CALL FOR PAPERS!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – Occupied Bodies: Women of Color Speak on
Self-Image – Deadline October 15, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010 at 1:07am
I am soliciting essays for an anthology on women of color’s
self-image/body image as shaped by family, friends, media, society,
history, lived experiences, etc. I’m looking for smart, accessible, and
snappy personal narratives that also offer nuanced analysis of the
underlying constructs that affect how we perceive ourselves. Exploring
intersectionality of identities is extremely important. I particularly
want the voices of women of color that are not often heard to be
represented, such as trans* WOC, disabled WOC, queer WOC, WOC outside
the U.S., WOC with eating disorders, working class/poor WOC and fat WOC.

Of course, all the varied perspectives any woman of color can offer are
welcome.
This is an exciting project, as this topic has not been explored in
depth and including such a diverse collection of viewpoints before. The
final manuscript will be submitted to relevant independent publishers.
——
Some possible jumping off points include, but are not limited to:
– What images of yourself were instilled in you by your
parents/guardians/other family members when you were a young child? What

positive or negative encounters with adults as a child helped shape that

image?

– If you were born in a country other than the U.S. and then immigrated
to the U.S., how did the society in which you were born play a role in
your developing self-image, and what contrasts did you find difficult to

navigate between the two societies?

– 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 women of color 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).

– If you’re queer, how has being a queer woman of color affected your
self-image and how you desire your partner to look? If you’ve had
partners who were also women of color, did/do you gaze upon them with
the same critical eye you reserve for yourself? Why or why not?

– If you’re a trans* WOC, 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 does being a WOC interact with your trans* identity? How does

it affect how other people perceive you and your gender?

– How has being a disabled WOC affected your body/self image? Do you
feel it’s a detriment or a positive part of your person? How did you
come to terms with your disability, or has it never been problematic for

you?

– As a fat WOC, has weight shaped your self/body image your whole life?
Have you developed an eating disorder? Was it exacerbated by there being

virtually no resources for women of color, especially for fat WOC?

– Are you a sexual assault/rape survivor? How did that trauma affect
your view of yourself?
——-
If your experiences overlap on any of the suggested jumping off points,
PLEASE feel free to explore that.

Guidelines:
– Deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010;
– Submissions should be saved in Word format or Rich Text, double
spaced, size 12 Arial or Times New Roman;
– 500 to 5,000 words;
– Include RELIABLE contact information and a brief biography;
– Only e-mail submissions will be accepted, however, if you can’t
arrange that please contact me and we’ll work something out.
– Send submissions to: occupiedbodies@gmail.com;
– Again, the deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010.

Who I Am:
The woman spearheading this project is Tasha Fierce, a freelance writer
who also happens to be a fat, queer, disabled woman of color. I’ve
written about race politics, fat acceptance, disability and feminism in
several zines, including Evolution of a Race Riot and the zine I edited
from 1998-2001, Bitchcore. I have contributed to Jezebel several times,
the fat acceptance blog Shapely Prose, the race & pop culture blog
Racialicious, and the feminist disability activism blog FWD/Forward. My
work has also been featured in The Huffington Post. I live, love and
write in Los Angeles, California. You can regularly read me at my own
blog, Red Vinyl Shoes (http://redvinylshoes.com/blog) and on Twitter as
@redvinylshoes.

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zomg i’m single!

so the fuck what?

this is all the discussion y’all are getting out of me. thanks to this piece from the crunk feminist collective, i don’t have to go too deep.  i’m including links from a twitter rant i went on regarding this very subject, for good measure.

first, i wanted to know if anyone had introduced to this larger conversation the idea that monogamy is not the default setting for our lives, but a choice.   as in, we choose to be monogamous, or we don’t.  & if you don’t realize that you choose monogamy, this is where you should find another blog post of mine to read (like the one about tina knowles).   we do not have to couple.  some of us are polyamorous, some of us never partner — even when we decide that we wish to parent.

