There have been so many articles and blog posts about the passing of Leonard Nimoy and what a loss this is to all of us. He was best known as playing Spock on Star Trek and played that role to perfection for over half his life.
I thought that’s what he was best known for. I was wrong.
What I didn’t know was his tireless work as a feminist. In the 60’s he took the people in charge of Star Trek to task when he found out that Nichelle Nichols (who played Uhura) was not getting equal pay as the rest of the cast and ensured that she was paid fairly.
He was an accomplished author, singer, and photographer. In the early 2000’s, he published a book of photographs called “Shekhina” that focused on femininity within Judaism. Many of the photographs were nudes and reactions to the books were mixed. Nimoy asserted that his critics were just “attempting to control thought”.
In 2007 he published a book of photographs called the “The Full Body Project” that celebrated the female form in all shapes and sizes. The models were plus size women, mostly nude and provocatively posed. His work challenged the concept of the ideal beauty and asserted that all women and all bodies are beautiful.
Nimoy was said to have been saddened when he realized that most women experience some form of body shame in their lives. Natalie Angier, an author who wrote the introduction to “The Full Body Project”, said that Nimoy was deeply troubled upon hearing that most women felt some degree of body shame.
“It really disturbed him that women who considered themselves overweight had this terrible feeling about themselves,” Angier said. “He wanted to show the world that there’s beauty to be found in different body types.”
I’ve seen several of the photos from both books and they are powerful and moving. The women are proud and strong and beautiful. They are looking right into the camera lens unapologetically.
Thank you Leonard Nimoy for your gifts to us. We will miss you.