Friday, August 25, 2006

About the Project

“With store-bought clothes, the body has to fit instantaneously into standard sizes that were constructed from a pattern representing a norm.”

-Joan Jacobs Brumberg, The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls.

Authors like Joan Jacobs Brumberg and Naomi Wolf have written extensively on how beauty standards influence women’s views of themselves, especially in the early stages of development. Both discuss how women are measured against idealized images of perfection, which are dictated by patriarchal power structures and economic motivators. As my artwork turns to this subject, and I explore how specific childhood experiences influence my understanding of my body, I am curious about how other women have internalized these unrealistic standards.

As an overweight child, I was constantly aware of my body size and shape. When I was learning my numbers, I learned that “6” was marked on the tag of my clothes, and sometimes it had an “x” after it. Even then I wanted to “fit” into a smaller number, and I certainly didn’t want the “x.” This memory is recalled every time I go shopping for clothes and has left me curious about how other women read their clothing tags.

The posts on this blog illustrate (in no particular order) a variety of personal and intimate thoughts and feelings about body image. In sharing these responses, I am hoping that we can begin to rethink the way we are marked by this culture’s systems for measuring women’s bodies. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback, as this project unfolds and we continue to learn.

I am extremely grateful to all of you who participated: your insights are deeply appreciated. And, thank you to those who helped me to bring this project from its formative stages into this, its final (?) presentation.


Blogger charlannebrew said...

I really hate when I go into a clothing store and the largest size I find is an 8 (I am a 12/14). Notice even here I am determined to qualify a size by showing that it is possible for me to fit into a smaller size - sometimes.

I have confident days about my body image and weak days. However, in general I think I fear my body! So I work/exercise and diet and have decided that it is a life long pursuit to stay trim - not skinny - and fit.

Oh, one last comment. An eighty year old woman from Germany told me once. "You don't want to be skinny because when you get old you begin to look like a man - and no man wants that!"

Wise lady.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got an email about your project and deleted it. Not that I didn't want to help but I just didn't want to find the time. I just got another email with the website and figured I would take a look. It made me really think about how society makes us feel as women. We should be proud of our accomplishments and the love we have for others and that they have for us. Instead, many of us waste our time feeling insecure about the way we look. I am definitely one of those people. I can preach that it shouldn't matter what your size is but to actually believe it for yourself is so much harder. I was a size 4. Now after having a baby I am a size 8. This depresses me which is pretty sick considering my baby is only 1 month old. I am now inspired to participate so you will be receiving my tag soon.

9:32 PM  

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