Abundance has made fat an enemy, but it’s been a friend to humans for millennia
Despite the modern Western obsession with bodyweight, the idea that fat bodies are unsightly and unhealthy is largely unprecedented in human history. Nevertheless, the thin ideal is spreading, permeating societies where ‘a little extra’ has been celebrated, even until very recently. But, as this short video collaboration between Aeon and SAPIENS explains, the idea of fat as something we should get rid of is a historical outlier. Playfully visualised by the London-based Kazakh animator Ermina Takenova, What Fat Is For probes the complex role of fat across human society, from mysterious Palaeolithic figurines to Jamaican dance halls, treating this vital component of our bodies with the complexity, even reverence, it deserves.
Director and Animator: Ermina Takenova
Producer: Kellen Quinn
Writer: Nicola Williams
Associate Producer: Adam D'Arpino
Sound Design: Adam D'Arpino, Eli Cohn