nobody that i know of, with the exception of the ladies at crunk feminist collective, has mentioned that queer (by queer i mean lesbians, bisexual, pan/ omnisexual, trans, intersex)  self-identified black women aren’t considered in this conversation. again: we are not a monolith. you can’t have this conversation without considering the fact that the women being discussed are hetero, cisgender (not trans women — trans ppl are invisible in virtually every conversation about marriage, and just about everything else), & at the very least hold bachelor’s degrees. because ppl who don’t finish college don’t matter in this conversation, no matter what they’re doing w/ themselves, unless it’s to count them as undesirables.  further, who’s to say that marriage is everyone’s goal or ideal? it could be argued that “we aren’t talking about those people,” but if that’s the case then it must be stated so from the onset of each conversation regarding unmarried black women of certain income levels and sexual orientations.  period. know your audience.

if the root of the “problem” of unmarried black hetero cis women is that there aren’t enough desirable black men to go around & we’re looking at that strictly in terms of education, then who’s to blame? parents? schools? both? neither? high school dropout rates are nothing to sneeze at. the prison industrial complex, fueled by some rather draconian laws, also removes men who might otherwise be “good catches” from the dating pool.  does this mean that some of those “lost ones” were never marriageable to begin with, as their parents/ support systems failed them long before they got outta high school? okay. i’ll take that. but that isn’t the case w/ everyone. i feel like too much of this conversation is based on simplistic ideas of what a “good black man” is, and what a “good black woman” needs.  also: folks get married later in general, because they’re doing more than their parents’ generations did w/ their lives. the need for a college education has increased — even to get administrative assistant gigs. so if we have to take more time between high school and college to fill up these lives of ours (with greater expectancies, even for black men & women), maybe it’s not even as deep as the media panic suggests. ::gasp:: maybe we’re doing so much that holding ourselves to standards based on folks who lived life differently (slower, w/ less autonomy as children/ young adults, w/ different or less education) is a waste of fucking time! i’m just sayin.

& really, if marrying someone is about loving them until your last breath exits your body, can we consider one thing: the purported crisis of unmarried black women suggests that there is not enough love for us. that we are not lovable. that there is scarcity in the black community, so we must either take what we can get from black men or marry white men if we want to be married at all. this is wrong. love is infinite. there is no reason to think, for one minute, that any one of us is not lovable. that we are not desirable — to anyone, whether they be white, asian, latino, man, woman, gender non-conforming, cisgender, transgender, disabled, blue collar, white collar, no collar, or anything fucking else. if we marry because we want to spend the rest of our lives surrounded by the love, care, and support of another person then why on earth would we let fear run us off our paths? no, i’m not saying that there aren’t rough patches. heaven knows that i’ve lived through my shit and may continue to go through things before i find a good lover (i don’t necessarily seek to marry). but under no circumstances is being single a detriment. it’s never wrong. it’s not a bad thing. we’re not born partnered. we choose to partner — some of us because of conditioning, some of us because we find that wonderful person to be with. & it’s all good. it’s about intent, y’all. if your intent for seeking a mate is because that shit is on your checklist of successful shit to do w/ your life, you might be setting yourself up for what we call the okey-doke.   ultimately, the lens through which our romantic situations are being examined is flawed, to say the least.   & to say the most: it’s fucked up, limited, & doesn’t actually apply to as many folks as these “experts” (like finesse “my best jokes are about my teen mother” mitchell, jimi izrael & steve harvey) would have you believe.

this rant’s over. i’m dropping the mic like randy watson. but if you wanna read more juicy commentary:

visit the sugar shack

read this op-ed via the philadelphia inquirer

& another dope post from the crunk feminist collective

this piece from the nation, featuring the words of the fabulous melissa harris-lacewell & courtney young is made of pure unadulterated win.

i’m off to go be single and cook for myself, feed myself, bathe myself, & sing my face off at karaoke. cuz that’s what manless almost-30-year-olds do, apparently.

after much contemplation, i’ve realized:

i’m everything i could ever want in a mate. & i’m not mad at that. not one bit.

i’ll be marrying myselves sometime between my 30th birthday & the day i die. invitations pending, i suppose.

full moon gratitude

i’m in a very serious state of flux right now, and struggling to remain focused on my silver linings. this is an attempt to count the things that are present in my life.

transformation
cheerleaders
jarritos sodas
quorn turk’y loaf
serendipitous mercury retrograde happenings
food items properly smothered in bbq sauce
gold eye shadow
bronzer
bacon
water
honey
killa (word to la voz latina)
fertile ground
quirky black girls
west philly

erzulie.

