Notorious

Girls can’t get along, women gossip more than men, never work for a women; just some notorious lies.

Some truths:  men in a group will flex to see who is alpha, visit a barbershop to hear hot topics; the best most vicious chat ever.  Ask female employees at FOX Television how they feel about their ever so masculine bosses.

©2017 E. R. Smith

Links to Women’s History

© 2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Portrait courtesy of untilitsallgone.com

If I were a woman in the midst of history, as Mrs. Michelle Obama is in this portrait.  Crossing that veil, how would I start a conversation?  I envision a party in a grand room.

In my mind, Luther Vandross is playing; yes I know he’s not a woman–But he’s Luther…we women love him.

Flowers are everywhere, roses of all colors, rare blooms, smells wonderful.

The room has an open floor plan, and is bright and well lit, with portraits of unnamed women throughout time, who’ve fought on the behalf of all people.  I read names and take notes, I will research these ladies later.

I walk over to groups and join conversations…here are some excerpts of my comments:

Bessie Coleman (aviator, first black women to hold a pilot’s license)

“How is Mae Jemison doing?  You’d both be pleased to know we have so many female pilots and astronauts now.  Why don’t I fly?  Well, cause I truly fear heights, but I’ve been a passenger.”

Katherine Durham (choreographer, educator, activist)

“Have you met Rihanna?, she puts her money where her heart is.”

Maya Angelou (poet, author, civil rights activist)

“I’ve missed you, do you know I just began writing too; although I know I couldn’t be as honest and open as you.”  

Rosa Parks (the first lady of civil rights)

“Just so you know, all teens now choose to sit at the back of the bus.”

Dorothy Height (educator, activist, fought for rights of black women) and Mary McLeod Bethune  (educator, activist, established a private school for black children)

Oprah Winfrey established a school for black girls in South Africa; and recently someone asked her if she’d consider the presidency.  I think she’d win.” 

Dorothy Dandridge (actress, dancer, first black female Academy Award nominee for Best Actress)

“Girl,  Viola Davis is kicking Academy butt, and she’s not light skinned; she’s changing what Hollywood thinks about sexy.  She wears her hair natural, in public! That caused all kinds of media drama.”

Ida B. Wells Barnett (journalist, editor, suffragist)

“You would have so much fun protesting in this era, when new policies seek to turn back time.”

Althea Gibson (first black athlete to cross the color line of international tennis)

Serena and Venus Williams are great players, yet I still hear them booed in some stadiums; doesn’t stop them from slaughtering opponents though.  I love when they win in pairs.”

Josephine Baker (singer/entertainer, french resistance) and Mahalia Jackson (the queen of gospel, civil rights supporter)

Lady Gaga said, she’s just trying to change the world one sequin at a time, you guys would love her style; she’s fought for marriage rights for all.  Selena Gomez supports UNICEF, helping at risk children around the world.  Ariana Grande speaks out on the rights of women to be as human as men, which we would all agree is long overdue.”

As you would imagine, the party ends much too soon.  If you were in the room, who would you seek to speak with and what would you say?

A Tanka for Spring Flowers

Strut swank, fierce runway beauty…

© 2017  E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

 

  Burst open bright buds

strut swank, fierce runway beauty

invigorate view

flower a prize to lovers

spring  vogue landscape, hype headlines

 

 

#WritePhoto

©2017 E.R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Spring into Renewal

Spring into renewal; leap with the force of your being

gather the wisdom of the ages, change the tired of seeing

Bound to depths of wells holding past imaginings; dreams woven in youth

trash the rubbish, ignore doubters, showcase your own truth

Vault on a new path, gutsy, fearless, and free; reinvent

follow spring season’s newborn feet, keep the soul relevant

Oshun: Golden Yellow is Her Flare

oshun
Image shows Oshun and gifts attributed to her.

