If you’ve ever needed someone you felt like you could easily call your best friend just from reading their work, Baker would be one of them. As the founder of TheMilitantBaler.com, Jes produces content that forwards body positivity in a radical way. She has been featured everywhere from CNN and The Huffington Post to Cosmo and the Today Show. What we love about Baker is her ability to get you into your own body and celebrating it.
On body image activism as a form of radical self love:
I had a really interesting conversation with fellow activist Stacy Bias the other day and she was explaining how the people you see on the front lines of ALL activism are the people who are personally affected by the oppression they are fighting against… which makes perfect sense, right? We’re personally invested, so there we are in the front.
But what that also means is that it’s the most challenging situation, because we have to simultaneously fight our egos, trauma, depression, tunnel vision, anxiety, anger etc. WHILE the status quo is trying to silence us in harmful and dangerous ways. This is where the radical self love comes in.
When you see this happen and STILL continue to campaign for equality there is no doubt that you KNOW that you are worthy of visibility, life, love and the pursuit of happiness. You have decided and you are here to make it so.
There is so much RADICAL self love in that decision that I/You/We are worth this even when the opposition is so real.
On ways activism has called you to love yourself more fully:
LETS TALK ABOUT SELF CARE!
I’ve worked in LOTS of different places over the years: bookstores, bakeries, universities, restaurants and I’ve worked in mental health/social work for years. Now, when you work in human services it’s beyond emotionally exhausting and when I started I would leave work completely drained… so I had to teach myself EXTRA self care techniques that would allow me to heal/rejuvenate and come back the next day ready to work again. Now that is NOTHING compared to what I have to do now! It’s really interesting! My self care game, my friends, is now officially absolutely incredible. I am a wealth of knowledge when it comes to “how to take care of yourself” BECAUSE as an activist- you are swimming up the social stream visibly and it becomes emotionally violent.
So loving myself more has become a necessity and a total game changer. Learning that I’m worth taking care of. Watching what happens when I don’t take care of myself and how I’m unable to function in the world if I don’t.
Seeing how my activism and quality of life improves when I follow the list of things I have written to heal myself; inside and out. This skill is definitely something I’m going to take with me throughout the rest of my life no matter where I end up!
On ways others can better love themselves by taking action:
I’m going to challenge each person who wants to take action to first take inventory of what is best for you. All action taken towards promoting love, justice, equality, and respect has the same value.
Check in with yourself and ask, “What will both change the world AND foster love towards myself?” Maybe, for some people- simply living the concept of radical self love is the most effective form of activism for them. When you are part of an oppressed demographic and you visibly live a life from a place of worthiness and internal love. That shit is paradigm shifting and can inspire and educate others more than you know.
When you choose activism, remember that it needs to be sustainable and healthy for you. That there isn’t a “moral hierarchy” involved within contributions and that whatever form of action you choose – It’s good enough, you’re good enough, and I thank you.
[Feature Image:Two images side by side. On the left, LGBTQ Immigration activist Jennicet Gutierrez is pictured wearing a dark grey blouse and gold necklace with long dark brown hair. Gutierrez is smiling and looking ahead.. On the right is a photo of Jes Baker from the chest up. Jes has light skin, jaw-length blonde hair, and is smiling wearing a black shirt and red lipstick. Jes Baker photographed by Liora K Photography.]