New Projects!

I have been so busy starting new projects left and right I just have to find a good schedule for myself to maintain them all. Anyway, I wanted to let you know about two new blog projects that I'm currently working on in addition to Yours Truly. These are two writing projects in two very different veins, so maybe one (or both) will be of interest to you!

I got the idea for this site because I wanted to have a place with great resources that I could point my creative writing student to so that those of them that want to keep writing can have a good place to go to keep learning about writing on their own. I ended up taking that idea and developing it for a Digital Humanities course I took this spring, and now I'm working on trying to expand it and get as many new resources up as I can. Basically, this is a repository of free, online resources available to creative writers and teachers of creative writing. So if you fall into one or both of those categories, follow on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Bloglovin, and please submit any resources you love that you don't already see up there! This site is still really new, so I appreciate any and all feedback and, of course, resources to add.

Feminists Watching TV

I started this project with my friend Jasmine because I watch and wanted a space to write about just that. I thought it would make a fun collaborative project and knew the perfect gal to co-write. I watch a lot of trashy TV that I love but that can be problematic to me as a feminist, and there are also a lot of shows that are doing it right that I want to highlight. So yeah, if you want to see me and my friend(s) (we may be inviting some new people to write soon!) talk about our favorite television shows, check that out and follows us on Twitter.

I realized the other day that right now I have three blogging projects going on three different platforms (Blogger, Wordpress, and Tumblr), but since I already bought up some server space for Want to Write because it really needed to be a project, I think I'm going to be transitions Yours Truly over to Wordpress as well, once I figure out how to do that and all. What new projects have you been working on lately?

Yours Truly, Jen

Friday Favorites

Hey, it's my graduation weekend. Can you believe it? I really kinda don't. Well anyway, popping in real quick to share a few really good links from around the web this week, and then I'm going to go to bed and hope I don't suffocate in my sleep (I got real ratchet allergies right now, ya'll). Enjoy!

That face is seriously perfection. Also, WTF creep?

This woman and her mission to help women embrace their bodies. I just can't talk about this topic enough.

This "film about plus-sized models fighting to reshape the world of fashion and the standards of society." The ladies speak some TRUTH in this video, and you should definitely follow all of them on Twitter and Instagram.

A humorous take on the body image conversation.

80 might be my new favorite picture on the internet (I seriously LOL'd at a bunch of these. Because I was grading all day Thursday and NEEDED it).

Yours Truly, Jen

P.S. Looking for some new people to follow on Twitter and Instagram. Help!

Let's Talk Body Changes & Body Shapes

I had a really hard time titling this post, because it was really inspired by this article, but I feel like there are a lot of related topics that I want to talk about here. I've seen several stories now about photography series chronically different body shapes and women after childbirth, and most of those have focused on us seeing larger bodies or less culturally traditionally beautiful bodies as beautiful, which I think is really important. What sets this series apart for me is the fact that so many different types of bodies are shown--there are big women, thin women, athletic women, women with stretch marks, women with c-section scars, women with loose skin, women with firm skin, women with cellulite and women without, women with tattoos and women without, women of various races, ethnicities, sizes, levels of fitness, and ages.

I realize that our society already puts a premium on thin and/or fit bodies, but I think in some projects there is so much of an emphasis on showing types of bodies that tend to not be shown that women who do fall into more traditional beauty categories are almost shamed, like they can't join the club, and I think that's counterproductive because what we really should be teaching and learning is that bodies of all shapes and sizes are good and healthy and beautiful, and I think these photographs really show that. Alexa Chung spoke really smartly about it when she said:
"I think it’s about time people stopped judging women on their appearance and more on their intellect. Like you can appreciate my style without having to appreciate my weight. It’s not actually mutually inclusive. I just get frustrated because, just because I exist in this shape, doesn’t mean that I’m like advocating it and being like, ‘I look great.’ How do you know I’m not looking in the mirror and going ‘I wish I could gain ten pounds?’ Which is actually quite often the case. But if you say that you sound like you’re bragging that you’re naturally thin, and you’re not allowed to do that because even though it’s not the ideal weight, it kind of is as well. So it’s really fucked up. And how people that are bigger can be on the front covers of magazines being like ‘I’m really happy with my shape.’ But if I was to do that, I’d be completely criticized and ridiculed. But why can’t I be happy with how I look?"
I think sometimes thinner women are told that they don't get to complain about wanting to lose weight or being insecure about their bodies because that shames or hurts their bigger friends, or that thinner women or more athletic women shame bigger women just by existing in their shapes, and that's working backwards and empowering fat women and taking away the power from thin women. We don't want to do that, we want to redistribute that power so that all women can feel accepted and beautiful and strong.

