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The Body Political by Amber Gregory

The Body Political by Amber Gregory

No matter how you approach it, fat bodies are political.

Bay Area-based the Body Political subverts mainstream attitudes toward all oppressed bodies. Tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 20), TBP will confront social myths about bodies through spoken stories of resistance at the Oakland Metro Operahouse near Jack London Square in Oakland, California.

The show is produced by Laika Fox and Andi Stardust, performers include comedians, burlesque performers and beyond. You can expect to see dance (burlesque and otherwise), humor, music, spoken word and who knows what else this incredibly inventive, driven team has up their sleeves. Performers are coming in from Seattle, Minneapolis and Denver for this semi-annual event and include local performers Irene Tu, Sheba Queen of the Night and Red Velvet, as well as my personal favorite southern belle, Magnoliah Black, who’s hosting the event. We spoke with her about the event and asked her why The Body Positive is so important:

I started performing burlesque eight years ago. It started as self-prescribed fear aversion therapy. I danced burlesque in order to free myself, and I keep doing it to free others. My fat, black, queer body is subjected to constant judgement and this glorious thing is often used against me as a physical indication of a perceived deficiency of worth and weakness of moral character.

“The Body Political is important. This show strikes a chord in me.

“I agree with the High Priestess Nina Simone when she said, ‘An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.’ I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I’m concerned, it’s their choice, but I CHOOSE to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when every day is a matter of survival.

“This show embodies this powerful calling to all artists. Right now we are in a battle for our stories, our truths, our lives. Our bodies are the battle field and we cannot afford to lose,” Black says.

Next year, TBP will be on tour! The world will get to experience a new path to body positivity and fat liberation in 2017.

Related: You Need This Body Positive Coloring Book!

The show will take place October 20, 2016, at 8 p.m. at the Oakland Metro Operahouse. It will run two hours, including a 15-minute intermission. Attendees must be 21+ with valid ID. This venue is wheelchair-accessible. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets at $25 for VIP (seating) and $20 for general admission (standing).

The Body Political - Thursday, Oct 20th.

The Body Political – Thursday, Oct 20th.


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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