Self Care for Skeptics: A Conversation

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Happy holiday Monday!!! Sorry for being MIA as of late! But I have a good excuse, I swear: my first ever dissertation chapter baby is due on Friday!!! And because I like to make life difficult, I’ve planned a couple of blog posts that involve me talking with other lovely feminists about feminist things (stay tuned for an interview with Drunk Feminist Films and my Back to School post). This past week, I got together with some of the ladies behind/in the Self Care Zine for Skeptics. 


This summer, Lauren Fournier released the zine, and here’s what it’s all about: The notions of self-love and self-care circulate in relation to spa days, diet regimens, fitness, quiet time, clay masks, cups of tea, vacation, creative expression, meditation, yoga, eating chocolate, not eating chocolate, gardening, journalling, organizing, spending time outdoors, and other socially sanctioned (and often highly gendered) activities just for me. There is a tendency to use the term “self-care” when referring to those practices deemed healthy and good for us — and thereby positively valued — without questioning what the stakes of these so-called self-care practices are in the context of patriarchal neoliberal capitalist ideology (with its neo-imperializing tendencies).

What does self-care look like, entail, require, or provoke for artists, writers, thinkers, performers, percolators, and makers who identify as feminists? How does a feminist ethic and aesthetic shape our understanding of self-care practices, and the ideological implications of the forms that mainstream self-care practices tend to take?

As someone who LOVES self-care, and who also feels that it’s important to sometimes question the motives behind or issues with our own investments in particular practices or ideologies, I was really excited to read the zine. Sadly, I couldn’t make it to the launch party, so I messaged Lauren and arranged to go and pick up a copy from her place. I came home and was surprised. For whatever reason — maybe it’s the academic in me? — I’d thought that everyone would be explicitly engaging with the questions listed above. Instead, what I found was photographs and artwork, stories, poems, creative non-fiction, and one essay at the end. This is not a bad thing. I mean, this is a zine, so I kind of had to laugh at myself for expecting that inside its pages was going to be a series of explicit answers to the questions around self-care. It’s almost as though I wanted a “how to guide”; someone to tell me if I should or shouldn’t feel bad about participating and thinking uncritically about self-care practices. Luckily, no one did that, because in hindsight, I realize that that would’ve left me feeling not so great.

After reading the zine and deciding that I kind of really wanted to become friends with Lauren, I asked her if she would be interested in chatting about the zine with me, as I had so many questions. I thought it’d be nice to bring some of the contributors into the conversation. So we invited Jenna Lee Forde (who wrote the essay that ends the zine) and Joan Lillian Wilson, who contributed some of the images that you’ll see below. The conversation that we had was enlightening, challenging (in the best possible sense), and thoughtful. I hope you enjoy it. (See the end of the post for info on how to get a copy!).

1.  Self-Care, Art, and Art as Self-Care

Me: My first question is for Lauren. I’m just curious about why you decided to make the zine. What was the impetus behind that? Had you thinking a lot about self-care?

Lauren: I was in Berlin last summer and I find that whenever I travel, things that I’ve been reflecting on come to the surface more clearly. So I had this idea that I wanted to put out a call about questioning self-care practices because I was genuinely interested in how to bridge my own feminist politics and ethics with “self-care” and also how to be critical of capitalism and engage in self-care because it’s super commodified. So that was the major angle that I was coming at it from. I was interested in looking for answers to what self-care looks like from different feminist perspectives. So I brainstormed and the brainstorms turned into bullet points in the call for submissions, which I circulated via Facebook. I was happy to discover that the call then made its way onto Tumblr, and found audiences outside of my own personal networks. I wanted to make the call as inclusive as possible and so I was talking to my friend Anthea Black, who is an artist with work in the zine, and being aware of all possible aspects of marginalization and oppression – not in a tokenistic way, but trying to figure out how this project could include those perspectives that are often excluded. [The zine features the work of 22 feminist, queer, genderqueer, and trans-identifying artists and writers.]

Me: So this comes out of this idea of wanting to think more about this topic. But then you don’t have any of the work in the zine. Did you just decide that there was so much good stuff being submitted that I don’t want to put anything of my own in there. Or was it about wanting to learn from the things that other people were submitting?