As a woman who is overweight but maybe not considered fat by a lot of people, who has many friends who are much heavier and many friends who are much lighter, it can feel difficult to navigate the waters of size identity and who I'm "allowed" to relate to or empathize with. Which of course I recognize is a completely false and shaming dichotomy in and of itself, so I try to dismiss those anxieties when I fall prey to them. But that doesn't mean they don't exist.

The other super relevant issue here is that fact that our bodies change over time, and some of our bodies change more than others. Motherhood is a wonderful example, because the bodies of some of the women in these pictures have changed significantly in the process of changing a life, and some of their bodies are the same, similar, or even stronger than they were before childbirth. For mothers, there is this stigma out there that because some women can quickly lose the weight or get back into shape in X amount of time after childbirth, everyone should be able to, which of course isn't true. All of our bodies are different. They all have different tendencies, different capabilities, different natural shapes, different idiosyncrasies. That is normal. That is life. And so too this idea translates to women who are not mothers. Many women gain weight in their early to mid twenties, because our bodies are still developing and shifting. Some women stay the size they were in high school their whole lives. Some people take longer to lose their baby fat than others. Some bodies require more activity to stay fit or to lose weight than others. Some bodies have difficulty keeping on weight, or gaining weight. These are all valid and real struggles/personalities/identities we and our bodies have, and it's important to recognize that.

Our bodies have so many ways of changing on us--freckles and moles appear and disappear, we gain pounds, we lose pounds, our skin darkens or lightens, wrinkles and unwrinkles, stretches and scars, our nails grow, our hair grows, our teeth yellow and whiten and decay, our bodies are invaded with bacteria and disease, our bodies eradicate bacteria and disease, we retain and shed water, we learn new aches and pains, we grow stronger, we become weaker, our hair changes colors, we age--so it's important to remember that while our bodies can influence who we are, they aren't what we are. We have minds and hearts and souls, too. People just can't see them immediately.

Yours Truly, Jen

P.S. Let's Talk Weight Loss, Let's Talk About Bikini Bodies, Let's Talk Body Image & Self Love,

Friday Favorites

-You guys, I am actually graduating! I keep waiting for someone in the graduate school to be like nope, you never turned in X paperwork so we're holding you back, but I got an email asking me to double check my spelling for the graduation program, so I feel like it's real now. Still finishing up a final project and grading, but this semester is wrapping up real fast.
-This list on finding affordable art. I haven't really had time yet, but I can definitely see myself getting lost in online shopping real soon on this sites.
-This list of budget-friendly jewelry brands. I had never shopped at any of these sites before, and I've really been blown away with the variety and the reasonable prices on most of these sites.
-Perfect summer cocktail. Cannot wait to make this. Maybe to celebrate final grades being put in?
-This looks like a lovely way to stay caffeinated over the summer. I did the Pioneer Woman's iced coffee last year and it was fabulous, so I might try these gals' variation this year. Love how iced coffee is just ready to go in the morning, no effort required.
-This list of grammar mistakes that make you look bad. I already know all of these (largely because I've taught them to my freshman students in the past), but it's always good for a refresher, and I love that people are putting out these lists. I know that for most people grammar is boring and unimportant, but it has more of an effect on the way people perceive you than you know, especially now that so much of our lives is online (you can now proceed to find every grammar mistake in the post).
-This online magazine. They are publishing such amazing, important stories, stories that are often hard to tell and hard to read, but both need to happen. A good friend of mine published this article there not long ago. If you have an extra moment in your day, please read.
-I have two new projects to share with you soon! I'm seriously excited about both of them, and I can't wait to tell you more about them. Now that I'm wrapping up the MFA program, I'm really excited to be able to dedicate more time to my independent projects. I'm also excited to get back into writing mode (I've mostly been editing for the past year).

What are your favorite moments/things around the web this week?

Yours Truly, Jen