Amongst many other things, Roxane Gay is a great example of someone who speaks her truth when it comes to living in a fat body, and the experiences that she's had as a result. Her 2017 release, Hunger, created an opportunity for her latest project, Unruly Bodies, alongside Medium.
Unruly Bodies is a pop-up online magazine accessible via Medium's site, where a selection of writers talk about their experience in their bodies. Hunger discussed Gay's discomfort surrounding her weight gain, which stemmed from her experience of sexual assault at the age of 12. The same concept left her to beg the question, 'What does it mean to live in an unruly body?' The idea of a body being unruly came after Gay read Unruly Appetites, a collection by Hanne Blanks, which essentially curated the project's conception. From there, she reached out to 24 writers, asking the question and leaving them no other form of brief or guidelines for the assignment. Fast forward to now, where several pieces of the project are released every Tuesday, Unruly Bodies is now here for us to see for ourselves.
When approached by Medium, the project came to her easily, according to her intro of the project. '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.'
The collection of articles in response to Gay's question goes beyond fatness. In fact, each writer's perception of the question surprised her. Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, she said: 'They wrote about gender, size, gun violence, wrestling, sex, ability. The range of issues from that one prompt, with the way that writers responded, was wonderful, and affirmed that I made very good choices in the writers that I approached.'
Pieces already available to read in the Unruly Bodies series include Keah Brown's essay on being disabled, black, and a woman; Bear Bergman's story of his gender struggle in his adolescence; Kiese Laymon's experience as a black man and the relationship between his body and gun violence, amongst others.
Sadly, Unruly Bodies is only here for the month of April, so be sure to check it out whilst it lasts!