Lauren: I have work of my own that could definitely fit the zine, so that’s a good point. In fact, this title “Self Care for Skeptics” was initially used as the title of a performance-for-video piece that I did, which is featured in the zine Theory Boner co-curated by Mary Tremonte and Jenna Lee Forde (who is, of course, part of this conversation and part of the SCFS zine). As far as the zine goes, I wanted to take a role in listening and facilitating rather than dominating the conversation. I think it was an experiment with me taking on a different role, because I’ve never been an editor or curator of a publication and I have so much of my own writing and art practice that consumes me in my life, so maybe it was also about stepping away from that. And also maybe just a logistical point that I’ve heard some people say “you shouldn’t curate your own work.” And I hadn’t really teased through that question yet and wasn’t ready to.

laurenfournier_triggerwarning (1)

“Trigger Warning (DRAFT)” by Lauren Fournier can be found in the Self Care for Skeptics zine

Joan: For myself as a visual artist as well, after I curate something I realize that these are artists whose work would go well with mine if I were to include it something. Which is why it’s funny how Lauren included me in the zine and I curated her work into Flawless. For me it’s about the similar interests that the artists are exploring. Doing a call for submissions is always interesting. With YTB Gallery we did a general call, so any young Toronto artist under the age of 33 could submit and that was the only guideline. So I was curating out of that and we had about 200 submissions. And actually originally the whole board went through them and said yes or no and made a short list. And some of the artists that I curated into the show, everyone else had said no to them. Luckily everyone liked what my curatorial vision was, so they went along with it. But I found it interesting that a group of 6 or 7 other artists didn’t see what I saw. Once I pitched the show to them and they saw all of the artists’ work together and they were like “oh, yes!” But on their own, they didn’t really stand out to them.

Me: So what made you choose to submit to Self Care Zine for Skeptics?

Joan: When I read the call for submissions, I realized that this one body of work that I’d already made fit really well into it but I’d never thought of it in terms of self-care. So originally it was this project that I did that was these images of myself using beauty images very close up. So there’s a green facemask and nail polish smeared all over my feet and like make up dripping. And originally it was just a way to think about how so many kinds of products are marketed at women. Then that made me think of self-care and how it’s only really marketed to women. I realized that I sometimes time try to force that onto the men in my life. It makes me think, if this is something that I prioritize then why can’t you? And thinking about how it’s so much more acceptable for women to have a night in and have a bubble bath. That’s not really something you’d see encouraged upon a guy.


From Joan’s “What it Feels Like For a Girl.” (I’m pretty obsessed with this picture atm)

Lauren: That’s the cool thing about that piece of yours, Joan. Showing the grotesque or violent elements of these spa-like rituals.

Joan: I use myself most of the time in my work and it’s performative and a different way of interacting of objects. So this one is more about feminine objects [in the zine]. There’s the one with the red nail polish [see above] where I’m wearing those toe inserts that separate your toes but actually really hurt your feet and the red nail polish…when you try to remove red nail polish it’s the worst because you get it everywhere. And then these green facemasks that I used for a while that weren’t actually doing anything

* laughter *

Joan: It’s so weird and gets all cracked and gets all scary. So it’s this close up image of my face. All of these things are some time consuming. But are they really benefitting me in any way? Is it just really a waste of time? What is it really?

Lauren: The reason I had this cover image was for one of the specific tattoos, which is a surrealist painting by Roland Topor called “The Masochist” and it’s an image of a woman stitching into her thigh and it’s by my friend Tanya De Souza-Meally whose featured on the cover and who did the tattoo on herself – so that’s kind of awesome. It’s sort of meta, now that I think about it.


