#WomenCrushWednesday~ Ryan

Women crush everyday of the week! To honor and share stories of women who are crushing it either on the body front or the mama front, I am featuring short interviews of women who are crushing it, hence the title #WomenCrushWednesday. So without further ado, let me introduce you to the multifaceted, multi-talented amazingly awesome, Ryan!

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How has your view of your body evolved over the years?

I became very aware of the power (both physically & socially) of my feminine features encased in a muscular frame when I started running track in high school, and ever since I have worked to maintain some semblance of the balance of strength and grace inherent in being a girl athlete.  I have more creaks and pains than ever, but am constantly impressed by how strength shifts over time.  I used to be able to jump from tall heights without so much as a wince.  Now I only jump when I see spiders.  But in my youth I could never fathom that this body could withstand giving birth, and now I’m fearlessly considering having a second child.  Strength shifts indeed.

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How do you think women should feel about their bodies?

I think how a woman feels about her body is entirely subjective.  Me imposing my ideas of how a woman should feel about HER body, is no better than a man telling me what I should do with mine.  There are enough presumptive ideas and objective opinions about women’s bodies.  It’s yours…feel about it as you wish.
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Why do you do what you do?

I call myself the 4-A: Artist, Athlete, Actress, Activist.  I have every appendage in whatever thing I am interested in.  Overall, I am fiercely about liberating black folks, and I use whatever talents and resources God has given me to do such.  Check out my polymathy at www.msryannicole.com 
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Mother’s Day Reflections- Why I am so Committed to the Post Baby Body Movement

 

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Dress by Jeaja

I consider myself an activist. I have dedicated my life to working towards a more liberatory society. I’m by no means an expert of all of the global issues that are oppressing too many people and animals on our earth but I am aware of how racism, classism, sexism and many other oppressive structures have impacted my life.

With all the pain and oppression going on in the world, I often wonder if I should be dedicating my time to a more “worthy” cause than mypostbabybody. I think about it often actually. My dedication to mypostbabybody however was affirmed the other evening while I was discussing Malcom X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet” among social justice oriented educators. The conversation brought us to the necessity of self love and care in any social movement. While I didn’t say much, I agreed wholeheartedly. That is why I do what I do. Not because I enjoy sharing my scantily-clad-postbabybody to the world but because I love to promote self-love. After all, who is more worthy of self-love than mothers?

Me and the mothers who participate in the mypostbabybody project are performing a revolutionary act every time we step in front of the photographer’s lense, and every time we write our postbabybody story. We are providing narratives and images of mothers that counter media’s portrayals of snapbacks and rapid slim downs. We are providing a glimpse into the matrix of motherhood that includes stretch marks, belly flab, extra skin,IMG_8596 cesarean scars, fat and bodies not as manicured as before. Some mama’s bodies aren’t changed much by motherhood but they still have a story and we share those too. We are fighting capitalistic ideals that women have to pay to be happy with our bodies. We are fighting sexist ideals that women have to be everything and maintain an unnatural youthful appearance in order to be desirable. We are fighting racism in that we provide images and stories predominantly of women of color who are often assumed to not have body image issues because our cultures have different standards of beauty.

So while our focus isn’t to end the police violence that occurs in our communities, stronger restrictions on greenhouse gasses, or to fight for equal pay for women, our work is related to these causes- promoting self-love so that women can be happy and confident within these movements- spending less energy worrying about how to get back to their pre-baby appearance and more energy loving their children, teaching them to love themselves by example and doing whatever work they deem relevant and vital to this world.

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I love what we do and am excited to continue introducing you all to mypostbabybody mamas! Over the next few weeks I get the pleasure of introducing you to these amazing mamas on the My Post Baby Body Mommies page. So please check back to discover their stories.

Thank you and Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers here with us and to the mothers who live in our hearts and in everything that we do.  

Photo credit (blue pics)- J and L Photography

Photo Credit (three women pic)- Del Rio Photography

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How to Celebrate Cesar Chavez Day: Boycott Driscoll’s Berries

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Gloria Gracida, spokesperson for the laborers

Happy Cesar Chavez Day! I am honored to have Cesar Chavez as an official holiday of the school district I work for and of course happy to have the day off. Today I would like to honor Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez and the people who are responsible for growing, nurturing and picking our food. Chavez is known for his amazing union activism, most notably being the massive grape boycott that he was instrumental in organizing. What some people aren’t aware of however, is the huge Driscoll’s berry boycott that is going on right now. You know Driscoll’s berries the only ones you can find in mainstream grocery stores. The have a monopoly on the whole berry game to the point where even if you pick up some berries that don’t have their bright yellow label, if you read really closely, you might find that they are still actually Driscoll’s berries. Here is why the workers are calling for the boycott:berry-boycott-english

Pretty bad and as in most oppressive labor situations women and children are highly impacted.  Here is a story of one woman featured on PopularResistance.org:

Cecilia Sanchez, 25, has two children and is pregnant with her third. When asked how far along she is, she simply tilts her head and shrugs. She doesn’t know because she hasn’t been able to see a doctor yet. She lacks the money for the bus to get to the clinic.

Sanchez’s husband works as a farmworker each day, sometimes spending more than 12 hours in the field. This month he is picking strawberries. He earns 700 pesos – about $35 – each week. Women, children and all human beings deserve more!

So today and for however long it takes until an agreement is reached, let’s stand with theboycott  women who sacrifice their bodies so that we can nourish ours and boycott Driscoll’s berries.  

For more information about the Driscoll’s boycott click here.