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Transcript of bodies
Smelly Old Lady
Rustico di Filippo (13th c.)
Everywhere you go, you take your bog along You smelly, deceitful old lady, So that anyone who comes near you
Has to hold his nose and run for it.
Your teeth and gums are full of tartar,
Because your stinking breath clogs them up;
Chamber pot seats seem like cypress wood
Compared to the terrific fragrance you give off. When you open your horrendous snout, It seems as if a thousand graves have opened up: Why don’t you kick the bucket or get yourself buried, So that no one has to see or hear you again? Because the whole world fears you, I think you’re like a fox You give off such a tremendous stench, you filthy beast.
Can identity be viewed other than as a by-product of a manhandling of life, one that, in fact, refers no more to a consistent pattern of sameness than to an inconsequential process of otherness?--Trinh T. Minh-ha
The Old Woman
Shapes AND Sizes
Altering the Body
Barbie Doll (Marge Piercy)
This girlchild was born as usual
and presented dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves and irons
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:
You have a great big nose and fat legs.
She was healthy, tested intelligent,
possessed strong arms and back,
abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.
She went to and fro apologizing.
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs.
She was advised to play coy,
exhorted to come on hearty,
exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.
Her good nature wore out
like a fan belt.
So she cut off her nose and her legs
and offered them up.
In the casket displayed on satin she lay
with the undertaker's cosmetics painted on,
a turned-up putty nose,
dressed in a pink and white nightie.
Doesn't she look pretty? everyone said.
Consummation at last.
To every woman a happy ending.
I wanted to write books that ran the whole gamut of women's sexual experiences. I didn't like the imposition that had been placed on black women's sexuality in literature. They were either mothers, mammies or whores. And they were not vulnerable people. They were not people who were supposed to enjoy sex, either. That was forbidden in literature -- to enjoy your body, be in your body, defend your body.--Toni Morrison
Ugly. Is irrelevant. It is an immeasurable insult to a woman, and then supposedly the worst crime you can commit as a woman. But ugly, as beautiful, is an illusion.--Margaret Cho, weblog, 01-27-04
Homage to My Hips
these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top
I wear my skin as thinly as I have to, armor myself only as much as seems absolutely necessary.
I try to live naked in the world, unashamed even under attack, unafraid even though I know how much there is to fear. --Dorothy Allison, from Skin
Like anyone else, there are days I feel beautiful
and days I don't, and when I don't,
I do something about it.--Cheryl Tiegs (1947 - ),
O Magazine, May 2004
the female body: a glance