Thursday, April 25th, 2013 was the inaugural public meeting for Endangered Bodies, NYC. I arrived a little late to find a room already full of women. I took a seat at the back as I typically do. Not because I'm particularly shy either. A number of people shared their thoughts, ideas, desires, and hopes for the group. I was impressed with the creativity of some of the ideas and the enthusiasm and energy with which they were delivered. We began setting out goals and objectives that correspond to our mission. One such objective, and a critical one at that, is to establish Endangered Bodies, NYC as representative of many voices: women and girls of course, but also men, boys, people of color, socially disadvantaged, and disabled people. We all live in this world and are exposed to the same social and cultural references to body and appearance ideals.
We also all have body images and concerns in relation to it. Yes, women have been disproportionately targeted, and this continues to be challenged locally and globally by activists, writers, artists, and various groups big and small. It needs to be if it's to change, I mean really change. Yet, I can't help but think that if we were to pull back the layers we would see that this isn't really a gender problem, strictly speaking, it's a social problem. Mainstream media and the industries we've all come to know and love (joke, joke) are run by corporate elites whose chief objective is to profit. By-and-large, they don't care who they're exploiting or potentially harming. This just doesn't factor into their bottom line. Insecurity and uncertainty is face-less, body-less, and self-less. As people who share this space, we have a social and political responsibility to make the invisible, visible. At least I would hope that most of us would see it that way. As women, it doesn't hurt that we have plenty of knowledge about how this particular game works, so maybe for once we have a lovely leg-up. Literally and figuratively.
We see ourselves working with local and diverse communities and institutions. We see ourselves working in unison with other organizations of a similar or complimentary nature, both in NYC and beyond. We see ourselves being a point of online and real-life reference for you.
So how does this play out on the ground?
- A number of all-social days around NYC that will provide information, discussions, mentorship, fun, and more.
- 'Pop-up Endangered Bodies, NYC', informal meet-up's around the city attended by EBNYC folks and you! They can be discussion-oriented, action/interaction-oriented, support-oriented.
- Town meeting style discussions, public talks, and story-telling in schools, centers, offices, theaters, parks.
- Various multi-media and interactive mini-campaigns in NYC and beyond that spreads the word about this work AND gets us back into our bodies like, national scale smashing, embrace the mirror, and ditch your skinnies.
- Our website is for you. It will be a clearinghouse that includes links to video, written work, events, resources, and the varied organizations, groups, and initiatives that provide all manner of important, interesting, informative, helpful, exciting, and positive material suited to everyone and anyone. It will have discussion forums and multiple opportunities for users to share their creative work: art, writing, and video. A one-stop-shop!
So there you go. A good start. What do you think? We would love to hear from you. We would love to have you involved. Give us a shout. Stay tuned. Tell your friends and family members.