This is where we share stuff we can’t share on Facebook page for fear of being kicked out! Read why here. Usually the posts are about body image, sometimes there’s nudity but we’re all adults here. Right?
Last week I had a lovely visit to the Worcester Art Museum (What a FABULOUS cultural gem hidden in the mid-sized city of Worcester, MA. GO VISIT!!) They have a wide range of art from Pre-Colombian statues from Peru to Modern 20th century art. While I was there, I was struck by the often body positive, diverse representation of the female body in many of the pieces of art. I wrote this letter to those painted, sculpted figures who made a difference in this feminist’s life.
“I was always a ‘pretty, but’,” says Rhapsody Artajo, who, by her own definition, is a woman of many trades: plus-size model, entertainer, singer, artist and makeup artist. “‘Oh, you’re pretty, but… you could stand to lose some weight. You’re talented, but…you should drop some pounds.’” Good thing Artajo hasn’t bothered to listen to the haters. She’s cosplayed as many recognizable characters of all sizes, including Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Katana from Suicide Squad and Ursula from The Little Mermaid.
People say to me, “You’re so confident.” But there are good days and bad days. Usually it’s “This is me and I can’t do anything to change it, so I’m gonna have to enjoy it.” And then there are days when I’m like, “This is awesome – I’m fat and tattooed!”
All of my tattoos are kind of stupid and silly. [A sampling: “JUNK FOOD” on her knuckles, a T. Rex dressed up like Marc Bolan, and portraits of Weird Al Yankovic and John Waters.] One day I’m going to wake up and be like, “Well, that sure was a decision you made!” But I would rather have ones that are funny as opposed to ones that start out really meaningful and then you stop caring about them.
The biggest compliment I ever got came from John Waters while he was doing a talk here. He came over, gestured at me and was like, “This is everything. You look like you belong in one of my movies.”
When I’m wrestling, that’s a good [self-esteem] day. I look the least conventionally attractive when I wrestle, but I’m like, “This fits. I’m dressed like a cartoon character and nobody can say anything about it.
“Last year I started figure modeling for art classes. I’m plus-sized, so I was a little worried about being nude. I was nervous about everyone seeing my stomach, and my thighs, and all my fat. But apparently my curves are fun to draw. In the classroom, all the features I saw as negative were viewed as assets. One student told me that it’s no fun to draw straight lines. It’s been liberating for me. I’ve always been insecure about my belly. But now my belly has been part of so many beautiful pieces of art.”
Cosplay Has Tried To Make Me, a Fat, Black Woman, Invisible
“Our bodies don’t need to be tamed. They can be loved, cherished, and appreciated regardless of how they look or what they are capable of doing… including when they’re dressed in a cosplay costume.”