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Yellow for my mother; she wears it in her hair,

wound in lusterus coils

Golden woven silk is draped on cinnamon skin so bare,

and richly oiled

Seated beneath the waterfall legs outstretched on an ancient crocodile,

she teases

mama-yeye
http://yemayaguru.com/oshun/

Peacock feathered fan in hand she smiles at what she knows, and

 what she pleases

Yellow glows, the buzzing bees, her messengers,

dancing on the sweetest blooms sipping nectar

oshun-mama-yeye
https://www.pinterest.com/source/digitalcaribbean.commons.gc.cuny.edu/

Amber the honey, an elixir,

taste it first if you respect her

Gold the bangles forged by Ogun,

making music of her hands and feet

Flaxen sails of faithful ships,

 La Caridad blesses her fleet

Give us fresh water, Yalodde Yeyé Kari! Yeyeo! Omoriyeyeo,

that we may be refreshed

Five yellow sunflowers, a pumpkin, a yam,

to repay our debt

Mama Yeye with golden jeweled mirror in hand,

to take in her elegance

Preparing to party, saffron hued perfume sweetens air,

Gatherers praise her eloquence

hija-de-oshun
Young devotee in initiation dress.

 Mama Yeye,

Smile on me, send me your gifts, and love

Mother is known for her charity, and defense of us,

from above

Continue reading “Oshun: Golden Yellow is Her Flare”

Seeking to be A Perfect 10

Seeking to be A Perfect Ten

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

A question came up in the comments for my article The Aesthetic of A Full Figured Woman; that had to be answered.  A reader wanted to see more inclusion in the dance area of my piece.  Immediately I began researching, really because all women would like to be seen as a perfect Ten; a “dime piece”.  I fully support this.  So began the search for positive images of plus sized women of all creeds and racial identity.  I put Meghan Trainor on for focus. Yes, her beats are fabulous!  Today Better When I’m Dancin’, is blasting on my mind.  I wanted to see current campaigns for positive esteem targeted to the plus sized lady.  Current meaning 2000 and forward, so no Baby Got Back, here.  Excuse you Sir Mix-a-Lot.

Music

Meghan Trainor is a winner in the Defy Size category; so here you have an homage to her video All About That Bass by choreographer Katrina on YouTube.  Love this because various forms of full are showcased.  It is well known that while Booty is having its moment in the media, it is usually attached to a tiny waist and a pack of abs. Shout out to Joe Jonas and his group DNCE’s Toothbrush video featuring plus sized model and fashion designer Ashley Graham, as his lover.  In an interview  Graham stated,

“People have wanted to see more curvy girls, and now there are big-name photographers shooting curvy girls. Magazines are saying, ‘We don’t really care that there is a plus size model in the magazine and as a matter of fact we’re not even going to talk about it, we’re just going to talk about the fact that’s she’s actually just a model!’ And the modelling agency IMG took on five plus-size models and they didn’t know how it would turn out, they were just excited to have diversity on their board. It’s people like that in this industry—who are willing to take a chance—who are going to keep this movement going.”

Graham has a fashion line of lingerie for the fuller figure.  Hopeful that the image of a love interest, in media, is shifting.  Sexy, desirable, a vixen, an action hero, needs to be promoted in most sizes.  Awaiting that feature film with a confident, damn it all, full figured woman, being fought for by two highly qualified handsome men.  Bridget Jones Diary, really doesn’t meet the confident.  The main character always seemed surprised by male interest.  This girl I’m talking about has loads of boyfriends to choose from.  Hoping Shonda Rhimes, producer, screenwriter, author; will make my dreams come true.

Bishamber Das, winner of the Miss India Europe competition, is Britain’s first plus sized model.  Searched her Facebook page and discovered this quote, that is very telling for most women.

bishamber-das
Lovely model Bishamber Das.

Growing Up I Always Believed I Was Never Worthy Of Love, My Community And Media Always Reminded Me That A Woman Like Me Was Fat, Ugly And Not ‘Marriage Material’ For Any Man. The Saddest Part Is I Started To Believe It, Every Time A Guy Would Compliment Me I’d Think He Was Doing It To Make Fun Of Me. Years Went By Different Experiences Came And Went, To Be Honest I Started To Hate Men, Had Trust In No One. It Was Only Till I Realised That The Only Thing That Mattered Was Me.

Art

Located a list showing a visual history of the full figured woman in art.  Loved Chuck Miller, especially his piece Seated Nude.  The model is so relaxed, confident, strong.

chuck-miller-seated-nude

Julia Zhukova an artist nick named the Dancing Brush offers beautiful works of women of all sizes.

large_on-the-yellow-carpet-juliya-zhukova
On The Yellow Carpet (2014) oil painting by Juliya Zhukova.

