April 10th, 2006

nurturing mitkatze

Amy Lowell, poet and fat activist

This link was originally posted by plasticsturgeon in fatshionista:

http://www.english.uiuc.edu/Maps/poets/g_l/amylowell/bradshaw.htm
"Readying Amy Lowell's Body(s)" -- An Essay by Melissa Bradshaw

A quote:
After a disastrous reducing experience in her early twenties, which involved sailing down the Nile subsisting on a diet of asparagus and tomatoes, Lowell resolutely avoided losing weight ever again, refusing to modify her eating habits, take diet pills (which commonly contained strychnine and arsenic), or undergo any experimental cures. When one doctor suggested operating on her thyroid to cure her "imbalance" Lowell refused because she feared it would interfere with her thinking process (Gregory 39). Such resistance to changing her body is anomalous in turn-of-the-century American culture, which Hillel Schwartz describes as saturated with marketing campaigns for slimming programs and miracle cures.
Gee, it's hard to tell which century-turning he's talking about, isn't it?

Bradshaw goes on to discuss how Lowell dressed during the daytime (in severe suits) and for evening events (very flamboyantly) and to claim
a camp reading of Lowell’s evening-wear transforms what many have described as a "failure" into a triumph. What might appear as a reinforcement of the dominant order becomes instead a daring transgression. Here is a counternarrative to those which describe Lowell’s evening wear as misguided and unfortunate, one which grants Lowell agency and purpose in her clothing choices. This is Amy Lowell coming out as a fat woman. This is Amy Lowell acknowledging a value system that ridicules and excludes her because she is fat, and inserting herself into it loudly and dramatically.
I'm kind of embarrassed that I don't know much about her and I choose to learn more because of reading something about her body and style of dress rather than via reading her poetry. Isn't that just typical? But I'm glad I've discovered her now. Here's one of her more well known poems: Collapse )