Roland Topor’s “The Masochist”

2.   Self-Care & Self-Sufficiency

Me: It’s taken me a long time to accept that self-care is a thing that I have a right to; I’ve always been really great at putting other people’s needs before my own, to the point where I’m totally run down and have no resources left. So thinking about taking time for me, I always felt was selfish, or there wasn’t space for it. It’s only been in the last 4-5 years where I realized that I needed to make space for myself in the world; and that often takes the form of self-care, like cancelling going to a party when I feel like I need a night in. Which is hard for me because I’m someone who’s really firm about keeping plans and is super on time to everything; so it almost felt like a betrayal and this fear of judgement, like I’m letting my friends down. So I’m curious about how you all feel about self-care. Are there certain self-care practices that you engage with and are helpful to you?

Joan: I think as you mentioned, if I’m feeling burnt out, feeling okay about cancelling and recognizing that you just need that time. But I think there was a long period where I was buying the products and doing all the things. So I’ve moved away from that now.

Jenna: I’m super onboard with meditation. So down with it. I did a full day meditation last Sunday…my face felt numb. It was really cool. It’s been really helping my anxiety. Being up north for two and a half months, it turned into an opportunity for me to reflect on self-sufficiency. So I’m thinking about self-care as it relates to self-sufficiency. And what doing things for myself means as it also means caring for myself. So if making a call to my collection agency actually means that I’m caring for myself then I’m probably going to have two glasses of wine after that. But you know, that’s very different from normative or practical self-care. I look at self-care in various ways; in a harm reduction sense. So sometimes having some wine really helps. And other times I just really need to sit with this feeling and see what it means to me. And just breathe through it. So sometimes that means going for a walk or a run. To be honest, there isn’t a lot f stuff that I’m like “no, it didn’t work.” I know that yoga culture didn’t work for me; but I feel like opening myself up to anything right now is a good opportunity.

Lauren: That’s interesting to hear Jenna talk about self-care as self-sufficiency. I guess like I feel like this exploration has been going on for about 6 years for me. So when I turned 19 or 20 it was a time of al lot of upheaval and a lack of grounding in my life and I started taking yoga classes and that seemed like a good fit (and I was still living in Saskatchewan at the time) and I also got into running. At the time I was also developing an eating disorder and it got pretty bad and I just felt very alone and umm…like my exercise rituals were a form a self-harm more than self-care, I guess. Since then, it has been a slow healing process. But when I moved to Vancouver, drinking started to feel like self-care at first, but then it started to feel very destructive. I feel like I’m in a really good place right now in terms of self-care. But I also feel like my entire life is self-care, in a sense, so it’s interesting to hear it be talked about as selfish thing and also hearing about the gendered implications. I’m also really curious to get everyone’s, like, astrological signs [For the record, we never went around the table and did this, but in case you’re curious, Joan and I are Cancers, Lauren is an Aquarius, and Jenna is a Virgo with a Taurus rising]. It doesn’t feel selfish to me; it feels like I’m so attuned to my needs all the time that I’m like “what can I do in this moment so that I can be doing the work that I need to do in the world while also taking care of myself.” For me, self-care has been a question of survival.

Lately, I’m particularly fascinated by the line between self-preservation and self-destruction. Hence my desire to have The Masochist image as the cover image for the zine. What is the relationship between self-care and masochism? It reminds me of the dialectic between eros and thanatos, or the life drive and the death drive, initially theorized by Freud. I’m also thinking of queer theories around the death drive — like Lee Edelman’s No Future — and the lack of futurity as something one might rally around. Self Care for Skeptics is in part asking if there are alternatives to the “we need to be as healthy as possible” model of self-care.


3.   The Question of Failure

Me: In my own work and being in the world, I’m also thinking about failure and almost wanting to get rid of that word. I’m all for reclaiming and repurposing words. But I’m not sure if that’s one…I don’t know why. That just came up for me in this moment. There’s this really awesome from Sara Ahmed in Willful Subject where she talks about how we bump up against each other and those are not moments of failure but moments of learning how to relate:

“Perhaps we could create a queer ethics out of clumsiness, an ethics that registers those who are not attuned as keeping open the possibility of going another way […] Rather than the experience of bumping into each other being a sign of the failure of the relationship, or even the failure of someone in a relationship to be responsive, it can be understood as a form of relationship in which bodies have not simply adjusted to each other. When bumping is understood as a form of relationship, it is no longer experienced as that which must be overcome […] Rather than equality being about smoothing a relation perhaps equality is a bumpy ride” (51).

