Are You “Beach Body” Ready? Of Course You Are!

The “beach body” season is almost upon us and women everywhere are being pressured and terrorized by the never-ending ads and articles, “lose 10 pounds by summer” or “it’s still not too late to start working on your beach body”.  Media is constantly bombarding us to hate our bodies, to desperately spend money on beauty products. It can be hard with all of the endless amounts of crap that is continuously thrown our ways to remember that these beauty standards are totally fake and unrealistic.

I want to celebrate women worldwide doing their thing, unapologetically, just the way they are. We are beautiful, imperfect true, real, lovable, strong and much more! To all of the girls who have chosen sitting on a beach, covered up as opposed to jumping into the beautiful sea just because they feel too self conscious about their bodies – you’ve been played! You’ve been brainwashed. Please please let this summer be the one when you will no longer sacrifice joy, comfort, and pleasures of life for nonsense like that.

Illustration & writing by Layla So

 

 

To Be Vulnerable

 

“To Be Vulnerable” by Layla So

To know that you are seen and loved as you are and to perceive someone else in all of their vulnerability and love them as they are is one of life’s most fulfilling ambitions.

Quite a few modern feminist writers have taken up the topic of the importance of vulnerability and its special relationship to the feminine experience, always with their own unique understanding. For example, Judith Butler (my personal heroine) began Undoing Gender with a poetic essay on vulnerability, in which she argues that “being laid bare from the start, dependent on those we do not know” is inherent in the human condition and fundamental to the sum of our experiences and relationships.

Vulnerability exposes us to both the harm we can do each other as well as the good. Butler argues that both sides of vulnerability binds us to each other and are the basis of our human existence: “if we are outside of ourselves as sexual beings, given over from the start, crafted in part through the primary relations of dependency and attachment, then… [this state] is there as the function of sexuality itself, where sexuality is…coextensive with existence” (33). Vulnerability does not only produce more meaningful experiences, but creates inherently significant bonds.

While the idea that vulnerability is fundamental to experience has wide applications, its most interesting implications can be discovered through considering how the vulnerable individual orients his or her self in the world.

Feminism is often progress-based and geared toward the achievement of a better social state. Yet, as with all social change, progress comes slowly and haltingly. If we could apply this philosophy of vulnerability to the feminist struggle, both on a personal and political level, activism can be viewed as a way of being in the world, rather than a series of means to an end. This way, activism becomes the continuous process of genuine recognition of oneself and one’s relationship to others, through which the individual can become more enlightened and connected. Vulnerability and the recognition of vulnerability tie advocacy for others with living to oneself truly and fully.

Variations

 

Though I Vary by Layla So

Through this piece and upcoming series, I’m attempting to shine a brief light on the infinite complexity that is gender and identity. Gender is a tough subject to tackle. There are many varying facets to consider and we have all been culturally conditioned in a way that our first instinct on the subject is almost always wrong. 

Gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation are all independent of one another. People’s sexual orientation doesn’t determine their gender expression. Their gender expression isn’t determined by their gender identity. Those things certainly affect one another but they do not determine one another.

It’s important to mention that many people consider their identity to fall outside of this traditional— and limited—woman to man spectrum. These identities can be called genderqueer, agender, third-gender, bigender, etc.

Feel free to use the comments on this post to discuss, ask questions, or provide different insights. That’s what they’re there for!