We must shift from a politic of desirability and beauty to a politic of ugly and magnificence. That moves us closer to bodies and movements that disrupt, dismantle, disturb. Bodies and movements ready to throw down and create a different way for all of us, not just some of us.
The magnificence of a body that shakes, spills out, takes up space, needs help, moseys, slinks, limps, drools, rocks, curls over on itself. The magnificence of a body that doesn’t get to choose when to go to the bathroom, let alone which bathroom to use. A body that doesn’t get to choose what to wear in the morning, what hairstyle to sport, how they’re going to move or stand, or what time they’re going to bed. The magnificence of bodies that have been coded, not just undesirable and ugly, but un-human. The magnificence of bodies that are understanding gender in far more complex ways than I could explain in an hour. Moving beyond a politic of desirability to loving the ugly. Respecting Ugly for how it has shaped us and been exiled. Seeing its power and magic, seeing the reasons it has been feared. Seeing it for what it is: some of our greatest strength.
- Mia Mingus Femmes of Color Symposium: Keynote Speech
I’m not even halfway done with this and I already know this is one of those texts I’m going to go back to over and over and over. I’m particularly taken by the use of the word “magnificence” (explicitly instead of “beauty”) in this passage and it’s really hitting me in my heart. Avry (a-bayani’s) post has also got me in the gut in a seriously wonderful way and I really suggest reading that as well.
“the magnificence of a body that needs help”. I cannot get that out of my head.
FUCK. YES. THANK YOU. I NEEDED TO READ THIS SO MUCH RIGHT NOW.
Hearing Mia Mingus give this speech in person was one of those live changing moments. A room full of a bunch of different types of femmes of color listening to this speech. The energy in the room was amazing. I cried like 2 sentences in and didn’t stop. This speech was part of the reason I consciously started embracing my ugly over a year ago. I constantly go back to it and draw strength from it.
“bodies and movements that disrupt, dismantle, disturb”