So when you stumble (or bump), it’s a moment for learning and encountering yourself and your relations to others in a new way. And I find that really compelling. I definitely think Lauren that the narrative that you have around self-care is the healthy one. You think of that silly cliché “you can’t love others until you love yourself” and it’s like, I think that resonates a lot with practices of self-care as I see them now. So if I’m not well in myself, then I’m not really going to be giving to others in a way that’s good for them. Especially if it’s actually someone who wants to be in an ethical relationship with me. If it’s not someone who wants to be in an ethical relationship, then it’s just enabling.


Jenna: Can I stop you there?

Me: Yes, please!

Jenna: I hear you say that and for some reason something comes up in me that’s just like, “No!” There’s not necessarily a need for us to imagine that there’s healthy ways of self-care or healthy ways of being in self-care as it relates to other people. Because my healthy way of self-care won’t relate to any of you always. And that’s one of those moments in feminist conversations, hopefully, we can admit to each other that, “my yoga isn’t your yoga.” So those are those moments where I hear people and they’re like, “that’s so healthy,” I’m like, “I don’t want to talk about what sounds healthy.”

Me: Thank you for that, for jumping in there. Maybe I should qualify my comment by saying that for me a healthier life has been thinking about self-care and making space for it for myself – but that’s not always the case for everyone else.

4.    Self-Care With Others

Lauren: Can I say one more thing? I wanted to jump on…jump off of, not jump on…

 * laughter *

Lauren: …Jenna’s harm reduction point. I feel like another element of my resistance, and hence the “skeptics” part of the title is the class implications of how self-care tends circulate. Another piece of my own story is when I lived in Vancouver and finished my Master’s (in English literature at Simon Fraser University), I couldn’t find work. There’s this problematic thing in Vancouver which some refer to as the “poverty industry” in the downtown east side neighbourhood: a lot of people around our age working in spaces like Insite safe injection site, or different hotels and SROs (Portland Hotel Society, Lookout Emergency Aid Society) and that’s what everyone does to pay their rent. And I worked at a place calling the Living Room, which is a mental health and addictions drop in located on Powell Street just east of Oppenheimer Park. I worked there for 3 years and did harm reduction implementation and frontline social work. This was probably the most challenging and destructive time for me because, well, I think deep empathy for the clients I was working with as well as the cycling of vicarious trauma lead me to a place where I no longer wanted to take care of myself. I was almost willing myself to a place of self-annihilation. My “self-care” practice then is something I see as very unhealthy now, but was what kept me alive at the time: chain-smoking with my big headphones on, listening to John Maus and The Knife. Now I’m in this totally different place, and I pride myself on having quit smoking (for 2 years now) and no longer getting drunk. My nighttime rituals now are more like, cooking myself some really nice pasta and having a glass (or sometimes two) of red wine. But I’m also aware of the problems that come with me viewing myself in Vancouver as “unhealthy and bad” and myself as a PhD student now as “healthy and good.” Maybe self-care is contextual.

Madeleine Black’s “#beautyregime#”. Follow her on Instagram: @moodynightshade

Joan: Bouncing off of the whole workplace self-care topic, I was working at a youth arts-based organization in a neighborhood improvement area in Toronto that has very marginalized young people and self-care becomes a term that when you’re frontline working with youth, self-care becomes a term that sort of floats around in the workplace. And it’s like oh you have to have self-care because you can get so burnt out and you can start taking in everyone else’s experiences. But, you know, I did end up getting burnt out from it. And you ask yourself how realistic is it really? I mean, it’s still a job. But how do you find that balance?

Me: That’s such a great and such a difficult question. Especially when we’re thinking about ourselves in relation to others. Which makes me think about Jenna’s piece. I was definitely really compelled by one of the quotations from Halberstam in Jenna’s piece, which is thinking about an anti-social feminism:

“I’m proposing that feminists refuse choices as offered- freedom in liberal terms or death – in order to think about a shadow archive of resistance, one that does not speak in the language of action or momentum but instead articulates itself in terms of evacuation, refusal, passivity, unbecoming, unbeing. This could be called an antisocial feminism preoccupied with negativity and negation” (The Queer Art of Failure 129).

