When public figures make headlines saying inane things about women’s bodies, it’s clear we’re too penned in by ignorance. This is why Lidia Yukanavitch’s novel Dora: A Headcase (Hawthorne Books) is timely and valuable. The novel is a feminist reclamation of Freud’s infamous case study. Yukanavitch’s Dora has refused diagnosis and the hysteria of her parent’s alternately sedated and neurotic world in favor of acceptance from her body-loving friends and their outrageously inspiring art attacks.
Yuknavitch has appropriately provided her book promotion more body than most through a series of action campaigns that give readers a chance to directly participate. The day before publication day, September 4, Yuknavitch wrote that she wanted to provide something “with more ‘use value’ than regular publicity crap. i’m not a product. i want my books to ‘do’ something.”
Her readers were invited to do something as well. First, they posted an incredible variety of self portraits with identity-obscuring signs that declared, “MY BODY IS NOT YOUR BATTLEGROUND.” Second, they posted photos of what brought them joy—from frogs and fresh baked pie, jump ropes, and children, to laughter and fuzzy socks. Check out the Dora: A Headcase Facebook page to see these past actions and to participate in the next one.
On September 4, readers are asked to share a photo on the page inspired by the phrase, “power is for pussies. make art. love dora.” Yukanavitch’s Dora declares her right to express her body, her joy and anger and her self on her own terms; you are invited to do the same.
Catch Lidia Yuknavitch in Portland at Powell’s City of Books, Saturday, September 8 at 7:30pm and in Seattle at Elliott Bay Book Company, Wednesday, September 19 at 7p.m.—Kristianne Huntsberger
Kristianne Huntsberger is a writer, performer, and educator who, when not roaming the world, makes her home in Seattle. She has worked with the Elliott Bay Book Company in various capacities over the past ten years.