The most insane thing about this article is that a reporter from the NYT was at a club one block away from my house. If you knew where I lived you would also be surprised.
Shar and Jackie
The Femme’s Guide to the Universe is one of my favorite books ever. I got it as a present for my 20th birthday from my girlfriend at the time. It was something of a joke between us because I was really proactively rejecting labels and being pissed that everyone would call me femme. I thought I had lost my original copy in Katrina and ordered one off Ebay because it’s like a souvenir from my misspent youth. Then last year I was going through the storage shed at my (current) girlfriend’s mom’s house and there was my original copy. I had forgotten that I’d put a couple crates of books at her house to store the month before Katrina hit. I was so happy. Now, I have two copies.
My oldest niece is having her Quinceanera next weekend (big poofy pink dress and all) and of the little girls in her court is going to be wearing a velvet burgundy tuxedo because my niece knew she wouldn’t want to wear a dress. How cute is that? Adorable right?
P.S. The girl in the tux totally looks like a teenage Sandra Bernhard; it kills me every time I see her.
P.P.S I’ll be attending in a 50’s style cocktail dress with goldfish all over it, thanks EShakti!
Me and Fi at my niece’s quinceanera
(my hair is so long now!)
**PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY**
Call for submissions: Online and printed zine about dealing with body/hair/size/fat phobia for and by Indigenous peoples and people of colour.
Title: To be decided/announced.
Deadline: February 28th 2011
For far too long, I’ve have been made to always question my body.Always made to feel like if I waxed my sideburns/shaved my legs/signed up for weightwatchers/stopped eating so much roti, that I would live up to the potential of how beautiful I could be. I have learnt that these issues not only represent a complex fear of hair or fat, but is also emblematic of what my body represents as a queer brown body, constantly threatening whiteness, conformity and concepts of beauty that idealize skinny, hairless, colonized white bodies; among many other things. The internalized hate and racism that our communities and peoples have is destroying us, forcing us to dislike and alter our bodies, putting it through further violence and trauma.
As I have been attempting to work through this, I have had the honour of meeting so many beautiful Indigenous people and people of colour who constantly work hard at breaking down these ideas, who survive, love themselves and each other everyday for who they are. We need to share our struggles and triumphs; we need to know we aren’t alone in this. There are many people who have stories, facts, advice and successes on these issues to share with others.
For these reasons and more, with consultation from many over the past two years, I want to put together this zine for Indigenous people and people of colour to share, read, write, listen, learn, realize, question and start a path to working towards realizing how sexy and beautiful we already are.
Who? Self-identified Indigenous peoples and people of colour*, mixed race people* who have something to say about fat/size/hair/body image shit. (I’m talking about size, hair (both body and on your head) and anything else that affects your body/self love/ability to love others.
What? Submit art, writing, prose, poetry, essays, collages, lyrics, photos, stuff you’ve created that can be put in a zine (online) and photocopied to give out in printed copies.
Why? We need to address size/fat/hair phobia and our bodies, colonization, histories and provide resources and support for each other.
How? Please send all submissions to email@example.com with SUBMISSION as the subject. If it can’t be emailed, email us and we will figure out a way to get your work submitted.
*= it’s important to remember how complex categories of race, sexuality, gender and identity are, and when I say self-identified Indigenous people and people of colour and mixed race people, I mean that if you identify as a person of colour or Indigenous person, but may not necessarily present phenotypically as a person of colour, we want you to submit to the zine.
Obviously we all have different experiences/understandings of how race, body image, sexuality, gender, ability, class, eating disorders, geography, status, etc. etc. come together and shape how we understand these issues, which will be an important string throughout this zine.
You are probably wondering: ‘who is this random person wanting me to share my work with them?’ Good question. My name is Aruna, I am a 23 year old fat brown woman identified first generation settler that is living on the occupied lands of the Mississauga’s of New Credit. I went to Queen’s University in Kingston, but am now back living with my parents in Scarborough; and this is my first zine ever, and think that this topic is incredibly important and something that people need to start talking about with each other. I’m not claiming ownership over this and want this to be a collective/loving/healing process with everyone involved. I have a lot of issues around my weight and in the process of trying to look for something to comfort and help me work through my shit, I never found anything useful. I think a project like this, if done properly will be useful to lots of people in a similar situation.
