September 23, 2012

In Support of Slutwalk (My Burlesque Debut), and Yogathon.

Next weekend in Chicago is going to be a fabulous time of female body positivity with the returning Slutwalk on Saturday, September 29 and a yogathon to support Rape Victim Advocates (RVA), happening that same weekend.

I wrote about the Chicago Slutwalk in 2011, and in the time since then I have really been on a personal crusade for female body and sexual positivity. This is evidenced by several articles at Elephant including: Yoga and Pelvic What?, Revelation About Massaging My Vagina, Queering My Sexuality, Vagina Manifesto for Males & Females, and Proud to be Vaginamerican.

I feel like I got an opportunity to walk, dance, and werq my talk on female body positivity when my body positive performance art idol, Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero (Vajaqueque Brown), recent recipient of the Mark Aguhar Memorial Grant for their burlesque-dance-drag-performance-art work, asked me to create a piece with them for the gallery opening burlesque show for ‘Objectify This: Female Anatomy Dissected and Displayed.’ I was amazed that they had chosen me, and Jackie has since shared with me that it was some of my recent articles that convinced them that I had the right mental framework to do it! (“They” gender neutral singular pronouns used intentionally in this paragraph.)

Anyway, I was thrilled.

Our performance was set up like a dissection, and Vajaqueque had been wheeled in on a table, body covered with a cloth. I had real dissection tools to dance and werq with. After I removed the cloth Vajaqueque came to life! I was so happy.

As you might imagine this was super-fun…

The newly-awakened being decided to explore my character’s body!

And here we are, accepting applause! Yes, our bodies are almost revealed! My character’s body is not so different from Vajaqueque’s (except I have lots of orange hair, of course!)!

Here we are after the performance!

I feel proud that I accepted the opportunity and followed through to the performance, and while I’ve written at least as far back as the article ‘Power to the Pubis‘ on celebrating real female bodies, it just felt so good, right and even appropriate for me to be in a gallery space and to stand with my own body for what I believe in. And to have created and performed with my beautiful and brilliant friend, Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero, was just awesome! I believe in creativity, truth and artistic expression with our bodies, and also understand that others would not choose to express the way I have. But I can tell you that I am so happy to have just set myself free. I used to work in an art gallery, and I think I saw one of my old bosses from another job in the crowd, as well as friends and people I did not know. It just felt so good to transgress my old self (I had given myself permission to do this) who probably would not have been able to do it, and to stand, revealed as the person I am now.

So in the spirit of Slutwalk, I am not ashamed of my body. I stood strong in a state of nakedness that can sometimes be perceived as vulnerable, healing feelings of having been a “victim.”

* I recommend attending Slutwalk Chicago on September 29. *
** All proceeds from my restorative yoga class on Sunday, September 30th, 4pm at the Yoga Circle will be donated to RVA. All are welcome to drop-in! **

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Brooks Hall  |  Contribution: 10,620