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Bodily autonomy is under attack, especially in the United States—from the end of Roe and its attendant attacks on reproductive freedoms, to punitive laws criminalizing health care for transgender youth, to unrelenting gun violence. This trauma not only ripples through our communities, but it also impacts the ways we relate to one another, stunting the hopes we have for the future and our ability to conceive of—let alone implement—transformational solutions.
At this point in late-stage racialized capitalism, it is clear that institutions will not save us. But rather than succumbing to despair or resorting to individualism, we see another way. We believe community care, collective action, and radical acceptance—like that long modeled by Indigenous communities, Black and Brown communities, and communities of disabled folks and people of size—offer an alternate path to healing on an individual, collective, and even environmental level.
“Bodies,” the theme for our Winter 2023 issue, will explore the ways our bodies, in both the literal and metaphorical sense, can provide avenues for resistance, healing, community cohesion, and societal transformation. Our conception of the body is not limited to the physical body, but rather includes the bodies of which we are also a part: our communities, our body politic (local, national, and global), and our planet. The “Bodies” issue begins with an understanding that we are interdependent, that none of us leads single-issue lives, and that attacks on any one of our personal, political, or planetary bodies are a threat to us all.
But how do we build an embodied community in an era of ever-increasing isolation and polarization? Many of us live less in physical community than ever before, and technological forces, from artificial intelligence to the “metaverse,” continue to beckon us deeper into isolation and alternate realities, where our opportunities for cultivating collectiveness are all but nonexistent. And where do we draw the line between our bodies as avenues for resistance and regeneration, and the cultural tendency to believe we must carry our burdens alone, for fear of overburdening others? In the absence of systemic or institutional support, which communities have already modeled the kind of collective care that might help us all chart a path toward a more just, compassionate, equitable, and sustainable world?
We’re seeking solutions in this issue that include individual practices, like embodiment, that help ground us in our sense of self and our connectedness to our time and place, and solutions that can leverage our bodies—both individual and collective—in service of political and cultural changes. We know our bodies are porous, so some questions we’re considering include:
How do we balance our ability to absorb trauma, suffering, and abuse, with our need for rest, healing, and restoration?
What do Indigenous cultures have to say about the relationship between the individual and collective, communal body?
What can we learn from elders about healing generational trauma, about resilience, about perspective?
Where does individual freedom and autonomy intersect with collective liberation?
We’d love compelling, layered stories on these topics. Who is doing this work in your communities? Send us your leads and pitches for reported stories on initiatives, groups, and movements that are transforming the way we relate to our bodies—beyond ourselves.
All the stories we seek will be examples of excellent journalism and storytelling: stories that are well-researched, with compelling characters and that demonstrate struggle and resolution. Hurry and send your pitches to [email protected] by Aug. 2 to be considered for the Winter 2023 issue. (After that, you can continue to send them to [email protected].)
YES! Editors are those editors featured on YES! Magazine’s masthead. Stories authored by YES! Editors are substantially reported, researched, written, and edited by at least two members of the YES! Editorial team.