We live in a time of female empowerment. A moment where people all around the world are aiming at a more diverse outlook, where we celebrate different body types and beauty outside what we’ve been fed for so long we forgot that we could question it.
You’ve got to be grateful for those ballsy new generations that are doing the hard work and making the changes happen. I know that I am. And that learning to appreciate myself has, in some ways, been inspired by a world that’s working on diversifying what we understand as beautiful.
The thing is, we’re still working on it. And while there’s still a lot of work to do and plenty of stuff that can make us feel hopeless, there’s change. There’s stuff that makes you feel a little more hopeful about humanity and our ability to be kind and to fight for each other –with each other. Stuff like Mama Cash’s campaign #MyBodyIsMine, which is meant to “embolden women to demand to lead the life they want and deserve”.
What is Mama Cash?
Like many an awesome thing, Mama Cash began as a conversation around a kitchen table. Together, six feminists and activists decided to create a fund that could support women’s rights movements. Thirty-six years later, Mama Cash continues to be a force in feminist activism supporting women, girls, trans and intersex movements all around the world.
This includes 130 organizations, networks and women’s funds every year since its conception in 1983. Having distributed nearly 60 million euro (over 68 million U.S. dollars) in grants to various groups “who make their demands loud and clear”.
In short, Mama Cash is about empowering women, girls, trans and intersex people who have the courage and the drive in them, but not the money. In addition to financial support, they provide feedback on proposals and put groups in contact with helpful organizations. They also collaborate with other women’s funds.
Nothing Wrong with Our Bodies…
This month, they created the #MyBodyIsMine campaign, which encourages women, trans and intersex people to share their stories, their experiences and their dreams in hopes of showing that despite our many different backgrounds, there is a lot of what we go through as women that is universal. A lot that people everywhere can identify with and be inspired by.
The campaign invites a group of activists and artists to share their stories and hopes that they will start a conversation with women everywhere that can inspire not just strength, but also solidarity. You have to admit that there’s something to being part of a worldwide movement meant to make us feel stronger and more united and understood.
Some of the Faces of The Campaign
The tattoo artist has used her body as a medium of self-expression for a long time, but it’s also been a way for her to reclaim her body after a series of abusive relationships that left her desire to regain control. The heavily tattooed model found that in a world where women are expected to look and act a certain way, going against the norm is a political statement.
A visually impaired activist from India, Nidhi Goyal is the founder of the non-profit organization ‘Rising Flame’, working with women and young people with disabilities, and an activist focusing on disability, gender and sexuality.
The Argentinian sex worker and sex workers’ activist is the General Secretary of a union for sex workers in Argentina called AMMAR.
Alok is a gender non-conforming artist and writer who has learned not to edit parts of their personality to be more palatable for others. It’s not their body that is wrong, it’s the world and its hostile interactions with those who defy the gender binary.
The Brazilian “graffiti queen” created Rede Nami, an organization that uses street art as a tool for women and young girls to talk about domestic violence.
Other faces in the campaign include Ambrien Moeniralam, Daantje Bonsa and Happy Mwende Kinyili, Director of Programmes at Mama Cash.
Join the Movement
You can donate and help fund important feminist groups worldwide on their website– this will also get you three #MyBodyIsMine temporary tattoos like the ones you’ll see if you browse the campaign’s hashtag. If you just want to share your story, you can use the downloadable filter and use their hashtag to make sure your story is being seen.
These are some of the posts the campaign has inspired:
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Too fat, too thin, too old, too brown, too black, too queer, too bold, too trans, too femme, too masculine, too clothed, a little bit..too exposed. So many judgements and restrictions about something that is not yours, but mine • A wise woman once said: you can not police me, so get off my aureola (literally) • Thank you for this campaign for body awareness @mamacashfund particular for those in the margins, working class and sex workers. Reclaiming our body! 💪🏾🔥💫 • • • #respectourexistenceorexpectresistance #mybodymyrules #timesup #yesallwomen #mybodyismine
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My Body Is Mine This is a tough post to write. The truth is: my body doesn't feel like it's mine. My body doesn't feel like it's mine because chronic pain, unstable joints and other symptoms make it feel unsafe. I've taught myself to stay away from my body as much as possible by withdrawing into my mind. It's easier to distract myself with thoughts and books (and our intellect-driven society is eager to encourage this). Minds can only take so much, though. My body doesn't feel like it's mine in doctor's offices and workplaces either. Every time I have to advocate for myself because "I don't look sick" my agency is taken away from me. When the world sees my mobility aids I'm turned into a public object, a canvas for projection, a target for invasive questions. Learning to accept myself and taking ownership of my body and disability is the hardest thing I've ever done. It's a complicated process that is never finished. This Mama Cash campaign is therefore just as much a reminder to the world as to myself: my body is mine. Image description: my left hand is resting on my cane. The words "My Body Is Mine" run across my tattooed forearm in golden letters. #MyBodyIsMine #MamaCash #Feminism #Activism #Intersectionality #RepresentationMatters #TheFutureIsInclusive #BabeWithAMobilityAid #ChronicallyIll #ButYouDontLookSick #Tattoo #TemporaryTattoo #LeHegeratTattoo #Blackwork #OnlyTheDarkest
“Learning to accept myself and taking ownership of my body and disability is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s a complicated process that is never finished. This Mama Cash campaign is therefore just as much a reminder to the world as to myself: my body is mine”.
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Our bodies, and the way we experience them, are anchored in material features. Our race, gender, sexuality, ability, size, reproductive organs; they all come with social meaning that inform the way we experience our own bodies and others. In many ways the sense we have of our own body reflects the way it’s perceived by others. So when society tells us that our bodies are wrong, or dangerous, or theirs to control…it’s hard not to lose the feeling that it’s our own. This is a reminder to myself, and to you if you need it: My body is mine. Your body is yours. No restrictive legislation, no threat of violence, no oppressive norms can change these facts. I may experience my body through the filter of others, but the more I surround myself with others who know the importance of bodily autonomy, and demand to take up space in a society that pushes them to the margins, the better I feel about the future. Community is the way we can all reflect love onto each other’s bodies and, in turn, back onto our own. Diversify your social media feeds to reflect the beautiful community you want to create! I love you all for being part of my community. Thank you. The #MyBodyisMine campaign is about claiming our bodies. What does it mean to you? I really want to know!! And get your temp tattoo via @mamacashfund (the world’s oldest international feminist fund!)
“This is a reminder to myself, and to you, if you need it: My body is mine. Your body is yours. No restrictive legislation, no threat of violence, no oppressive norms can change these facts.”