Unruly Bodies: Roxane Gay’s Free Magazine You Should Be Reading On Your Commute

Every Tuesday Gay will publish a new batch of essays from different writers about their ever-mutating relationships with their bodies

Unruly Bodies: Roxane Gay’s Free Magazine You Should Be Reading On Your Commute

by Lucy Morris |
Updated on

Likely you’ve come across Dr Roxane Gay before. She’s the acclaimed author of Bad Feminist and Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, a newly-appointed Guggenheim fellow, writer of Marvel Comic’s Black Panther spin-off series World of Wakanda, Instagram quote generator and Twitter legend. Adding another string to her already laden bow, she’s now editor-in-chief of a pop-up magazine hosted by Medium called Unruly Bodies.

Every Tuesday for a month, Gay will publish a new batch of essays by different writers about their ever-mutating understanding and relationship with their body, both physically and psychologically. Gay explains in her editor’s letter, ‘When Medium approached me to curate a pop-up magazine, I knew exactly what I wanted to do — to create a space for writers I respect and admire to contribute to the ongoing conversation about unruly bodies and what it means to be human. I asked twenty-five talented writers to respond to the same prompt: what does it mean to live in an unruly body? Each writer interpreted this prompt in a unique way and offered up a small wonder.

We’re raised (whether our parents intend it or not) understanding that there are perfect truths about the body, scientifically and culturally. That there are ideals we should aim for. This anthology blows this concept up. With the power of a nuclear warhead, it pulls apart these misconceptions and offers an eye-opening introduction into the inherent issues that make coming to terms with our humanity and grappling with our own physicality a struggle.

For the beauty-junkie Chelsea G Summers exploration of the ‘Skincare Machine’ is a must-read. Summers investigates ‘pretty privileged’ and the grip of the beauty industry on women, she writes: ‘Despite more inclusive role models, despite increasing financial power, despite better careers, and despite the freedom to reject matrimony, women remain pretty freaking scared about ageing in general and looking older in specific.

Unruly Bodies: Roxane Gay’s Free Magazine You Should Be Reading On Your Commute
©Medium/Roxane Gay

I got my period for the first time, without warning, when I was in the fifth grade’, opens Samantha Irby’s article titled Hysterical. With a captivating narrative, Irby recounts the horrors of her ‘corporeal surprise’ otherwise known as her period. Though her story veers on the extreme, it’s highly relatable and artistically told.

Likewise, Tasty Nudes by Terese Maillot uncannily captures the maelstrom of pride and fear that comes with sending a nude photograph. With the hopeful revelation, ‘I know if I should ever find myself hooking up a tripod, considering what I look like to myself and not what I look like to a man, it will be an art truly my own’, it becomes a battle cry for everyone, advocating that their unruly body is their own and theirs alone.

The pitch of the writers Gay has commissioned and the earnestness of their insights grapples with complex frontiers. The wounds of life come clear and consciously into focus with the help of Gay and her cohort.

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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