Where the Revolution Continues: Inside the Second Annual Body Love Conference

A speaker at the 2014 Body Love Conference. Photo: Body Love Conference

The Body Love Conference debuted last year, riding on Tucsonan Jes Baker’s breakthrough success in body-positive blogging. Baker’s dating woes — and how they affected the way she saw herself in the mirror — sent her on a personal journey of body acceptance. Before long, the personal became political as she launched a blog called The Militant Baker, a place where could share with others what she had learned on her own journey. The Militant Baker soon reached a readership of about 20,000 — and then nearly a million as some of her content went viral.


We are maligned for wanting control over our bodies.


But Baker, along with a team of like-minded advocates and volunteers, knew that the movement needed something else as well: a safe but more public space for seeing, feeling, and asserting body love, where empowering words could translate into empowering actions. The Body Love Conference was their brainchild, and their months of preparation to make it happen paid off on April 5, 2014, with an event that drew more than 400 people.

The momentum continued this year with the second annual Body Love Conference, held at the Pima Community College West Campus on June 6. The message was the same, but a lot of things were different this year. Baker passed the torch to the other BLC volunteers so that she could turn her attention to her first book, slated for release on October 27. Meanwhile, the BLC team decided on a smaller, regional conference, so that they, too, could focus on something further out: a national “headliner” conference in 2016. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

Emily Letts

Emily Letts

  • Arizona (which has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the United States) doesn’t require its students to take sex ed, and thus over 75 percent of students in Tucson aren’t taking it. This is not good! (AZ Daily Star)
  • Arizona religious zealot and crackpot Pastor Steven Anderson says birth control has turned women into “whores” and stated, “Not only does birth control do damage to women, it hurts their body if they’re using the pills. And it also affects their character, causing them to be an idle, tattler, gossip, turning aside after Satan.” Whoa, man! Obviously this concerns me, so I perused the little info packet that’s included with my birth control pills and these do not seem to appear in the side effects. Hmm. Someone must not be telling the truth. WONDER WHO? (Raw Story)
  • As you may have heard, Emily Letts set off a firestorm when she allowed her abortion procedure to be videotaped. As expected, the portion of the population that believes women should be forced to give birth under any and every circumstance is infuriated that she doesn’t seem completely ashamed by her choice and chose to share it rather than hide it. (NBC News)
  • How much did the Affordable Care Act save women on the cost of birth control in 2013? $483 million! Yay, thanks President Obama! #HighFive (Think Progress)
  • Between 2008 and 2011, the national abortion rate declined by 13 percent. (San Diego Free Press)
  • NARAL is kicking ass and taking names in the fight against “crisis pregnancy centers” lying to women via Yahoo and Google ads. (The Hill)
  • Senate Republicans are going after more abortion legislation. Act surprised, y’all. (Politico)
  • Astute, profoundly reasonable thinker, Sarah Palin, opines that having a grandkid could change Hillary Clinton’s views on abortion. Yeah … I guess we’ll just ignore the fact that Hillary GAVE BIRTH TO HER OWN BABY 34 years ago and is still pro-choice. (CBS News)
  • As I’ve mentioned before, having babies can sometimes make women even more strident in their pro-choice views. Here’s one woman’s story: (RH Reality Check)