Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Body in Motion: Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby

This series of photographs are dedicated to showing real derby skater bodies without pretense and without apology.  Our focus is on practice time, where the real work happens.  The drills are real.  The sweat is real.  The hits are real.  This set features skaters from Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby.  Additional photos can be found on Cory’s Flickr album.  Get future updates on Facebook by following The Rollergirl Project.




I used to think that stomachs weren't supposed to have any rolls at all, because I never saw rolls on a single damn stomach in the mainstream media. Ridiculous! I mostly follow independent/queer media now, because it's so significant to me to see people with all kinds of bodies who feel comfortable and confident, and are willing to be visible. Images like that have helped to give me a context to see my own body as being a good body, and helped give me context to love it. I think the more images exist of people being happy with our bodies, the better, so hopefully doing these photos and showing that we feel good in our bodies is a step towards paying it forward.

- JackJack Attack, 4 Year Veteran



I already see all of my teammates as strong and fierce, but participating in this project with this group made these individuals all seem even stronger to me. Part of that is probably their bravery in participating in the first place, but also seeing the photos afterward, especially the ones we looked through right after the shoot. Those raw photos captured all of the emotions we have when we play derby--frustration, determination, frustration, unexpected success, and the satisfaction of coordinated teamwork.

- Mauls Dolls, 5 Year Veteran












I wanted to participate in this because I think it's important to show that derby is a space where anyone can be an athlete regardless of whether or not you have what would traditionally be considered an "athletic" body. I want people to see my imperfect body and recognize that I'm an athlete.

- Mad-Eye Maggie, 4 Year Veteran



It is amazing how so many of us do not see our bodies as amazing and beautiful, even when we are doing these moves that might normally make us feel strong when we aren't thinking about the way our bellies or thighs look. I would love for our community to really embrace what our bodies look like underneath, to find those muscles that we work so hard to develop, even if we never get rid of our outer layers.

- Mauls Dolls, 5 Year Veteran













TRGP-6017 Tattoo Detail




  1. Thank you for this. It is beautifully written. I just finished my rookie season and I more confident about my body than I was ever before. I learned a woman's shape has no control over her power.

  2. This is fantastic!
    South Jersey Roller Derby

  3. Fabulous! I skated derby for a short time, but never got to the strength point I wanted before having to stop. However, during that time, the strength I had developed took over my woes about my body. Blessed Be.

  4. Well done. This is great work with a powerful message.

  5. This is brilliant.
    Strength is beauty. I love how Derby cultivates strong women- women the next generation can look up to.
    Nutcracker, Sheffield Steel RGs

  6. Fucking awesome ladies!! You all rock!

  7. WOW, Thank You for sharing this wonderful piece of work! I am a Jeer Leader for Rubber City Roller Girls Akron Ohio. I am heading into my 8th season. If I were not soon to be 59, I would love to play roller derby, however there is not enough pain medication from here to California for me to skate. HA! I have struggled with my weight and shape my whole life, one lesson I have learned from roller derby is that any shape or size is beautiful and strong. Carry On, Bitches ! You all are beautiful. Ivanna Jeer YouUP, RCRG

  8. Thank you, these pictures are the most beautiful pictures of women I have ever seen.

  9. Careena SmearnoffApril 18, 2016 at 8:36 PM

    Love this! It was a long time before I was able to accept my post baby body the way it was. Roller derby allowed me to do that and to focus on the strength I had inside not only on the outward appearance. Thanks so much for these pics of REAL, beautiful women.

    Careena Smearnoff
    Central Oklahoma Roller Derby League, March 2008 - November 2011
    Pain County Roller Derby, Present

  10. <3 I'm crying like a little baby right now. This is so beautiful. Thank you.

  11. Powerful. Moving. Awesome.

  12. Awesome. I wish this was the way all women were represented in the media. If it wasn't for roller derby, I would still be hating the skin I am in.

  13. Could you please e-mail me I have a few questions. Thank you