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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Alexandra Atienzo, Self Portrait


        My self portrait was centered around the idea of words, the weight they have, and the impact they can have on our bodies. This portrait involved a bit of vulnerability on my part, as I stripped myself down to biker shorts and a sports bra to pose in front of white curtains. I was hoping to provoke the same medical feeling pre and post-op pictures patients take as part of the process of plastic surgery. Within the surgical marks are words in Spanish often said in "kindness" to family, loved ones, or friends. These words were constantly sent my way growing up, no matter what my body looked like, it was just part of our crude humor. And though I knew my family and friends meant no harm with their words, I couldn't help but let them ring in my head as I delved into a downward spiral of anorexia and body dysmorphia.
      With this piece I want to express just how much weight our words carry on our loved ones, even if our intentions are good. I purposefully chose words in Spanish because eating disorders and body shaming is not something often talked about in Latinx culture. For many women and femmes, hearing words like "Gorda" "Pendeja" "Longas" are just part of our socialization and growing up. Often these words serve as subtle reminders of the consequences of being fat or not fitting into a certain standard of beauty. These words have long lasting effects on everyone, but especially for those suffering in silence with eating disorders.

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