(cross posted from my tumblr blog)

“Erzulie continues to articulate and embody a memory of slavery, intimacy, and revenge.”–Joan Dayan, “Erzulie: A Women’s History of Haiti” (2005) (via kismetfour)

working with this imagery of erzulie (either freda or dantor), i am inclined to take this quote as a reminder. no matter what happens, yeye will not be silenced or ignored. the premature celebration of some of philly’s residents around the potential disappearance of odunde is not gonna change much. the city’s lack of funds (screw what that article says, they didn’t give the st. patty’s day or mummers’ day parades this much of a hassle) does not mean there will be an erasure of the traditions of black folks. it’s not just about fried fish sandwiches, earrings & performances. odunde started as a procession to the schuylkill river to venerate orisha oshun. to say “modupe-o, yeye” (thank you, sweet mother) & make ebo (sacrifice or offering) to her, followed by a chance to fellowship. for brown faces to join in a setting that was not about a funeral, a trial, or a wedding. & the very second there’s something reminding some folks about where we come from & who we are, there’s a problem.

well, that’s too fucking bad. we may migrate to new neighborhoods & let y’all pretty things up — that’s fine. that’s a blessing to all involved, as each city needs is revenue. but there will be no erasing us. some of us are generations deep in this city.

oshun is the source. she is honey, she is beauty, she is creativity, she is the honey bee, she is the one who sprouts honey, she is the one with ears to hear. oshun is love. there is no stopping the river.

mbe mbe ma yeye (exist, exist always mother)
mbe mbe l’oro (exist, exist always in our tradition)

oshun isn’t going anywhere. we aren’t going anywhere. things may shift and change, but when we leave something behind it’s to get to something better, bigger & greater. this is something the colonizers never understood, something i daresay is still part of modern western consciousness: destroying something in the physical world very rarely means that there’s an end to it in the other realm.

spirit is not to be played with.

indulgence.

lately, i feel like giving into my inner child as much as possible.  she wants to dress up, she wants to play with new kids, she wants to dance and sing and eat whatever she wants to. she wants cake at 3 in the morning. she wants fun, and music, and a trail of butterflies to follow her everywhere she goes.

and dammit, i am determined to make it happen for her. she deserves it. i owe it to her.  she deserves to live without fear, she deserves to live without being bullied, without feeling like she isn’t free to be herself.  

i don’t think anybody ever told me that it’s okay to acknowledge my inner child.  i don’t think anyone ever said to me, “sparkle, the inner child is the purest version of you,” so that i’d embrace her. my inner little girl is attention-starved, a bit expression-deprived, and still trying to make sense of the chaos that one day swallowed her up.  i suppose that reaching that far into my personal herstory is the one thing missing from my process. i know what damaged me three years ago, six months ago, two days ago. but the first break is foreign to me.  

the little girl wants to delve. she wants to hold this grown woman’s hand and take that walk down that slope, through that valley, around that bend and follow that creek to the source. the pool of water where i swam before entering this realm will hold everything. the reflections, the things i cast off in an attempt to forget me.

i must indulge her, i must indulge me. for the sake of my own journey.

knowledge of self: a stream of consciousness.

understand me when i say i’ve had a breakthrough. about who i am, about where i am, about where i’m headed, and who i’m stepping into being.  i don’t worry so much anymore, because i’ve never been this certain. i’ve never been this self-possessed.  i’ve never, in my life, been more aware of one simple fact: i’m the truth. i am the best thing that ever happened to me.  i have figured it all out: i am equipped with every tool i need to get to the next place, to do the next thing, to take the best care of myself and all of my needs.  when i really listen to myself and trust my own intuition, i am unstoppable.
i am bigger, better, stronger, and flyer than anyone’s imagination — my own included.  i will not be stopped by anyone else’s fear or jealousy of me.
i am a walking miracle. my very existence on this earth is the product of praying grandmothers & my own resilience.  i will not lose. ever.
i am the first born daughter.
the mark i make on this earth will be indelible.

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