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.
- 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: email@example.com;
- Again, the deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010.
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.
[This will also be linked up at the top of my blog under "Occupied Bodies".]