Design

Fashionistas come in all shapes, we know this.  Plus-size clothing giant Lane Bryant started a campaign #ImNoAngel, to help all women redefine themselves.  A finger to the Victoria Secret models with wings on runways.  I should say I am a huge fan of the Victoria Secret models especially Tyra Banks.  Banks has suffered many a shaming in the media, when her size fluctuates.  Singaporean storeowners/fashion bloggers Priscilla Boh and Kayde Ling are empowering Asian women with their I Am campaign.  Ling told writer Erin Fisher in a 2015 interview,

“Being Asian with conservative upbringing, Singaporean plus-size girls often lack body positivity and confidence of their physical appearance. These ladies who suffer from low self-esteem end up hiding and being afraid to show their true self and beauty. The purpose of this project is to encourage the girls to accept and love themselves for who they are.”

These ads set to black and white like the Lane Bryant campaign. I am all about positive affirmations.  Empowerment is important, currently our little girls are bombarded with what media thinks they should be everyday.  We have to make this a conversation.  No one’s future is written in stone; or designed based on how one is crafted.

Being a perfect Ten like Bo Derek; has been the goal for many. There are those who undergo in-depth plastic surgery to become Barbie.  Slim women.  There is a problem when we’re taking beauty tips from dolls and fantasy characters.  When do we as women celebrate self?  Celebrate women being their best selves.  Comment on the confident, clever, curvy women you know; list their accomplishments.  How have they shattered the media world’s conceptions? Looking forward to your shares; new additions to a positive campaign.

Continue reading “Seeking to be A Perfect 10”

The Aesthetic of a Full Figured Woman

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Reflecting on aesthetics, I couldn’t get Alessia Cara’s song out of my head.  Really, I am still humming it as I write.  She sings “Scars to You’re Beautiful”.  She tells the tale of a girl, like me, that you don’t see in magazines.  A girl craving the adoration reserved only for the beautiful, or so she assumes.  Alessia’s observation is that, “She don’t understand she’s worth it.”  

I decided to take a look at full figured aesthetics in the arts; and how artists reflect on what is striking, sensual, lovely.  Artist Peter Paul Rubens offers vast examples of women considered full figured at the time; but like the plus sized models of today they rarely measure past size 14. Yet, still there is no Twiggy here.  Venus at the Mirror (1615) and Ermit and Sleeping Angelica (1628) are two of my favorite paintings.  I love the movement, you see the ladies stretched luxuriating, fluid in their stance.  Still life paintings that move.

venus-at-a-mirror-c-1615
Venus at the mirror 1615

Photographer Leonard Nimoy (Spock on Star Trek) went where few have gone before in real life.  Nimoy’s photography celebrates women who Hollywood has passed by.  In his book the Full Body Project (2007) he showcases ladies of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  Rebecca Ruiz’s article on Mash.com, outlines why our beloved Mr. Spock chose to feature larger women.

leonard-nimoy-photo

Natalie Angier, an author who wrote the introduction to The Full Body Project, told Mashable that Nimoy was deeply troubled upon hearing that most women felt some degree of body shame.

“It really disturbed him that women who considered themselves overweight had this terrible feeling about themselves,” Angier said. “He wanted to show the world that there’s beauty to be found in different body types.”

There’s never been more of need for a Vulcan Mind Meld; then there is when the media world shuns the majority of women.

Choreographers aren’t seen as folks who work with the hefty.  Adjectives to describe their clientele would be slender, svelte, willowy.  Well, get ready for a Pretty Big Movement created by Akira Armstrong.  Armstrong, a dancer/choreographer with a lush, cushy, flourishing frame; outlines her journey in a mini-documentary “The Scene”.  She is destroying dance stereotypes by putting her moves on the stage and wowing judgement to silence.  Click here to see her testify as to why.  There is also 4Thirty-Two, a dance group promoting self acceptance at any size.  Their moves are current, young, carefree, and outstanding.

Cara is still crooning in my mind, “She craves attention, she praises an  image, she prays to be sculpted by the sculptor”  She testifying about how a world’s image can weigh down the spirit of one who can’t conform.  Aesthetics view is broadening.  The world is changing and selfies that get liked look like most.  Yes, media is holding onto a limited standard, with both hands and two feet; but its grip is loosening.   I hope, like Cara, that the world will change its heart.  Beauty is more than the skin we are in.

Also checkout gorgeous in gray