What is it that we find so riveting about roller derby girls breastfeeding?
Perhaps it's the contrast. The idea of rollerderby, the fact it's a contact sport and a little bad-ass, combined with the soft, nurturing role of breastfeeding mother. It's also an archetypal image- the Madonna and Child image- but with a twist. It's slightly subversive to combine the image of a full contact sport with the role of motherhood, especially breastfeeding. Even the visual contrast of the hard equipment with the softness of breastfeeding is interesting. It's wonderful, because it questions our notions of what women are, and what it means to be female.
Blister Sister and Scarlet by Kate Wilhelm
I included the above photo in my Sunday Feature on Kate Wilhelm. Wilhelm herself writes: "Derby throws any notions of femininity in your face. Yet many derby girls are mothers, (perhaps the ultimate "feminine" vocation), and the bouts are extremely family friendly. Immediately I wanted to get to know more about the women behind the derby personas. So, I invited myself into their homes, their private domestic spaces, the arena that is historically and culturally seen as women's space. I want the apparent incongruity of a derby girl in a domestic setting to cause the viewer to think about that incongruity and wonder if it is perhaps nothing more than a construct."
I love these images because they broaden our idea of what it means to be a woman. These women are all strong and a little dangerous, but undeniably female and maternal as well. It shows different layers and facets of what it means to be female. It also shows a unique perspective on breastfeeding, and the more breastfeeding images we have out there the less likely it will be taboo.
With November at an end I know that Movember Mustaches will be trimmed as well. I decided to put a call out to my fansite to preserve at least a few of these mustaches for posterity. As you might already know- Movember is an awareness and fundraising program for men's health, especially prostate cancer. The intent is to take some of the stigma away from discussing men's health issues by opening the dialogue using humour and the visual cue of the mustache. On November 1st men can register with campaigns such as Movember Canada with a clean shaven face, and in the process of growing facial hair become essentially walking billboards for prostate health.
I do believe Roller Derby deserves it's own special paragraph on the subject of Movember. If you're involved in Roller Derby you'll notice Movember bouts, Movember scrimmages and other fund raising efforts by the derby community. Below you'll see a photo submitted by the legendary Noah Backtalk- Derby coach, Captain, referee and player extraordinaire. Check out his page on Movember Canada!
"Since its humble beginnings in Melbourne Australia, Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 1.1 Million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate, with formal campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Ireland. In addition, Movember is aware of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas supporting the campaign and men’s health cause across the globe, from Russia to Dubai, Hong Kong to Antarctica, Rio de Janeiro to Mumbai, and everywhere in between.
No matter the country or city, Movember will continue to work to change established habits and attitudes men have about their health, to educate men about the health risks they face, getting them to act on that knowledge thereby increasing the chances of early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment.
In 2010, nearly 119,000 Canadian Mo Bros and Mo Sistas got on board, raising $22.3 million CAD."- Movember Canada
Of those submitted- my favourite by far is the 'stash above, sported Thomas Dannenberg. This is a mustache is a stash and a half.
It's still possible to donate on behalf of prostate health! Please click on this link to DONATE!
A blog on art, roller derby and life.
I'm an artist and mother of two in Courtenay, BC. I've completed a project called the "Madonna and Child Project," and I'm now working on a series of roller derby inspired drawings. In my spare time I play roller derby with the Brick House Betties.