one artist is seeking to create space for fat women in the tattoo industry. Michigan-based tattoo artist Carrie Metz-Caporusso (who is non-binary) started their career eight years ago and quickly noticed that most designs are catered to privileged bodies. So, they developed a unique design specifically for fat bodies, dubbing it “roll flower” tattoos.
“I have been tattooing professionally for eight years and in that time I noticed that tattoo designs that were made to compliment someone’s body were always for thin or muscular body types,” they told Allure. “Never have I seen anyone come up with anything particularly for fat bodies.”
“I literally sat myself down and looked at fat bodies, my own included, and I thought, what can I do to highlight these rolls? And it took days. I tried multiple different designs,” Metz-Caporusso told their local radio station. “And then a light bulb just went off and I thought, oh, yeah, the crease in the body would make a perfect stem and you could only achieve that, like you said, with a fat body.”
In October 2020, Metz-Caporusso posted the first photo of their now-viral roll flower concept on Instagram. The intricate floral designs are tattooed around the creases of body rolls, and are intended to highlight fat rolls—not hide them. Each of their flower fat roll tattoos is custom-designed for the client’s body, incorporating the crease of their body rolls into the tattoo design. As explained on IG, rolls must be visible at all times (not just when sitting) for the design to work.
“What if you didn’t look at a fat body as something that needed to be changed? As a temporary failure? Did you see these designs and wonder, ‘What if they lost weight?’ Do you see designs on muscular bodies and think the same?” they captioned the Instagram post. “I want these concept designs to challenge how we view fat folks, how we view ourselves. Fatness is not a failure.”
Metz-Caporusso has since expanded their portfolio and boasts over 15,000 followers on Instagram, where their fat-positive designs are met with overwhelming praise. “Gorgeous idea,” writes one follower. Another adds, “I would love nothing more than artwork that worked with my body and shape.”
The positive comments continue: “I’m ready to book now, I would love my body a million times more to know there is beauty surrounding what I don’t like.” And this seems to be the goal of Metz-Caporusso’s fat roll tattoos—to not only inspire more fat people to get inked, but to also encourage them to celebrate their bodies as they are. The delicate designs are gorgeous and worthy of being shown off.
“I think getting something beautiful tattooed on you regardless of if it’s on a roll or not can help you feel like you’re in control of your body,” they explained in their interview with Allure. “I’m hoping someday this type of tattoo will be as benign as getting an ankle tattoo and that being fat can be seen as a neutral thing, neither good nor bad.”
But this isn’t Metz-Caporusso’s first time celebrating fat bodies through tattooing. Though their flower fat roll tattoos have become their most iconic design, they have been exploring fat-positive tattoos for years now. Their Instagram account, which offers rare visibility for fat bodies with tattoos, highlights some of these designs, including full-figured pinup girls and nude silhouette art.
Too many people still believe a part of their body isn’t thin enough for artwork, Metz-Caporusso said, and they hope their fat-positive tattoos help change this type of thinking, allowing more people to express themselves through ink.
Check out some more of Metz-Caporusso’s stunning flower fat roll tattoos below, and consider this your permission to screenshot for inspiration. “I want everyone to know you don’t have to come to me to get a roll flower. You can use my pictures as inspiration and ask your local artists if they can do something similar,” they told Michigan Radio.
Flower Fat Roll Tattoos by Carrie Metz-Caporusso
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