Fix YouTube video, use closing references, add tags
I started seriously harvesting links right around the turn of the year, and now I have a bumper crop! (And look, it’s not even a mixed metaphor.)
Kristina Bravo at TakePart calls our attention to “This Girl Can,” a United Kingdom public service announcement that’s taking the Internet by storm.
“Before we began this campaign, we looked very carefully at what women were saying about why they felt sport and exercise was not for them,” said Sports England CEO Jennie Price in a statement. “Some of the issues, like time and cost, were familiar, but one of the strongest themes was a fear of judgment. Worries about being judged for being the wrong size, not fit enough, and not skilled enough came up time and again.”
Hence this video, set to Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On.” It features shots of women of all ages running, cycling, Zumba dancing, punching bags, and kicking balls—and it’s been viewed more than two million times since its launch.
Continuing on the theme of overcoming the fear of being judged, Melissa McEwen–the guiding spirit of Shakesville–shares her experience participating in Viva La Feminista’s #365FeministSelfie project:
Part of my agreement with myself, when embarking on this project, was that I would not assess my own pictures with negative judgments I would never in a million years wield against another person.
With that resolve, I saw pictures of myself in a new way. I saw them through ever gentler eyes as the year went on. Without the filter of judgment my culture exhorts me to use, using the standards of love and acceptance I would extend to any other person, photos of myself actually looked different to me. Literally different. I saw myself in a way I had never seen myself before. It was a genuine revelation.…
I am radically changed.
We are taught to be afraid of seeing ourselves as we really are, but it is only really looking at ourselves that we see our true selves, and not a self onto which we project narratives of hatred and shame as we quickly look away from a photo, from the mirror.
Laurie and I are always both amused and delighted when someone new reinvents the idea of nonjudgmental nudity. This time, it’s Caitlin Stasey, a British actress, with a lovely site . Clem Bastow at Daily Life describes Stasey’s work as:
a feminist web project where nude photo essays are accompanied by extensive interviews with the woman in question, recontextualising the ‘full frontal’ portrait into something altogether more honest (yes, there are additional levels of honesty that can be added to the naked body).
This is Caitlin, and her quick comment is “Women Are Fucking Beautiful and Powerful.”
Bastow quotes Stasey as saying:
“I want to help demystify the female form, to assist in the erasure of coveting it, and to help celebrate the ever changing face of it. We consider a woman’s sexuality so linked to her physicality that for a woman to appear naked publicly is automatically an act of sex and not for herself. There’s also a very specific construct of woman we are all used to seeing, and while those women are no less women, I was so desperate to see different faces, different bodies.”
And here’s why we need all of these projects, and more like them. Liz Dwyer, also writing at TakePart, examines Urban Outfitters’ use of the “thigh gap.”
After complaints from consumers, the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority asked Urban Outfitter’s British website to remove a photo of a model wearing a pair of polka-dot bikini briefs. The ASA is concerned that the image could do damage to the body image of teen girls and young women. The independent advertising regulator wrote in a statement that it “considered that the model was very thin, and noted, in particular, that there was a significant gap between the model’s thighs, and that her thighs and knees were a similar width.” It also concluded that “using a noticeably underweight model was likely to impress upon that audience that the image was representative of the people who might wear Urban Outfitters’ clothing, and as being something to aspire to.”
“They [Urban Outfitters] did not believe she was underweight and provided a copy of her agency profile, other photographs of the model and a list of clients for whom she had posed. They stated that her waist size was 23.5 inches, and provided documentation from outerwear brands showing they provided clothing for that waist size,” wrote the ASA. “They added that it was common practice to use slim models in the underwear industry, but they did not consider that the model was underweight or unhealthily thin; they considered she had a naturally tall and slim physique.”
As Dwyer goes on to say, 23.5″ waists are really small, though not unheard of. And isn’t it interesting that the corporation responded about her waist size and not her thigh size?
Moving away from the most traditional type of body image, let’s congratulate Madhu Kinnar, the first transgender mayor elected in India.
Science geeks, people interested in women’s health, and people hoping to conceive will all appreciate Jane, You Ignorant Slut, writing about her own journey through infertility to pregnancy with a lot of scientific detail:
Because of science, I knew when I had heavy spotting at nine weeks that I had not lost the pregnancy – an ultrasound confirmed they were still viable. I was able to see two embryos moving and flipping at 10 weeks. At 12 weeks the doctor was able to rule out anemia as a possible cause of dizzy spells. The early diagnosis of twins allowed my maternal-fetal medicine specialist to recommend extra folic acid supplements in order to support proper development. At 15 weeks we knew which one was Baby A and which Baby B – meaning which was likely to be born first. At 17 weeks we were able to discover the sex of each fetus. At 19 weeks we breathed a sigh of relief to know that there were no major markers of disability present in either baby. At 28 weeks I was excited to know that both babies were head down, a sign that I could possibly deliver vaginally. At 31 weeks I became immensely frustrated to learn that one baby had flipped back into the breech position, dramatically raising my chances of needing a C-section, only to find at 32 weeks that he had flipped down back down, and I might be able to deliver vaginally after all.
In a great juxtaposition with my last post featuring Hope Whitmore’s adventures in dating while autistic, here are “10 Crip Date Ideas for the Disabled/Chronically Ill/Mad Person in Your Life,” compiled by Dean Jackson, Jen Venegas, Kay Ulanday Barrett,
Kira MarreroKirin Jakubowski, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. I’ll just tempt you with one:
6) Indoor Camping Trip - Looking for a way to camp-in instead of camp out? Trade your camping tent in for a blanket fort and rough it indoors. You’ll get all the fun of sharing a sleeping bag and none of the bug bites!
(Pro-tip: As it gets dark, use your gas stove top to make gluten-free s’mores & tell each other your best scary stories by flashlight.)
And to return to the idea of photos without judgment, if porn is in any way your thing (or would be if it were good enough), don’t miss Maddy Macnab’s article in Guts: Canadian Feminist Magazine about feminist porn and how the people at Spit Magazine are doing it right. The article is irresistibly entitled “Happy People Fucking.”
Like the genre itself (which has really only gained serious momentum since the 2000s), Spit Magazine is young and still figuring out its identity. The founders are still negotiating Spit’s approach to representing queer, non-normative sexualities, and sex-positive encounters. “We have a very connected community,” [Caitlin K.] Roberts shares. “We were witnessing a lot of happy, positive sexual interactions around us, realizing that there wasn’t a platform for it, for other people to see.” They began photographing, and later filming, the bodies, sexualities, kinks, that they weren’t seeing represented in mainstream porn. Photo sets featuring BDSM begin with a shot of the performers, looking pumped, holding signs along the lines of: “I 100% consent enthusiastically and with vigour to do sexy things with this guy.” Labia of all shapes and colours, cunts of all degrees of hairiness, men and women cis and trans, chest binding, strap-ons, and lots of real orgasms grace the pages of this members-only site.
Most of my links are found through Feministing, Feministe, io9, Shakesville, and Sociological Images. If you find links you think would be good for this series, please put them in the comments.