Remember! Deadline is February 28th 2011, all submissions and inquiries about submissions should be relayed to firstname.lastname@example.org
In your submission, please include:
- Your name (or name you want to be published)
- RELIABLE Contact information (in case we need to talk to you about your work)
- A brief (50-100 word) bio or description of who you are/what you do, etc. (if you want to include it)
- Please make sure all attachments are either in PDF, JPEG, Word, RTF, BMP or any other compatible program.
- Your piece/submission should be in an attachment, not copy/pasted into the email. (If you have trouble with attachments, email us for help!)
Want to submit? Get involved in the planning/making of the zine?
Wanna start a larger group out of this?
Got concerns, questions, etc?
Email me at email@example.com to talk and if you’d like to get involved.
Here are some points to get you thinking about the issues I feel could be repped in this zine. A couple of points have been borrowed from another callout for ‘Occupied bodies’ by Tasha Fierce that I felt was relevant to our zine.
These are merely some starting questions, submissions should in no way feel limited to this:
- How do you embrace/love your body?
- What tips do you have to lessen the blows from people who hate on your fat/hair/self
- How is loving your body an act of sovereignty or decolonization (if at all)?
- Has your self-esteem/dislike of your body hurt your sex life? How does it stop you from exploring yourself or new partners because of fear of rejection?
- How does being mixed race affect your body image and how you see yourself? How are you excluded from these discussions because of being mixed race?
- Does the hair and fat phobic ways of the porn industry make you angry?
- What images of yourself were instilled in you by your parents/guardians/other family members when you were a young child?
- If you’re queer or two-spirit, how has being two-spirit or queer of color affected your self-image and how you desire your partner to look?
- How has your gender (whatever that may be) affected how you understand your body, or how you have been forced to see your body?
- If you’ve had partners who were also Indigenous or of colour, did/do you gaze upon them with the same critical eye you reserve for yourself? Why or why not?
- Have you ever worried that your choice of partners reflected negative understandings of your own bodies/self?
- If you’re a Trans people of colour or Indigenous person, how was your perception of your gender identity shaped? How has your self/body image changed over the years and have there been any other shifts in your thinking about your self/body image?
- How has ability and access affected your image? Affected how you love yourself?
- What positive or negative encounters with adults as a child helped shape that image?
- How has your body image/size phobia issues been treated in the medical field? How has mental health played a part in it?
- What connections do you see between colonialism and your body?
- If you weren’t born on or feel connection to Turtle Island/occupied lands that we call ‘North America’, how has the place you came from/identify with determined your ideas around your body?
- How did the media you consumed as a child/teen shape your body/self image today? How does it complicate it? How does the media you consume NOW affect your body/self image?
- How did pressure from family and friends affect the way you perceived yourself after you were old enough to take care of yourself?
- How did you feel about societal beauty and body standards as a teen? Did you rebel, or conform by any means necessary to avoid confrontation?
- How has the globalization and dissemination of the Western beauty ideal affected you and Indigenous peoples/people of colour worldwide?
- Debunk this: “in some cultures they ______”, – deconstructing a commonly held belief about an ethnic group’s relation to body (such as the black community supposedly being OK with fat).
The list goes on and on and is by no means complete…email us for more help if needed.
I back this so hard.
hello writing hang outs and prompts!
definitely submitting to this! i encourage my fellow rad people of color to submit also!
This sounds amazing!
feminist heroes, #3: Nomy Lamm.
best fat/queer/disability punk rock activist and artist. her classic 90s zine “i’m so fucking beautiful” changed my life.
The revolution will be incited through my voice, my words, not the words of the universe of male intellect that already exists. And I know that a hell of a lot of what I say is totally contradictory. My contradictions can co-exist, cuz they exist inside of me, and I’m not gonna simplify them so that they fit into the linear, analytical pattern that I know they’re supposed to. I think it’s important to recognize that all this stuff does contribute to the revolution, for real.
Where’s the revolution? My body is fucking beautiful, and every time I look in the mirror and acknowledge that, I am contributing to the revolution.
