This post is not a real post, per se. This post is a call for help. From you.
For the bazillionth time, this is my senior year of college. Come May, I will graduate and be off on my way to Real Life, where I will get a Very Official Real-Person Job and maybe an apartment with my law school bound boyfriend and everything will be peachy keen and I will never be a child again OMGIAMHAVINGANEXISTENTIALCRISISABOUTLEAVINGCOLLEGE okay I forgot to breathe for a second there.
Anyway, being a senior means I have to do a "final project." I put quotation marks in there because my "final project" will be happening this semester, and I have a whole 'nother semester to go... so it probably won't be the actual last project, I'm guessing. That said, it is the most important and I get to decide what it's going to be as long as it relates to my English major specialization. I'm specializing in journalism, so I get special privileges with this project. While regular English majors will have to write long papers about Blake or something, I get to pretty much have free reign as long as I do a couple reflection papers and whatever ends up being passed in resembles journalism.
Wanna guess what my topic is? You'll never believe it.
Yup, body image.
Here's what I want to do: I want to create a series of narrative interviews that talk about bodies and make them human again. Hatred and envy and misunderstanding of all kinds of different bodies are these powerful forces that lead us to objectify each other. I know we've all thought of someone at some point as the skinny bitch or the fat chick or the ugly girl or the beauty queen or whatever it may be. We live in a society where the general view of bodies is so skewed that many of us have stopped considering the actual people inside them.
My goal is to get some really great interviews from a diverse group of people, and through unique, triumphant, heartbreaking, and inspiring stories, put the human face back on the body. We are not our weight. We are not our height. We are not our hair. We are human first, and all people, no matter what they look like, should be seen that way. We all make judgments, but it's time we remembered that when we place such a high value on bodies-- for which there are no real universal beauty standards-- we hinder the people inside them.
So why do I need your help? Because I need people to talk to.
Who do I need? Anyone. I want people who are fat, skinny, average, athletic, male, female, transgendered, short, tall, and any other thing you can imagine. Are you a person? I want to talk to you.
What I'm looking for, as I said before, are stories that might be hard to tell. I want to get something that is deeper than what you usually see in a magazine. I want to do interviews that are in-depth enough that I can actually create a snapshot (or a series of snapshots) of an important development in your life with your body.
I understand that I am an Internet stranger and that talking about really personal things-- whether they be triumphs or tragedies-- would be difficult. But maybe you could get something even more than having your story told out of this. It can be so cathartic to talk about the things that have hurt us. It feels amazing to be unabashedly proud of our accomplishments. And if I know you lovely people at all, I know you are the kind of body image warriors I want to talk to.
The interviews wouldn't necessarily have to be over the phone (certainly not in person unless you live in the Worcester/Boston area) because I know that's quite expensive. We can draw up the details as we go. And honestly, I just decided on this project today so we'll be working through this together. If there's a huge outpouring of people, I'll figure out how many people I can actually talk to, but I'm playing that by ear as well.
So if you're at all interested in having a talk, please let me know in the comments (preferably including your e-mail) or e-mail me at: