“I hardly remember not hating my body. I got most of my seven arm tattoos when I was nineteen. I wanted to be able to look at my body and see something I didn’t loathe, that was part of my body by my choosing entirely. Really, that’s all I ever wanted,” explains Roxane Gay in Pen and Ink: Tattoos & the Stories Behind Them. Women’s bodies are constantly being dissected, reimagined, violated, or defined as a limitation, and this trauma – the violence of everyday life – becomes a part of their narratives.
Curated by Amanda Giracca and Simone Gorrindo, this monthly column will examine the relationship between women writers and their bodies with a focus on both the internal – how these writers navigate their personal geographies of hopes, dreams, and insecurities –and the external: how they represent themselves and tell stories.
Essays in Body of Work will focus on how women redefine the narrative about their own perceived limitations. They will explore questions such as: to what extent are our bodies ever our own? How do the stories written on our flesh, such as tattoos and scars, inform our identity and storytelling? When are our bodies barriers to storytelling, and when do they get us access to untold stories?
This is a collaborative space for writers, photographers, multimedia storytellers, and women from different disciplines to share stories about their identities.