We begin this blog as we have done our work for the last fifteen years: at war with our culture. In the last five years, the fact that our culture is at war with us has become less subtle and more unmistakable. The most insidious war is conducted with no visible weapons except the full weight of social pressure.
If you know our work from Women En Large, you may think we’re talking about the war on fat. And we are. But that’s only a chapter in the story. We’ve done work with male bodies (Familiar Men), which means tackling the hard questions of masculinity. We have an ongoing project concerning women of and in Japan. And you never know what will be next.
It’s no secret: the goal is to make each and every one of us hate our bodies. Any gender, any race, any size, any age, any level of ability. You aren’t good enough. The advertising culture made so much money doing this to women that they started, very successfully, doing it directly to men. And they’re cleaning up.
They own the mass imagery. They have a lock on what you see, until and unless you are willing to cast your eyes farther. And you can talk and write about body image until you’re blue in the face, but if you aren’t showing images, you aren’t doing squat. If you aren’t presenting alternatives to what people see every day, they might hear what you say, but they’ll walk away thinking about that girl on the front page of Seventeen with the photoshopped concavity under her tiny breasts, or that guy on the cover of International Male who looks like he was carved out of hard soap with a fine knife.
So we’re starting up here: to show pictures, and find what’s to be found on the Web, both pro and con. To offer one alternative to the endless stream of You aren’t good enough. Because when we look at what’s out there in the world, we get angry. And when we look at each of you, and at ourselves, we like what we see.
Stick around. Fur’s going to fly.
- Laurie & Debbie