"So in this split between the bodies as bodies and bodies as gendered I feel I must come to an almost contradictory conclusion. That we must try to accept our bodies as they are, but also as we have made them and to truly create the way we wish them to be."


It's strange when you think about it really, the people you meet in your day, your friends, your family, most of them don't know what you look like. Not really anyway, they know your face, your arms, bits and pieces here and there. Not you, as an entity, a whole, as you are. What's more is we actively don't want people to know what we look like, locked doors, tight buttons and fastened zips. So much of our day is spent hiding. Sadder still is that it's not without good reason, this hyper-sexualised society bombarding us with mixed messages, we've internalised it. I too am guilty of this. It's hard these days to see bodies as bodies, even when you try to there are still these warring factions fighting for supremacy. I have long been a fan of learning by doing and I think this is where the strength of Fully Disclothed lies. By placing your body as it is into a normal situation you seem to unlearn these cultural dictates quite quickly. This process of unmasking seems like quite an important one, the body is perhaps the easiest one, its masking and unmasking in certain contexts serves almost as a distraction from the masking of the rest of ourselves. If the body is something to be hidden then what of our minds? Ideas, after all, derive from the material, be that cotton, silk or denim; the idea of masking will become embedded. If we wish to change how we think, we must first change what we do.


I've had an interesting relationship with my own body. Being a queer dyspraxic, embodiment has often been a little troublesome. With dyspraxia your body never quite follows the commands sent down from the head, nor does the mind always understand what the body is saying. It's like speaking through a translator who is proficient in both languages but unable to capture the subtleties or nuance of what either is saying. This has left me with a distinctly dualist experience of the world, body and mind while inseparably linked seem as two distinct entities. Fully Disclothed in a way has helped me respect this division, or rather to remind me of my body. While experiencing such a split it can be easy to forget a large part of yourself, tending only to it automatically. This project has instead brought my body front and centre and shown it to me as it is, me.


The problem of queer bodies seems almost the opposite one. Instead of being split in two one is expected to fit into one or the other of two entrenched camps. This has never been me, male and female have simply never fit body or mind. Part of the problem seems to stem from the hyper-sexualised nature of bodies I mentioned earlier. In sexualising bodies all over the gaff society has also made bodies hyper-gendered. One is always presented with the tropes of perfect masculinity or femininity and expected to aspire towards them. I never really operated in this way, striving toward either ideal, but was more of a gender magpie. I'd pick up bits and pieces, clothes or styles that didn't fit male or female but instead fit me. This was to say the least, confusing because I didn't really know I was doing it at the time. At 15 I hadn't a reason that I was shaving my legs, save for it was how I wanted them to look.


So in this split between the bodies as bodies and bodies as gendered I feel I must come to an almost contradictory conclusion. That we must try to accept our bodies as they are, but also as we have made them and to truly create the way we wish them to be.











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