CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – Occupied Bodies: Women of Color Speak on Self-Image – Deadline October 15, 2010

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – Occupied Bodies: Women of Color Speak on Self-Image – Deadline October 15, 2010

I am soliciting essays for an anthology on women of color’s self-image/body image as shaped by family, friends, media, society, history, lived experiences, etc. I’m looking for smart, accessible, and snappy personal narratives that also offer nuanced analysis of the underlying constructs that affect how we perceive ourselves. Exploring intersectionality of identities is extremely important. I particularly want the voices of women of color that are not often heard to be represented, such as trans* WOC, disabled WOC, queer WOC, WOC outside the U.S., WOC with eating disorders, working class/poor WOC and fat WOC. Of course, all the varied perspectives any woman of color can offer are welcome.
This is an exciting project, as this topic has not been explored in depth and including such a diverse collection of viewpoints before. The final manuscript will be submitted to relevant independent publishers.

Some possible jumping off points include, but are not limited to:

  • What images of yourself were instilled in you by your parents/guardians/other family members when you were a young child? What positive or negative encounters with adults as a child helped shape that image?
  • If you were born in a country other than the U.S. and then immigrated to the U.S., how did the society in which you were born play a role in your developing self-image, and what contrasts did you find difficult to navigate between the two societies?
  • How did the media you consumed as a child/teen shape your body/self image today? How does it complicate it? How does the media you consume NOW affect your body/self image?
  • How did pressure from family and friends affect the way you perceived yourself after you were old enough to take care of yourself?
  • How did you feel about societal beauty and body standards as a teen? Did you rebel, or conform by any means necessary to avoid confrontation?
  • How has the globalization and dissemination of the Western beauty ideal affected you and women of color worldwide?
  • Debunk this: “in some cultures they ______”, – deconstructing a commonly held belief about an ethnic group’s relation to body (such as the black community supposedly being OK with fat).
  • If you’re queer, how has being a queer woman of color affected your self-image and how you desire your partner to look? If you’ve had partners who were also women of color, did/do you gaze upon them with the same critical eye you reserve for yourself? Why or why not?
  • If you’re a trans* WOC, how was your perception of your gender identity shaped? How has your self/body image changed over the years and have there been any other shifts in your thinking about your self/body image? How does being a WOC interact with your trans* identity? How does it affect how other people perceive you and your gender?
  • How has being a disabled WOC affected your body/self image? Do you feel it’s a detriment or a positive part of your person? How did you come to terms with your disability, or has it never been problematic for you?
  • As a fat WOC, has weight shaped your self/body image your whole life? Have you developed an eating disorder? Was it exacerbated by there being virtually no resources for women of color, especially for fat WOC?
  • Are you a sexual assault/rape survivor? How did that trauma affect your view of yourself?

If your experiences overlap on any of the suggested jumping off points, PLEASE feel free to explore that.


  • Deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010;
  • Submissions should be saved in Word format or Rich Text, double spaced, size 12 Arial or Times New Roman;
  • 500 to 5,000 words;
  • Include RELIABLE contact information and a brief biography;
  • Only e-mail submissions will be accepted, however, if you can’t arrange that please contact me and we’ll work something out.
  • Send submissions to:;
  • Again, the deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010.

Who I Am:
The woman spearheading this project is Tasha Fierce, a freelance writer who also happens to be a fat, queer, disabled woman of color. I’ve written about race politics, fat acceptance, disability and feminism in several zines, including Evolution of a Race Riot and the zine I edited from 1998-2001, Bitchcore. I have contributed to Jezebel several times, the fat acceptance blog Shapely Prose, the race & pop culture blog Racialicious, and the feminist disability activism blog FWD/Forward. My work has also been featured in The Huffington Post. I live, love and write in Los Angeles, California. You can regularly read me at my own blog, Red Vinyl Shoes ( and on Twitter as @redvinylshoes.

Donations are greatly appreciated. All donations will only be used to cover costs and time spent getting the anthology to print.

You can donate here:

[This will also be linked up at the top of my blog under "Occupied Bodies".]

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  • JMS

    This sounds like a great project, and I can't wait to read the finished book. If you are thinking about crowdsourcing some of the pre-publication expenses, I'd definitely be in for a small contribution!

    • Tasha Fierce

      That's a good idea! I should set up some kind of donation thing with PayPal.

  • samreen

    Hi, can foreign women write as well? I am a southasian and have never travelled abroad but I can contribute something for your project w.r.t my culture and society and in the light of international appreciation for white beauty. waiting for your reply. thanks.

    • Tasha Fierce

      Yes! I am looking for women outside the U.S., definitely. Please submit!

  • Tiara the Merch Girl

    Ooo, I have plenty to say on this, as a queer South [East] Asian migrant burlesque performer in Australia (and Perpetual Foreigner). talk about intersectionality!

    • Tasha Fierce

      Awesome! I can't wait to read your contribution!

  • sves

    Hi, I was wondering if you are accepting visual essays (i guess you could call it that) or um, narrative drawings? I'm not really too sure how to describe this. But I would love to contribute to this anthology but I am more comfortable in the medium of drawing than writing. Although I understand if this is written essays because printing might be a little bit more difficult with written and visual files.

    Wonderful idea, I will be sending this to my friends.

    • Tasha Fierce

      I personally would love to have illustrations, but I don't know what the publisher will think. You could submit it and I'll fight to have it in there, but just know they might not want illustrations? I'm not sure. It might depend on if I can get a few of them together. But I'm just kind of talking out of my ass because I really don't know how that works. I say do it!

  • Kisha Hughes

    Hi! I was wondering if you would also consider poetry submissions. If so, are multiple submissions acceptable? Are there any other submission guidelines? Thank you!

    • Tasha Fierce

      I love poetry and I think poetry would work in nicely, but again I have to warn that I don't know what the publisher will think. So go ahead and send it in and I'll incorporate it into the manuscript. Hopefully they won't freak out because I know some people are like "NO POETRY" which I think is bullshit, but whatever. And you can go ahead and send multiple submissions, but be warned that not all of them might make it in there in the end. I'm really glad you're contributing, though! Poetry can be so powerful.

  • Non White Woman

    Hi Mizz Fierce,

    This sounds like a fascinating project. I would love to submit. I want to make sure that Native American women are included before I submit anything; my contribution will intersect my struggle with anorexia with my family life as a Native American. Let me know if you are interested!

    Thanks, and good luck!

    • Tasha Fierce

      Of course Native American women are included!! It's about ALL women of color. Definitely submit, please!

  • Judy

    Hey Tasha, I hope it's not too late, I just submitted a piece. I hope I'll have the honor to be included in such a powerful and groundbreaking project! xxx

  • JMS

    Yay! Sorry it took me so long to get to it—I had a fairly Internetless week, so missed that you had added the donation capability. Best of luck.

  • Tasha Fierce

    Thank you so much! This really helps!