Which is interesting because your piece is obviously invested in thinking about community and how queer communities can come together and what practices of self-care look like when people are coming together. And so when I read that, I kind of paused…because for me it’s all about the social. The whole Edelman death-drive thing…no future thing…I’m kind of like, well in theory that sounds interesting. But in practice I don’t really know how that would play out. We can’t all be Bartleby the Scrivener and say, “I’d prefer not to” and check out from all of our relations with others. I don’t really want to think about that as a reality. So it was really cool, Jenna, in your piece to be asked to think about self-care outside of the individual. I’m curious to hear more about community and how that factors in.


Jenna: It’s really personal to me actually. Very honestly, this anti-scoial or the idea of self-care as it relates to coming up against something, was actually about a breakup I’d had with a friend. It made me think about the anti-social, the failure, about what self-care looks like when you’re in a relationship and a community; and when you’re being cared for by your friends and what you can hope for…and what you can’t certainly hope for. And I certainly cannot hope that my friend will be devoid of empathy. But I mean that it wasn’t necessarily that she was devoid of empathy but maybe just that she was unable to support my choices and that’s why I’ve been more “No! Let’s be more conscious of using a harm reduction philosophy about how we talk about self-care.” Because I think that there’re ways that we’re all imperfect. And that we all have really sloppy ways of just being and I think that if my friends can visit my “just being” and can be like, “call me,” and just be here. That’s cool. If they can’t…then that’s not the support system that I need. But we all have various needs.

Me: I just thought that you were so gracious in the essay in how you handled that situation. It was actually really like beautiful to me. You were just like, “okay, I’m going to respect that there’s some sort of boundary or something that was being crossed, and that really sucked for me, but also I’m going to acknowledge her as a human still.” And that can be so hard. Which brings up something that I’m constantly struggling with, which is when to put the other before ourselves and when to say, “okay, this feels uncomfortable for me but I’m going to deal with that discomfort because I care about this person,” or you know, “I’m really exhausted right now, and all this shit, but this other person really needs me so I’m going to like do the things that they’ve asked for support.” And in my own experience, it’s so easy for me to just go to that all the time. And so scaling that back and figuring out when I can say to a friend “I’m really burnt out right now, and I’m really struggling, and I can’t really provide you with this support right now,” is really hard for me.

Jenna: It’s funny that you say that though, because the reason my best friend became my best friend was because she showed me boundaries that I felt were so generative to me. She was like “no I can’t do that.” She showed me her limits and quite often. But to the point sometimes where I thought, “well, that’s judgmental.” But I felt it helpful, because I know that when you do give me the time, you’re there for me. And that makes me feel reassured. I think it’s good for all of us to exercise those kinds of boundaries.

Me: I totally agree. It has been a really productive thing for me to do. It was one of the biggest challenges though – learning to assert boundaries. Within the last couple of years it’s been the most positive experience. And likewise, I feel like my friends and my partner are all really good at asserting boundaries and respecting my boundaries.

Jenna: It’s funny, now that you mention your own struggles of saying no or yes to being there for someone. And maybe that’s a struggle that I have or other people have in their own relationships with their partners. Is like, you know, you’re really struggling right now and you’re like “I need you,” and they’re like, “no, I can’t,” it’s really hard because you’re like, “IT’S YOUR JOB!”

* laughter *

Jenna: I know it’s 11:30, but god you gotta be there, you’re my partner. So part of the self-care that I’m learning is letting that shit go. We gotta know that people have a boundary and sometimes those boundaries don’t mean to impact us in negative ways.

Me: And sometimes you’re both just on a bad page. In most of my experiences if I’m really stressing out, my partner is usually in a good mental health space or life space. But then sometimes life just sucks for both of you and you’re grappling to figure out how to support yourself and one another and accept limitations. But I totally hear that. There are times when I think “But you should be here RIGHT NOW! FOR ME! RIGHT NOW!”

