Category Archives: Body image

My Work in “The Body At All Ages”


Laurie says:

Thais Gouveia curated a special issue on the female body for the Bravo Digital Gallery based in São Paulo entitled “The Body At All Ages” (click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the web page).  She chose photos on the subject portrayed by living women photographers. I thought her choices were thoughtful and illuminating.

The site is in Portuguese, and I copy edited some texts translated through Google.  I think that these are basically accurate.

One photograph she chose is my photograph of Queen T’hisha from Women En Large (above).


Portrait 4 by Mona Kuhn from her Bordeaux Series.

Born in 1969 in São Paulo to a family of German origin, Mona Kuhn lives and works in Los Angeles. She moved  to the United States in 1992, to study at Ohio State University and the San Francisco Art Institute. Her first book, Photographs, was published in 2004, followed by Evidence (2007) and Native (2010). Her work was exhibited and / or included in the collections of the J.Paul Getty Museum, The George Eastman House, among others. The picture belongs to the Bordeaux Series (2011), a collection of portraits and landscapes. In this series, she photographed relatives and close friends in the same red environment, always in the same chair.


Photo of Maryam, a 50-year-old homeless woman living in the capital, by Tahmineh Monzavi.

Monzavi was born in Tehran in 1988. The photographer and filmmaker graduated from Azad Art & Architecture University of Tehran.  In her work, she seeks to show hidden groups in Iran’s society, culture and art.



Artist at Work by Elina Brotherus.

Finnish Elina Brotherus lives and works between Helsinki and Avalon in France. Always using herself as a model, she decided to deepen this practice in the series Artists at Work (2009), to which the image … belongs. “Who’s watching who? Who is the artist, who is the model?  Who gets the ‘last look’? “, she says, while posing for artists Jan Neva and Teemu Korpela.


I recommend looking at all of them – the photographs talk to each other.

Bitch Planet: Every Woman Has an “Ideal Self”


Debbie says:

In December, I had the good fortune to attend an event where Kelly Sue DeConnick was a keynote speaker. I’d heard great things about her work, and especially about Bitch Planet, but I hadn’t checked it out. After hearing DeConnick speak, and seeing the visuals, I immediately bought Extraordinary Machine, the first collected volume , and now I am an evangelist:

For those of you who haven’t been lucky enough to encounter Bitch Planet yet, most of the story takes place in an outer-space women’s prison, where incorrigibles are kept away from mainstream society. The number of ways in which DeConnick (and her artist collaborator Valentine De Landro) challenge social narratives, include marginalized voices, and make bitter fun of cultural expectations is awesome, and deserves much more attention than one blog post. Fortunately, if you look around, you’ll find that attention to the series is easy to find.

Unsurprisingly, however, this multi-decade fat activist was especially struck by Penny Rolle, pictured above. Penny is a mountain of a woman (“I don’t run”), with a complex history and a strong ethical sense. She’s one of the best “morbidly obese” characters I’ve run across in fiction, and the best Black one I can think of offhand.

Penny’s crowning moment, so far, is when the prison “scientists” hook her up to a mess of electrodes, on the theory that they can see how she imagines her ideal self, which will help them mold her away from her grotesque reality to something more palatable.

What do they find?

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“I ain’t broke.

“… and you bastards ain’t never gonna break me.”

Best. Result. Ever.

DeConnick and De Landro are serious about their body image activism, along with all their other prongs of activism. The ads in the back of each issue would demonstrate that even if Penny wasn’t in the story:

If ANY PART OF YOU has ever been jealous of anorexics or considered extra-medical hormone injections or parasites, or use body hate to bond with girlfriends, you have bought in. It’s near impossible not to, but maybe today TRY not to believe that your VALUE is inextricably linked to some asshat’s assessment of your desirability. Fuck that dude. Fuck that CULTURE.

Read Bitch Planet. The rest is every bit that good, just about different at-least-equally-important social and political issues. Oh, and it’s also entertaining, well-paced, and very well-drawn.