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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

THE BIGGER, THE BETTER, THE TIGHTER THE SWEATER
BEAUTY, BODY IMAGE, AND OTHER HAZARDS OF BEING FEMALE
Slated for Winter 2007

The statistics are staggering. Eighty percent of American women are dissatisfied with the way they look. Twenty-two percent of college women claim to “always” be on a diet. Americans spend more than $40 billion on diet-related products each year. Since 1997, there has been a 465 percent increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures performed, accounting for $12.5 billion in 2004. But statistics only tell a small part of the story.

We are simultaneously taught to scrutinize ourselves and to feign nonchalance. We are supposed to care whether our jeans make our butts look big but we all know how obnoxious it is to actually ask if they do. To speak honestly about our bodies is a rare thing. To speak honestly and be funny about it is a triumph.

THE BIGGER, THE BETTER will be an anthology of personal narratives that have at their hearts a funny story but that aim higher or delve deeper without the need to be politically correct or particularly uplifting. It will help paint an entertaining and realistic portrait of our feelings and attitudes about our bodies with all their complexities and contradictions.

We are looking, first and foremost, for truly funny writing. But, humorous anecdotes are not enough. These humor pieces will also be exceptionally well-written personal essays by women willing to explore the complexities of their relationships with their bodies and appearances. Tell secrets, admit defeat and triumph, expose underbellies, be honest. We are particularly interested in voices that may not get much coverage in the mainstream. We want strong, developed, first-person writing that goes beyond mass market journalism.

Some likely topics include:
• Ideas of perfection and imperfection vis a vis race, body type, skin color and personal taste
• Plastic surgery
• Pregnancy/motherhood
• Beauty knows no pain: dye jobs, plucked brows and bikini waxes
• Ready to Wear: fashion, cosmetics and the right shoes
• The Female Form: rolls, jiggles and dimples
• Learning to love or loathe a body transformed by illness or injury
• Taking it Off: sex with the lights on
• Support: Filling out a bra, or not
• Obsessions: Seeking toe cleavage, a hairless chin, or eternal perkiness
• WTF?!: Puberty

Editors: Samantha Schoech and Lisa Taggart are editors and writers living in the Bay Area. Together they edited TIED IN KNOTS: FUNNY STORIES FROM THE WEDDING DAY (Seal Press, 2006), which contains good examples of the type of essays being sought for THE BIGGER THE BETTER.

Publisher: Seal Press, an imprint of Avalon Publishing Group, publishes groundbreaking books by and for women in a variety of topics.

Deadline: October 15, 2006

Length: 2,500-6,000 words

Format: Essays must be typed, double-spaced, and paginated. Please include your address, phone number, email address, and a short bio (50 words) suitable for publication on the last page. Essays will not be returned.

Submitting: Send essay electronically as a Word file (with .doc extension) to Samantha Schoech and Lisa Taggart at bodyessay@mac.com. Put “The Bigger, the Better” in the subject line. If email is not possible, mail the essay to Lisa Taggart at 1480 Santa Clara St., Santa Clara CA 95050.

Payment: $100 plus two books

Reply: Please allow until January 1, 2007, for a response. If you haven't received a response by then, please assume your essay has not been selected. It is not possible to reply to every submission personally.
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