* laughter *

Me: “WHAT?!? You don’t have anything else in your life right now, other than me, right now.” It’s ridiculous.

Jenna: But it teaches you a lot about your own reactions. As I learn about my reactions to my girlfriend, I’m just like “you need to check that right now.”

5.   Feminism & Self-Care

Me: So this is a really big question and one that I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about, especially since I’ve gotten to this really great place in the last year or so where I’ve gotten a better sense of what feminism means for me. And I feel great about saying that I’m a feminist now. But I also feel like there’s so much bullshit that goes on in feminism, like the whole good versus bad feminist stuff. And so I’m curious how you guys have gone about shaping your own sense of feminism and what that feminism looks like for you.

Joan: Feminism for me is a lot about listening to the experiences of other feminists and not assuming that my own feminist perspectives are the same as everyone else’s. Reading Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist was really helpful to me in acknowledging that no feminist can be perfect and that’s okay because no person is perfect.


From Joan’s “What it Feels Like For a Girl” series (and you can find this image in the Self Care for Skeptics zine)

Lauren: Feminism has given me a means of articulating my experience. Feminism is my humanism, feminism is my ethics, feminism is my aesthetics. Feminism is one of my frameworks. Feminism is friendship. Feminism is sex-positivity. Feminism is pleasure and desire. Feminism is frustration and resistance.

Jenna: Feminism means I’m gay. Haha ! Not sure that makes sense without context but that would make a cute T-shirt. Feminism came to me when I was coming out at 25 and leaving a five year relationship with a cis man. This was a hard time, but also a generative time that brought me closer to understanding my politics about subjectivity and the importance of feminism as it relates to my own body, histories, and political investments. I particularly find myself most interested in feminism and art in both a historical and contemporary sense. In my academic practices, I find feminist theory about embodiment, trauma, and privilege to be most useful. When I was 25, Luce Irigaray, Adrienne Rich, and Audre Lorde were really inspirational during a time when I was using feminism to situate desire within my body.

One of my favorite aspects about feminism is that it is both powerfully political in its ability to use revision and reclamation for cultural and political motivation. Looking at the herstrories of lesbian culture and feminist politics that enabled conversations about self care in the 70s, I think there are generative and sometimes problematic ties to abortion rights and trans cultures today that can teach us a lot about feminism and self care.

Me: That’s amazing. I’d love to hear more about the intersection between your feminism and your artistic practices or academic worlds; just sort of how it informs what you do in the world, outside of relations with others. Like Jenna, could you talk about Theory Boner?

Jenna: I think that Theory Boner started as a flirty quip that Mary Tremonte and I would use and she and I would be like “oh my god I just read some Jose Munõz! Such a theory boner!”

 * laughter *

Jenna: And then it would be like our phrase. But she also had that phrase with Hazel Myer who’s a really great artist as well. So it was something that we all shared with one another. Like feminism and art and theory and it was this exuberance. So it just became an exclamation point to our bookmark.


Lauren: I always think of Hazel’s piece “No Theory No Cry.”

* laughter *

Jenna: Like sometimes I totally cry when I’m reading Sara Ahmed.


From Hazel Meyer’s “No Theory No Cry” series

Joan: For me, feminism in my own work is typically about my body and exploring what feminism means and how I feel about my body and myself. And then in curating it’s always informing whatever I’m curating, whether it’s explicitly the theme of the show or an underlying theme. The last show that I curated was called “Body Talk,” so it was other feminist artists that were using their own bodies to explore their gender or identity.

Lauren: It’s funny stepping back and trying to articulate these things. Because I really feel like I take it for granted and then I forget that the rest of the world isn’t queer or feminist or yeah… It just feels like that’s my reality. So for me it’s like “of course! All my art is about that.” But similar to Joan, I tend to use my own body in my work. I could point to a piece that was in the show that Joan curated that I did when I was in Berlin last summer. “Movement for Photoautomat, Berlin.” The idea of flashing a photo booth popped into my head. I did it once, and then again, and it became this conceptual durational piece that was fun but also scary.

Photoauto 9

Lauren Fournier’s “FLASH 10” from the series “Movement for Photoautomat, Berlin.”

