Women’s Bodies: Taking Up Space and Femininity

Guest contribution by Aisha Mansaray – I grew up as a brown-skinned kiddo with a huge bush of brown, curly hair and freckles on my nose. If you mix Dutch and African, you get a fairly tall girl, with naturally firm hips, legs, and arms. This is not something to be ashamed about at all, but still I was by the time I hit puberty.

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How Angels Are Created Out of Clay

For the past two years I have watched the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I watch for the over-the-top lingerie creations, the cliché pop sensations that turn up, and to see who’s my favourite model this year. I watch to see the backstage footage of the girls telling stories about their lives, and to see them interact with each other — and the pop stars. Basically I watch to see a well-constructed, super-American circus show. There’s not a moment, however, when I’m thinking of the girls’ bodies and how they should affect me. Cause they don’t.

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The Wrong Solution

I’ve always had a strained relationship with food. I didn’t fit in at school because I was, supposedly, more intelligent (i.o.w.: less focused on boybands, make-up and boys, the things my peers would rave on about). I had extremely bushy hair, I was constantly reading, and I was extremely introverted. I started my high school career as a real-life Hermione Granger — a social outcast. You could say that I was quite the opposite of my two brothers. I was invisible, whereas they were the centre of attention because of their outgoing behaviour and their hyperactivity disorders. Because they required so much attention from my parents, I (wrongly) felt that my parents didn’t pay me much heed, and I slowly but surely turned into a little mouse — a little mouse who only felt comfortable with food, and around her computer.

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