Archives for category: 2020

After we posted our report last week about the first of our two recent figure-drawing sessions, a follower of our blog sent us this image of an outdoor mural in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was painted by a man (on the side of a strip club, no less!) and it’s a bit on the Jessica Rabbit end of the spectrum; but all the same, it’s kind of a nice piece of art. And we certainly approve of the message that women can take brush (or pencil, or charcoal) in hand and make art out of the naked female body.

We just prefer to do it ourselves.

Why did we split our figure drawing event into two sessions? Not enough room for 40+ people at one session, for one thing. And not everyone could make it on the same day. Plus, it’s fun to see each other again so soon!

We had a few return attendees from the first session–

–but mostly it was new faces. Some new to our events, some new to figure drawing, some new to both.

We changed things up a bit this time. The treats from Baked By Melissa were macarons, for instance.

We had a different photographer on duty.

And at least one person experimented with applying pencil to paper in an entirely different fashion.

But other things stayed the same. We took turns posing for each other.

There was one male in the mix.

And lots of fun was had.

Between poses, we threw in some bits of massage, to help keep muscles from locking up.

But the heart of the matter was as it always is: sitting and drawing.

Want to join us the next time we sit down to draw each other? Pretty soon it’s going to be warm out — so maybe the next time we’ll be sitting on the rocks in Central Park instead of on stools indoors. But either way we’ll be in a state of nature — and celebrating how nature shaped us.

You can do it. Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and the rest will come naturally.

In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the va-va-voomish Jessica Rabbit, chesty cartoon vixen, famously says, “I’m not bad — I’m just drawn that way.” It may seem an unlikely rallying cry for a feminist group like ours. And yet. What woman has not felt, at one time or another, that the body she finds herself in through no act of her own does more to determine how people see, evaluate and treat her than anything she might do or say or think or believe or accomplish?

One of our goals since founding this group 8+ years ago has been to take back control over how our bodies are presented and how they’re seen. One of the ways we do this is by taking our shirts off when we feel like it, and insisting that there doesn’t have to be anything sexual about it — a bare chest is just a bare chest, whether it’s a woman’s or a man’s. Another way we do it from time to time is by taking pencil in hand and producing our own images of ourselves and each other. Why should men be the ones to decide how women’s bodies get depicted? Like Ms. Rabbit says, we’re not bad — why should we even have to be drawn that way?

All of which is by way of explaining how we found ourselves, a few weeks back, taking over a theater-district rehearsal studio, stocking it with pencils, erasers, sketchpads and Baked By Melissa mini-cupcakes (yeah, it’s a thing, all right? Georgia O’Keeffe would totally have done it if they’d existed back then) and spending several hours on each of two evenings transforming our bodies into art.

Here you see photos from the first for those two evenings. We had a really nice turnout — about two dozen people — and though there was some nervousness to start, by the end of the session pretty much everyone had taken a turn drawing and getting drawn.

It’s an interesting feeling, having a dozen people staring closely, minutely at every inch of your body in order to recreate it on the page. And just as interesting to stare closely, minutely at someone else’s body and direct your hand to reproduce every line, every curve.

The female body is a wonder. Every one different, every one unique. The male body, too — we had two XY-chromosomed pals along for the ride and got to draw some male anatomy as well. And not for one instant was any of it sexual. Not having clothing on is just that — not having clothing on. Our bodies are just these extended forked things, with joints and skin and stuff. Pass the cupcakes!

We had some trained artists, some novices. Also some experienced figure models and some newcomers. The more ambitious poses were mostly offered by the newcomers. (It’s experience that teaches you not to offer a pose holding an apple core in your mouth for ten minutes.)

Fun was had.

Then, before long — before long enough — it was over. We packed our supplies away, said our reluctant farewells, and headed out into the world again, where the billboards and taxi-top ads of Times Square offered Photoshopped images of cinched waists and made-up faces and cantilevered cleavage. We were back in the land of Jessica Rabbit once more.

But not for long! A second night of figure drawing was on its way, our pencils ready to come out again. As they say: watch this space.

When it’s cold out, we look for warm things to do indoors. And there are few warmer than visiting a spa where the sauna runs 188 degrees.

Oh, there are other things to do at this particular spa we like to visit in Manhattan’s Koreatown — there are soaking tubs (two warm, one cold; one with lemons floating in it)

…and there’s a steam room with a special rainforest shower right outside it

…and across from the lockers there’s a low-temperature relaxation room where the only heating element is in the floor and you can rest for as long as you like without breaking a sweat (well, at least one caused by the room’s temperature)

But the sauna, built in the shape of an igloo, partly out of jade, is the spa’s centerpiece and legendary attraction, and it gets so intensely hot that naked really is the only way to enjoy it properly.

Of course, naked is how we like doing most things.

We had massages too, and a Secret Santa-style book exchange–

And a variety of delicious snacks to nibble on–

But the main attraction was the heat — that and the friends to share it with.

Would you like to share some warmth with us? Either indoors while winter’s on or outdoors as soon as the weather permits. If you’re an open-minded, body-positive woman who aches to escape the constraints of a) excessive clothing and b) convention, email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or DM us on Insta or Twitter, and we’ll get you naked with us in no time.

Last July, we created our first Instagram account and worked hard to build up an audience there. When we’d gotten up to something like 3,000 followers, Insta deleted our account, claiming we’d violated their community guidelines, presumably by posting photos that included nudity (even though we tried hard to censor everything they insist on censoring).

So we started over again with a new Insta account and built that one up to something like 1,400 followers, and we were even more careful about censoring our photos. And last night? Last night Insta deleted that account too.

It’s really galling, when plenty of Insta accounts feature at least as much nudity as ours does, and they’re not getting deleted. There seems to be something about our account — which seeks to educate women about their legal rights, rather than just display women’s bodies for male viewers’ pleasure — that gets Insta all hot under the collar.

Well, we’re trying again. Our new Insta is @topless.pulp, and we ask that if you care about what we do, or enjoy seeing our posts, or are a body-positive woman and would like to come to one of our events sometime, you please follow us there.

We’ll keep fighting the fight, and we thank you for joining us in it.