Welcome to Body Impolitic!

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

8 thoughts on “Welcome to Body Impolitic!

  1. Hey Laurie and Deb
    Beautiful new site! And I mean “beautiful” in the most expansive cultural & phat sense. ;-) Looking forward to the flying fur!

  2. Congrats on a lovely site and kudos for the blog and your intentions for it!

    I am most interested in being a fat freedom fighter, especially now that the “war on obesity” is reaching enough of a fever pitch to push us fat people to our own Stonewall. In the case of the war on fat, the “big lie” created by those who stand to profit from it is especially insidious as it has been promulgated by the scientific community–regardless that 99.9% of the research is junk science–but nontheless giving sanction to the oppression of fat people.

    But I certainly agree that Madison Avenue et al has created the tiniest of boxes into which all of us, regardless of who we are, must force our bodies, or else. Or else we are invisible, unloved, unworthy. And this is such a high price to pay, and scares us at the deepest of levels–so much so it paralyzes us from looking behind the curtain to see who’s at the controls and why.

    So thank goodness for all mavericks who stand up and rage against the lie, who have the courage to fly in the face of societal pressure, and the savvy to look behind the curtain to reveal a huge network of industry that profits hugely from our fear.

    The message is the media! In the case of body image, this is especially and poignantly true. Bravo for your beautiful media and the message of truth and freedom that it delivers.

  3. good to see you. this work needs to be done. (and you’re going on my blogroll as soon as i get to the computer with the software to make that happen!)

  4. good for you! This revolution, this radical re-claiming of our beautiful, natural, interesting physical selves is long overdue.

  5. Wonderful idea for a blog! I’ll add you to my blogroll.

    One critique – once you’ve posted a comment here, it’s a little bit difficult to find a link back to the front page of the blog. (There is the “discuss” link at the top of the page, but that’s not obvious). My suggestion is that you make the “body impolitic” title at the top of the page a link to the blog’s front page.

  6. Thanks for the link; we’ve linked back.

    And that’s good technical advice; we’ll add it to the next update. Thank you.

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