BirthMarkings

Margaret Lazarus
USA
Margaret Lazarus’ film “BirthMarkings” explores our post birth bodies—and how our self-image—change after giving birth. “BirthMarkings” reframes the concept of beauty and motherhood, raises important questions about body image, and reveals the incongruity of western standards of beauty with the natural process of pregnancy and childbirth.

 

The idea for this project began percolating in my mind when I learned that the fastest growing plastic surgery for women was the post-birth tummy tuck. I started to think about what it means that we want to erase the signs of something so important and profoundly creative as giving birth. I wanted to explore this with women of different ages, backgrounds and experiences. "BirthMarkings" is a result of this exploration. I saw that so many of us internalized negative messages about our post-birth bodies, but that images of the passage of time, and the impact of physical forces on earth, trees, sand, stone and in space could be seen as beautiful. I wanted to reframe the image of the post birth body in this way. When I talked about this project I was overwhelmed by the number of women who offered to show me their stretch marks and scars and wanted to be part of this film. One of the biggest challenges was to select only some of their stories. Through the making and the showing of this film at festivals and in public spaces, I am continually reminded about how powerfully women are affected by the commodification of our bodies and how important it is to relate what happens to our bodies after we create life to the beauty of the natural world.

Camera/Editor Sarah Ledoux, Producer/Editor Renner Wunderlich

About The Artist 

Margaret Lazarus is an author and documentary filmmaker. With her partner, Renner Wunderlich, she has produced and directed over 20 films including: the Academy Award winning, "Defending Our Lives”; the groundbreaking "Rape Culture" and twenty five years later, its award winning update "Rape Is"; the original "Killing Us Softly" and "Still Killing Us Softly" which were two of the most widely used documentaries in academia; festival award winners "Strong at the Broken Places," "The Strength to Resist," "Pink Triangles," "The Last Empire," "Eugene Debs and the American Movement," "Life's Work," "Not Just A Job," "Taking Our Bodies Back," and others. She created the UN General Assembly film presentation "Women's Rights: Human Rights." For several years she was a senior lecturer at Tufts University teaching Producing Film for Social Change. She is a coauthor of the chapters on violence against women in the many editions. Learn more at www.cambridgedocumentaryfilms.org