By Kimberly J. Lau
In her evocative ethnographic examine, physique Language, Kimberly Lau strains the a number of ways that the luck of an cutting edge health software illuminates what identification skill to its Black woman customers and the way their staff interplay presents a brand new point of view on feminist theories of identification politics--especially in regards to the value of identification to political activism and social switch. Sisters match, Inc., health experts (SIS), a Philadelphia corporation, promotes stability in actual, psychological, and non secular well-being. Its software is going past routines, because it educates and motivates girls to make wellbeing and fitness and health a concern. Discussing the hindrances at domestic and the significance of the group's cohesion to their skill to stick considering their objectives, the ladies converse to the ways that their dedication to reshaping their our bodies is a dedication to another destiny. physique Language indicates how the group's explorations of black women's id open new chances for identity-based claims to attractiveness, justice, and social switch.
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Extra info for Body Language: Sisters in Shape, Black Women's Fitness, and Feminist Identity Politics
Even more, for the Sisters in Shape women, real community and imagined community closely overlap in a way that extends the power and appeal of each. Together with the ways in which Sisters in Shape functions as a “real” community, the basic Sisters in Shape principles provide a framework within which women participate in various individual ways and on many different levels. Such principles relate to eating and nutrition, exercise and wellness, and spirituality and friendship. Perhaps most important, the consistency and simplicity of the Sisters in Shape Â�principles—not to mention the degree to which most women seem to internalize them—and the strength of Sisters in Shape’s collective identity also create a powerful imagined community for the group’s members.
Many of the Sisters in Shape members spent all of Saturday in the gym, going from one class to another with only short breaks to eat and to chat with friends and fellow members. Of course, not all members participated in all classes, and attendance varied from week to week, but usually between fifteen and twenty-five Sisters in Shape members were present throughout the day. Thus, by the end of any given Saturday, the women of Sisters in Shape had successfully reaffirmed and reestablished their community in the midst of a downtown Philadelphia gym.
As Sonia Kruks has argued, such embodied experiences and ways of knowing can inspire a feminist identity politics that accounts for women’s differences while also allowing for the possibility of broader coalitional politics based on affective and sensory intersubjectivities, what she calls the “doubling of embodied awareness” (2001: 166). Chapter 5 situates Sisters in Shape within these theoretical contexts in order to draw out the ways in which their mediations of discourse and embodiment prove fundamental to a rearticulation of feminist identity politics.
Body Language: Sisters in Shape, Black Women's Fitness, and Feminist Identity Politics by Kimberly J. Lau