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My Body My Message: women’s bodies as tools of self-empowerment

The female body as medium, and as message. How can a woman determine how she is perceived by the world, and even by herself? On this edition, we hear stories of women who are using their bodies for political protest, and as tools of self-empowerment…forcing everyone to reevaluate their perspectives on the female form. Featuring: Neda Topaloski & Xenia Chernyshova, Femen members Galia Ackerman, author of the book “Femen” Catherine King, Executive Producer, Global Fund for Women Yolando Y’Netta Harbin-Venson, Big Ol Pretty Girls owner Jenny “Diva” Davis, clothing designer Diva’s Exquisite Designs. Host: Jasmin Lopez Producers: Andrew Stelzer, Laura Flynn, George Lavender Contributing Producers: Sujata Dey, Aqueila Lewis, Mark Valcour This show features a segment from Aqueila Lewis, our second Community Storytelling Fellow. Click here for more information on the fellowship. More information: Big Ol Pretty Girls FEMEN Global Fund for Women Imagining Equality Indignadas (Outraged Women) Rape, rape culture and the problem of patriarchy Kenya’s stripping videos cause...

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My Body My Message: women’s bodies as tools of self-empowerment

The female body as medium, and as message. How can a woman determine how she is perceived by the world, and even by herself? On this edition, we hear stories of women who are using their bodies for political protest, and as tools of self-empowerment…forcing everyone to reevaluate their perspectives on the female form. Featuring: Neda Topaloski & Xenia Chernyshova, Femen members Galia Ackerman, author of the book “Femen” Catherine King, Executive Producer, Global Fund for Women Yolando Y’Netta Harbin-Venson, Big Ol Pretty Girls owner Jenny “Diva” Davis, clothing designer Diva’s Exquisite Designs. Host: Jasmin Lopez Producers: Andrew Stelzer, Laura Flynn, George Lavender Contributing Producers: Sujata Dey, Aqueila Lewis, Mark Valcour This show features a segment from Aqueila Lewis, our second Community Storytelling Fellow. Click here for more information on the fellowship. More information: Big Ol Pretty Girls FEMEN Global Fund for Women Imagining Equality Indignadas (Outraged Women) Rape, rape culture and the problem of patriarchy Kenya’s stripping videos cause...

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Reflection by Aqueila M. Lewis
Sep30

Reflection by Aqueila M. Lewis

“Reflection” was written on April 29, 2014 during National Poetry Month. I love fairy tales and nursery rhymes. I was actually thinking of Snow White and the relationship she had with her wicked step mother. I also remember vividly seeing how the step mother’s only friend seemed to be her mirror. I switched it around and imagined what I saw when I looked into the mirror. And those images just came forth so I wrote about them:     Aqueila M. Lewis is one of Making Contact’s 2014 Community Storytelling Fellows. She will focus on body image, and her journey to becoming a plus-size model. Find her work...

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Being a plus-size woman and model
Sep23

Being a plus-size woman and model

I am a plus-size model and have been modeling since 2010. The words plus-size and full-figured are interchangeable – both mean a person of fuller size, with curves, that wears clothing size 12 and up. After volunteering as assistant for a designer in a fashion show, I wanted to make a change in my life and improve my self-esteem. Since then I have modeled in magazines, various events, runway shows, gained the title as Ms. Oakland Plus America, and have learned how to love and honor my body and my whole self. Even though I am more confident now then when I started in the modeling industry, I still battle with self-confidence and self-esteem. I have worked with some amazing designers who primarily create plus-size wear, but there are some designers who still prefer to work with thinner models for size. Designers have chosen other models instead of having me wear their designs because my personality or my model walk wasn’t “fierce” enough, or I didn’t have the “it factor” that they were looking for. I make it my goal to be unique and shine for me even if I am not picked. There are so many negative stories about body size and body image but there aren’t enough stories that highlight the beauty of women’s bodies regardless of the size and shape. During my fellowship, I will be sharing my experiences of being a plus-sized woman and model. I will also highlight people that have inspired me on my journey – women actively changing society’s idea of beauty, while empowering others. I welcome your questions, comments and stories. All are important. Stand up and be heard....

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