The feeling of being nude in public and then the process of waiting for the photoautomat strip to be released by the machine once my ‘performance’ was done: there are all of these people standing around drinking beer and eating falafel and my boobs are going to plop down and they’ll see ‘me’ and I was really freaked out by it. I would describe myself as a private exhibitionist. Even though I didn’t necessarily set out to “make art” when I was flashing these photo booths, I soon realized that this is a piece and that this piece is very much connected to issues I’ve been wrestling with since I was in my early twenties living out west: the ways in which my body was ‘read’ in different public spaces. So that was kind of what the photo automat piece was all about. I’m interested in grounding my artistic and academic practices in my body because it’s accessible and available to me. It is a process bound up in pleasure and fear as much as it is in redemption and processing. I think that I’ve really grown to love my body.

Me: It’s interesting because so much of that resonated with me. The looking back on myself and thinking “oh man, that was so not feminist. How did you let that happen?” Because I feel like for me, really it was in the last year…I was asked to be on a panel about intergenerational feminism at a conference, and didn’t realize that that was something I was talking about enough that someone would ask me to be a part of that. And that was a really great moment, because it opened up this space for me to talk about the failures of feminism and the whole good versus bad feminist thing. Like sometimes I just want to wear lipstick…

Lauren: And take a selfie.

Me: Yeah! I totally love selfies! I’m so into the selfie. While also acknowledging that the selfie has it’s own problems.

Jenna: Selfies for self-care.

* laughter *

Me: Sometimes it is.

Jenna: Those moments of looking at yourself.

I asked Jenna, Lauren, and Joan if they would submit a selfie for self-care, and I would submit one as well. Here they are. Would love to see your selfie for self-care. You can either post it in the comments below or upload it on instagram with #selfie4selfcare (make sure you @floral.manifesto so I can see it!)


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Lauren Fournier is a maker of sound, video, performance, and text that tends toward the conceptual, the feminist, the sex-positive, and the hysterical. She is currently based in Toronto, but has lived and worked in Saskatchewan and Vancouver. She is a PhD student at York University, where she researches the intersections between theoretical fiction & auto-theory, art writing, and time-based media, particularly as they pertain to contemporary feminist aesthetics. In addition to her art practice and academic work, she has worked as a gallery facilitator, zine producer, and community mental health and harm reduction worker.
You can check out her website: 

Jenna Lee Forde is an academic and artist based in Toronto; She loves popcorn and feminist horror films. She’s recently published an art and feminist theory zine called Theory Boner with artist Mary Tremonte, the two have recently curated a feminist theory library at XPACE gallery in Toronto. Currently Jenna is co-curating Theory Boner’s Feminist Manifesto edition coming out in autumn 2015. You can find her work at and on her personal blog:

Joan Lillian Wilson is an artist, curator, communications specialist, feminist and youth advocate. Her creative abilities inform her work in community development, politics and advocacy. She is involved with a wide range of organizations and initiatives across the city of Toronto. Her website can be found at:

To grab a copy of the Self Care Zine for Skeptics you can go to The Likely General (389 Roncesvalles Ave) or you can contact Lauren for a copy. Lauren will happily ship to those inside and outside of Toronto. To ship within Toronto, the zine is $10. To ship outside of Toronto is $13 (e-transfer is preferred). You can contact Lauren at The Self Care for Skeptics Zine features the work of 22 feminist, queer, genderqueer, and trans-identifying artists and writers.

ARTISTS:Alice Dixon
Anchi Lin
Anthea Black and LIDS
Anna Jane Mcintyre
Catherine Chun Hua Dong
Cleo Neville
Clementine Morrigan
Cordelia Huxtable
Dimple B Shah
Dionne Horacsek
Eva Bryant
Evan TylerJenna Lee Forde
Joan Wilson
Lillian Arvel
Lindsay Miles
Madeleine Black
Radical Spirits
Roz MacLean
Shana Haydock
Tanya De Souza-Meally
Zoe Ruth Biggs

Curated by Lauren Fournier

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This post was written by Margeaux

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