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August 7, 2015 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Herself.com (NSFW)

"Herself" was launched by actress Caitlin Stasey ("Reign", "Neighbors") earlier this year, and is intended to be a “safe space for women of varying backgrounds, body types and belief systems to amplify their concerns, wishes, dreams, complaints and woes—a platform dedicated to expanding the scope of visible female experience and of visible female bodies.” According the Stasey: “The courageous, luminescent women you will find there are nude, shot by female photographers. In showing us their bodies on mutually-agreed-upon terms, they have given all of us an immense gift; as they appear there, they are both impossibly vulnerable and utterly indestructible.”

"Stasey, 24, is among nine women participating in the feminist project (NSFW), which she calls 'a gesture to women for women by women; a chance to witness the female form in all its honesty without the burden of the male gaze, without the burden of appealing to anyone.' Nude portraits accompany interviews on topics including sexuality, women's rights and abortion."


Stasey made headlines in mid-July after taking a disagreement with Australia's Good Weekend magazine public on Twitter and other sites. Editors had asked her to pose in a photoshoot in her underwear, which would have accompanied a feature profile in which she voiced concerns about the "constant objectification of women" in media. When she refused to participate in a sexualized shoot, the editor apparently killed the article. More.
posted by zarq (12 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

“My body, my agency & my sexuality are not invitations; they are vessels which I am entitled to use at my discretion. I don’t need an excuse.”

posted by chatongriffes at 7:50 AM on August 7, 2015 [11 favorites]

Wow. I thought she was one of the best things in Reign, but even reading the summary in the post, I like her a lot more. You go, Caitlin!
posted by immlass at 8:11 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Definitely looking forward to checking out the site. I remember reading about the incident with the magazine and feeling infuriated — Lewis's Law in real life.
posted by Lexica at 8:22 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

What a beautiful site.
posted by antiquated at 8:56 AM on August 7, 2015

Wow. I've only read through 4 of the interviews, but the level of self-reflection and self-awareness in them is beautiful. It's got me thinking and having daydreams about all sorts of similar projects ("what if I could tell stories about X like this?"). That kind of positive energy is invaluable, and it speaks, to me, to the amazing skill that Stasey and team have brought to the project.

Maybe even better, I have a feeling that a lot of the women interviewed are going to come back to this in years and say, wow, that was me.
posted by migrantology at 9:20 AM on August 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

i have recently been super hyper focused on my own naked body as it changes with aging and a sudden burst of (not enough) weight loss. this is exactly what i needed this week. thanks for posting it.
posted by nadawi at 10:32 AM on August 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

Immediately finding an interview that treats a trans woman as a woman: awesome.

I was pleasantly surprised by that, too.

In case anyone is curious, that's Kate.
posted by zarq at 10:50 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is wonderful, zarq, thanks. Now I have something to read on the ride home!
posted by numaner at 1:20 PM on August 7, 2015

this post reminds me of an essay by actress heather matarazzo :
When I was 19 or so, I was standing in a Starbucks in West Hollywood with a director, talking about the upcoming film we were about to shoot. It had been a long road, but we had finally made it. Waiting for our coffee, I could see that he seemed a bit uneasy. I asked him if everything was OK. He said yes. I didn’t believe him, so I asked him again. He looked at me and said, “Heather, I”m sorry, we have to give your role to another actor. The producers don’t want you.”

I didn’t understand. I had been attached to this project for two years, and now two weeks before filming, I’m being let go. I asked him why. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “They say you’re not fuckable.”

Well, fuck me. Even as I write this, I can still feel the pain, shame, and humiliation that came over me in that moment. This is a part that I had been so excited to play. She was bold, witty, sarcastic, sexy, but more importantly, she had a deeper vulnerability underneath. She had layers. She was complex.
may we all be able to focus on our own bold, witty, sarcastic, sexy, complicated sides and ignore the constant messaging about our fuckability.
posted by nadawi at 1:20 PM on August 7, 2015 [11 favorites]

impossibly vulnerable and utterly indestructible

scarring this across my heart
posted by corvine at 2:02 PM on August 7, 2015 [5 favorites]

I liked these a lot, especially the interviews. The photos were nice but it was the words that made an impact with me.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:28 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

The oldest woman is, unless I'm mistaken, 55. So, needs older women. Otherwise this is perfection.
posted by gingerest at 8:57 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

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