#1 lifechanger. i <3 nomy forever.
god i cannot even TELL YOU how much i fucking love this. i took workshops from her and her mom was my middle school teacher and askfhdkg. <3<3 nomy <3<3
Big Freedia - Y’all get back now
Okay, so anytime anyone wants to know what living in New Orleans is really like, I will show them this video. It sums it up completely.
I’ve never been, and I feel like that’s a shame because I have no good memories of being queer in Tennessee beside sleeping in bed with and kissing on my gay best friend in high school (who kind of dumped me after I came out as trans) and wondering if I was actually a gay…
I admit to totally being one of those asshole city queers who didn’t even know you could be a gay person in the country (for some reason I also didn’t realize you could be a brown person in the country). I totally bought into this weird country music version of the rural South where everyone was white, straight, Christian, and a Republican. In other words, I thought I didn’t need to know anything else about them. And I’m a Southerner! I can only imagine what people from outside the South think.
When I started dating someone who grew up in rural Louisiana, I was floored to realize that you could be queer (and a POC!) and come from and (in the case of some of her friends, continue to) live in a small town. I had no idea, honestly, none, and I feel really horrible for being insanely prejudiced and ill informed about so many people.
This post also gives me a lot to think about regarding the romanticized “living off the land” fantasies that so many radical folks have. It is really interesting to me that there doesn’t seem to be much of a desire to start a dialogue with people who have grown their own food, raised animals, etc. out of necessity, and not out of an anti-capitalist/anarchist ideology.
I feel like Queer people tend to reinforce gender as a binary which is FUCKED UP.
I really hate it when “butch” lesbians try to get at me and expect me to be “super femme” with them because she has to be the “man” or vice versa. I also can’t stand it when gay men are like “I’m a top” and look…
It really bothers me when people see butch/femme relationships as aping heterosexual relationships or somehow conforming to heteronormative standards. I guess I can only speak from my own experiences as a femme, who has mostly dated butches, and who’s been involved with the same butch woman for 7 years, but there is nothing about my relationships that *in any way* “reinforce gender as a binary.” I honestly don’t even see how it would. I don’t see masculinity or femininity as something that has ANYTHING AT ALL to do with a person’s sex, gender, or sexuality. I’m confused by the statement, “Like isn’t our community suppose to challenge gender construction”. Isn’t gender construction about defining our gender presentation and identity on our own terms? How is being butch or femme not defining our own gender? I just feel like this is such a small minded view of the butch/femme dynamic and it really enrages me. I wish I was a better writer because I have so much that I want to say on this topic and I feel like I just can’t properly articulate what I’m thinking or feeling.
This is the image for the invitation to my mom’s wedding. My mom is the masculine figure and the curvy femme figure is my mom’s wife to be.
I love this image so much, especially the way it captures my mom’s dapper style, my mom’s fiancee’s curves and styles, and that it is super queer in context.
The image was made by my super talented cousin Anadelia Quinteros, all credit should go to her.
We all run from the ugly. And the farther we run from it, the more we stigmatize it and the more power we give beauty. Our communities are obsessed with being beautiful and gorgeous and hot. What would it mean if we were ugly? What would it mean if we didn’t run from our own ugliness or each other’s? How do we take the sting out of “ugly?” What would it mean to acknowledge our ugliness for all it has given us, how it has shaped our brilliance and taught us about how we never want to make anyone else feel? What would it take for us to be able to risk being ugly, in whatever that means for us. What would happen if we stopped apologizing for our ugly, stopped being ashamed of it? What if we let go of being beautiful, stopped chasing “pretty,” stopped sucking in and shrinking and spending enormous amounts of money and time on things that don’t make us magnificent?
Where is the Ugly in you? What is it trying to teach you?
And I am not saying it is easy to be ugly without apology. It is hard as fuck. It threatens our survival. I recognize the brilliance in our instinct to move toward beauty and desirability. And it takes time and for some of us it may be impossible. I know it is complicated….There is only the illusion of solace in beauty. If age and disability teach us anything, it is that investing in beauty will never set us free. Beauty has always been hurled as a weapon. It has always taken the form of an exclusive club; and supposed protection against violence, isolation and pain, but this is a myth. It is not true, even for those accepted in to the club. I don’t think we can reclaim beauty.