“The Shape Of Us” Explores Body Diversity

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Exhibition at The Kinsey Institute gallery includes body modifications, fetishes, and the human body in its variety of sizes and shapes

corset-and-shoes

Photo: Jennifer Bass

Selections from The Shape of Us

For a review of the new art exhibit at The Kinsey Institute Gallery, I asked Sonya Satinsky, Project Coordinator at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, and doctoral student in the Department of Applied Health Science, to give her perspective.  Sonya’s research touches on the relationship between body shape/size and sexual health.

“Ok, so I should start off by saying that I’m a big fan of body diversity. By that, I mean celebrating how we all come in such amazingly different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. But you know what? That bodily diversity is not always evident in art exhibits, and frequently even less so in exhibitions of erotica.  It’s very common to see traditionally attractive male and female bodies in erotic works.  However, most of us probably don’t have “ideal bodies,” nor do we all find the exact same body types attractive!”

“That’s why I was soooo excited (*squeee!*) when I heard about The Kinsey Institute’s new show, “The Shape of Us.” The Institute’s art exhibits are always amazing, but I was counting down the days until this one opened. And I was not disappointed.”

“You know what I saw all around the gallery? Not just beautiful photos, drawings, colorblock prints, and corsetry . . . but images of people who looked liked me. And images that looked like all the other visitors to the gallery that day. Our bodies were being displayed and counted as erotic and sexy. Yes.”

“There was a photo of a gorgeous fat woman, reclining in the nude, titled Heather.  I saw an image of a tattooed woman from Micronesia, circa 1900.  William Dellenback, Alfred Kinsey’s friend and photographer, had done a photo series back in the 1950’s depicting variations in male and female anatomy, serving to remind us again how we are all beautifully different.  And the corsets and fetishwear on display reminded me how much I appreciate stretch fabrics and sensible shoes.”

“For those of you whose feelings about your bodies tend toward the not-so-positive, I’d totally recommend seeing this show if you’re on the IU campus. The body you leave the show with will be the same one with which you entered, but your realization of how beautiful and sexy that body can be may be changed.”

“The Shape of Us” is on display at the Kinsey Institute Galley until December 22, 2009.

Jennifer Bass (M.P.H.)

is Director of Communications at The Kinsey Institute and founder of Kinsey Institute Sexuality Information Service for Students, now Kinsey Confidential.
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Comments

  • bentley1

    Hmmm…sounds promising. Did the exhibit also acknowledge bodies that – at birth – cannot be identified as either male or female? I wonder if the approximately 60 000 intersex Americans would feel as validated by the exhibit as you did. Gently, I refer you to “Sexing the Body” by Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling. Exceptional, essential, RIGOROUS scholarly work by a feminist biologist!

  • kinseyconfidential

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