Laurie and Debbie say:
Right this minute as we’re writing this, if you go to Google Images and type in “fat nudes,” you get this selection. If you do it when you’re reading this, you’ll get a different selection. Nonetheless, we’ve tried several times over the last few days, and our book cover (which you can see just to the left of this blog post) is consistently the first image, which makes Debbie the most visible fat nude in the world.
First of all, this is cool, and fun, and satisfying. It’s neat to be at the top of this particular heap!
Second, we can garner a little insight into Google’s process: while a few of the fat nudes from Women En Large show up, lots of Laurie’s other pictures show up too: pictures from “Women of Japan,” one from Familiar Men. Other photos on the page come up because we blogged them, or because they reference us. Only about half of the pictures on the page are fat nudes at all–some are of people who are neither fat nor nude. We’re the only book we know of with “fat nudes” in the title, so that will come up whenever a photograph is related to, or on a page that mentions, our work. And lots of others are from fat activist blogs or body image websites: we’re certainly not doing this work in a vacuum. Leonard Nimoy (one of the few other people who has done serious photography in this area) is also represented.
Finally, here’s the really great part! Because Laurie’s fat nude photographs are about beauty and power (and respect), and because we have so many other sources other pictures with less thoughtful or kind intent actually look different than they would if they were completely surrounded by nasty, fingerpointing images. We always say that we do this work because it changes how we see: Google Images is a tool that helps make that point really clearly. Laurie didn’t invent the idea of respectful artistic portraits of fat nude women: at the same time, this search shows clearly how much effect her pictures have had on how the concept has changed in 25 years.
Cross posted at Fukshot
The TSA has implemented new screening procedures for airline passengers. Passengers who “opt-out” of full body scans are subject to an “enhanced patdown”. I have read accounts of these procedures that sent me in to a full-blown triggered tailspin this afternoon. I will not fly. My risk of violent death as a result of being outed as trans by a TSA officer might be greater than the risk of having my plane blown up would be if there was no screening whatsoever. There is nowhere I need to fly to so badly that I will allow a stranger to grope my genitals or see me naked.
There is also concern about the safety of the scanning machines. I’m not quite clear enough on the science, but major pilots’ unions are advising their members to endure the “enhanced” groping rather than undergo frequent x-ray back scatter scans.
I’m not surprised that the coverage of this issue has not discussed trans people. I am, however, pleased to see that much of it has centered the concerns of sexual assault survivors. There has also been a good deal of discussion involving concerns over children’s experience of genital touching by a stranger, even if that stranger is paid by the federal government to wear a blue polyester blazer.
For those of you who might be planning a flight this thanksgiving, November 24 has been declared National Opt-Out Day. As a protest of the current procedures, travelers are encouraged to opt-out of the body image scan, forcing the TSA to administer an unanticipated level of patdowns on the heaviest travel day of the year. I encourage anyone who can stomach the invasive groping to do so. It seems to me that this is potentially the most effective protest. If you do experience the patdown, and you find it in any way problematic, please report the incident to the TSA as well as completing this form for the ACLU, who is gathering data on the problem. I would like to warn that the gender marker options on the ACLU form are problematic. (male, female, transgendered; only possible to choose one; while many people are, I and many other trans folks do not consider ourselves a third gender)
I am now sure (it was up in the air) that I will not be attending a conference in New York this spring. I will also not be going to Paris.