As writers/bloggers who are trying to get their work published, we often see many of the same topics. Trending news, of course, cooking, life hacks, arts and entertainment, sports, etc. Those who want to write in the realm of women and gender studies may circulate around feminism, equality, diversity, LGBTQ+ studies, the lists go on. One key subject that these types of blogs often leave out, or fail to realize their content is actually based around, is Bodylore. Bodylore is anintersectional and interdisciplinary approach to studying the literal embodiment of self. Although the body may not initially seem like it has to do with much, bodylore impacts our everyday lives and is a topic that is open to different cultural interpretations.
The term bodylore was coined in 1989 by Katharine Young. In The Journal of American Folklore, she explains that bodylorists “are not in quest of bodies, a body, or the body, but of our holds on the notion of bodiliness, of what we invest in the body and what we get out of it” (Young). With such a wide range of different blogs and online magazines/websites, there are an array of different topics and styles to blog about. Not only should bodylore be more widely discussed and blogged, journalists of any sort of lifestyle or activist blog should also familiarize themselves with the concept. By bringing the body to the center of attention, writers can take a different angle and approach, through a bodylore lens; an angle that is not often used. When putting the body as the center of focus, we are able to analyze contemporary and past understandings of a multitude of topics by exploring the part(s) the body plays in each subject.
Dr. Amy Milligan from Old Dominion University has created a blog with her students that revolves specifically around Bodylore and everything that bodylore may pertain to. “When viewed as its own “cultural scene” or “text,” the body exists in the intersections of sex, gender, sexuality, and many other identities” (Milligan). Any blogging site would benefit greatly by incorporating similar blog entries that are inclusive and diverse. As you can see with the ODU Bodylore blog, there are multiple topics that are discussed that all circle back to bodylore. Fashion, cosmetology, tattoos, piercings, hair, body image, race, gender, sex; all of these pertain to bodylore, and the list does not end there. Bodylore writers and bloggers could even take different approaches; bodylore quizzes, games, polls, or even video could take place.
Whether or not we personally consider bodylore important, it impacts our everyday lives. By the way we see our bodies, how our bodies interact with the world and/or other bodies, by the clothes we put on and how we style our hair, it all circles back to bodylore. It even plays a role in how we communicate, social meanings and understandings, identity, and interactions. As writers in, what we would like to call, a progressive society, we should start to broaden the conversation about bodylore. Especially when focusing on body image and how social media can so strongly impact one’s image, it is imperative to write in a way that makes others feel welcomed and accepted in their own skin. Contemporary bloggers may already even be practicing blogging bodylore, without even realizing it. Fashion and self-image are directly influenced by bodylore, along with cosmetology and makeup application. The body can be used as canvas for the user to portray their ideal self.
Rather than commanding all writers and bloggers to start talking about bodylore, familiarizing oneself with the concept, and finding out how vastly different topics all relate back to bodylore is what I am proposing. Furthermore, creating works that specifically bring the body to the center of attention will broaden the discussion of bodylore as a whole, and create new outlooks for said topic. It is important as writers to start explaining the methodology and importance of bodylore so readers can also begin to familiarize themselves with the topics. I have linked a few additional resources if you are interested in learning more about bodylore.
Want to learn more? Check out:
Katharine Young, Bodylore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG8OJtAwvgo&t=82s
ODU Bodylore Blog https://sites.wp.odu.edu/bodylore/
Aiyana Roll is a current sophomore at Old Dominion University who is double majoring in English with a focus in Journalism and Women’s Studies. Along with writing and studying gender, race, and body studies, she is also passionate about cosmetology and fashion. She expresses her love for makeup through working as a makeup artist at Sephora, and is able to show her love for fashion and thrifting by working at Starlight Exchange, a resale boutique. She hopes to one day combine all of her passions by writing for a blog or magazine where she is able to discuss beauty, fashion, the body, feminism, equality, intersectionality… the list goes on. She also loves coffee, her cat Mouse, food, music, and tattoos.
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/35/af/48/35af48e058051e760e2d020629506d08.jpgimage obtained via google search
Young, Katharine. “Whose Body? An Introduction to Bodylore.” The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 107, no. 423, 1994, pp. 3–8.JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/541069.