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Call for submissions: Online and printed zine about dealing with body/hair/size/fat phobia for and by Indigenous peoples and people of colour.

Title: To be decided/announced.

Deadline: February 28th 2011

For far too long, I’ve have been made to always question my body. Always made to feel like if I waxed my sideburns/shaved my legs/signed up for weightwatchers/stopped eating so much roti, that I would live up to the potential of how beautiful I could be. I have learnt that these issues not only represent a complex fear of hair or fat, but is also emblematic of what my body represents as a queer brown body, constantly threatening whiteness, conformity and concepts of beauty that idealize skinny, hairless, colonized white bodies; among many other things. The internalized hate and racism that our communities and peoples have is destroying us, forcing us to dislike and alter our bodies, putting it through further violence and trauma.

As I have been attempting to work through this, I have had the honour of meeting so many beautiful Indigenous people and people of colour who constantly work hard at breaking down these ideas, who survive, love themselves and each other everyday for who they are. We need to share our struggles and triumphs; we need to know we aren’t alone in this. There are many people who have stories, facts, advice and successes on these issues to share with others.

For these reasons and more, with consultation from many over the past two years, I want to put together this zine for Indigenous people and people of colour to share, read, write, listen, learn, realize, question and start a path to working towards realizing how sexy and beautiful we already are.

Who? Self-identified Indigenous peoples and people of colour*, mixed race people* who have something to say about fat/size/hair/body image shit. (I’m talking about size, hair (both body and on your head) and anything else that affects your body/self love/ability to love others.

What? Submit art, writing, prose, poetry, essays, collages, lyrics, photos, stuff you’ve created that can be put in a zine (online) and photocopied to give out in printed copies.

Why? We need to address size/fat/hair phobia and our bodies, colonization, histories and provide resources and support for each other.

How? Please send all submissions to thisisourzine@gmail.com with SUBMISSION as the subject. If it can’t be emailed, email us and we will figure out a way to get your work submitted.

*= it’s important to remember how complex categories of race, sexuality, gender and identity are, and when I say self-identified Indigenous people and people of colour and mixed race people, I mean that if you identify as a person of colour or Indigenous person, but may not necessarily present phenotypically as a person of colour, we want you to submit to the zine.

Obviously we all have different experiences/understandings of how race, body image, sexuality, gender, ability, class, eating disorders, geography, status, etc. etc. come together and shape how we understand these issues, which will be an important string throughout this zine.

About me:

You are probably wondering: ‘who is this random person wanting me to share my work with them?’ Good question. My name is Aruna, I am a 23 year old fat brown woman identified first generation settler that is living on the occupied lands of the Mississauga’s of New Credit. I went to Queen’s University in Kingston, but am now back living with my parents in Scarborough; and this is my first zine ever, and think that this topic is incredibly important and something that people need to start talking about with each other. I’m not claiming ownership over this and want this to be a collective/loving/healing process with everyone involved. I have a lot of issues around my weight and in the process of trying to look for something to comfort and help me work through my shit, I never found anything useful. I think a project like this, if done properly will be useful to lots of people in a similar situation.

Remember! Deadline is February 28th 2011, all submissions and inquiries about submissions should be relayed to thisisourzine@gmail.com.

In your submission, please include:

–       Your name (or name you want to be published)

–       RELIABLE Contact information (in case we need to talk to you about your work)

–       A brief (50-100 word) bio or description of who you are/what you do, etc. (if you want to include it)

–       Please make sure all attachments are either in PDF, JPEG, Word, RTF, BMP or any other compatible program.

–       Your piece/submission should be in an attachment, not copy/pasted into the email. (If you have trouble with attachments, email us for help!)

Want to submit? Get involved in the planning/making of the zine?

Wanna start a larger group out of this?

Got concerns, questions, etc?

Email me at thisisourzine@gmail.com to talk and if you’d like to get involved.

Here are some points to get you thinking about the issues I feel could be repped in this zine. A couple of points have been borrowed from another callout for ‘Occupied bodies’ by Tasha Fierce that I felt was relevant to our zine.

These are merely some starting questions, submissions should in no way feel limited to this:

–       How do you embrace/love your body?

–       What tips do you have to lessen the blows from people who hate on your fat/hair/self

–       How is loving your body an act of sovereignty or decolonization (if at all)?

–       Has your self-esteem/dislike of your body hurt your sex life? How does it stop you from exploring yourself or new partners because of fear of rejection?

–       How does being mixed race affect your body image and how you see yourself? How are you excluded from these discussions because of being mixed race?

–       Does the hair and fat phobic ways of the porn industry make you angry?

–       What images of yourself were instilled in you by your parents/guardians/other family members when you were a young child?

–       If you’re queer or two-spirit, how has being two-spirit or queer of color affected your self-image and how you desire your partner to look?

–       How has your gender (whatever that may be) affected how you understand your body, or how you have been forced to see your body?

–       If you’ve had partners who were also Indigenous or of colour, did/do you gaze upon them with the same critical eye you reserve for yourself? Why or why not?

–       Have you ever worried that your choice of partners reflected negative understandings of your own bodies/self?

–       If you’re a Trans people of colour or Indigenous person, how was your perception of your gender identity shaped? How has your self/body image changed over the years and have there been any other shifts in your thinking about your self/body image?

–       How has ability and access affected your image? Affected how you love yourself?

–       What positive or negative encounters with adults as a child helped shape that image?

–       How has your body image/size phobia issues been treated in the medical field? How has mental health played a part in it?

–       What connections do you see between colonialism and your body?

–       If you weren’t born on or feel connection to Turtle Island/occupied lands that we call ‘North America’, how has the place you came from/identify with determined your ideas around your body?

–       How did the media you consumed as a child/teen shape your body/self image today? How does it complicate it? How does the media you consume NOW affect your body/self image?

–       How did pressure from family and friends affect the way you perceived yourself after you were old enough to take care of yourself?

–       How did you feel about societal beauty and body standards as a teen? Did you rebel, or conform by any means necessary to avoid confrontation?

–       How has the globalization and dissemination of the Western beauty ideal affected you and Indigenous peoples/people of colour worldwide?

–       Debunk this: “in some cultures they ______”, – deconstructing a commonly held belief about an ethnic group’s relation to body (such as the black community supposedly being OK with fat).

The list goes on and on and is by no means complete…email us for more help if needed.

For more info, write to thisisourzine@gmail.com or check out the original call for submissions, found here.

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