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I love you,
You love me,
We’re a happy family,
with a great big hug,
and a kiss from me to you,
Won’t you say you love,
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Photograph of the Girl
The girl sits on the hard ground,
the dry pan of Russia, in the drought
of 1921, stunned
eyes closed, mouth open,
raw hot wind blowing
sand in her face. Hunger and puberty are
taking her together. She leans on a sack,
layers of clothes fluttering in the heat,
the new radius of her arm curved.
She cannot be not beautiful, but she is
starving. Each day she grows thinner, and her bones
grow longer, porous. The caption says
she is going to starve to death that winter
with millions of others. Deep in her body
the ovaries let out her first eggs,
golden as drops of grain.
*Sharon Olds from The Dead and The Living
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(Trigger Warning: Satire to the point of disturbance)
Yes, while on bloggular sabbatical I met and fell in love with a bearded liberal dude named Zed at a locals only Power Play Bar*, found coupled bliss in a pricey studio apartment cooking him organic lunch (but he cooks dinner—we egals know how to rock a feminist relationship), learned a second language while backpacking through Europe on my parent’s dollar and became an I Can’t Help it Feminist. Life is glorious. Weather is here. Wish you were beautiful.
Knowing full and well the confusion this recent conversion will cause, I should clarify a few points about my new found life as an I Can’t Help it Feminist.
Yes, I used to be one of those: a choice feminist. I used to believe women, upon examining their condition, could find it in themselves to make a different, less painful life.
Yes, I must come clean: I used to believe in choice and change.
I used to believe in autonomy, agency and freedom to move about in the spheres of feminist conscience whilst taking the most ingrained and damaging nuggets of patriarchal brainwashing and intellectually lobotomizing them.
Hell, I used to believe in feminist journeys.
I used to believe what we did in the bedroom, preferences for self-expression, the kind of people we are, were all part of a malleable feminist landscape—with bends, ebbs, flows, threads to be cut and re-sewn, again and again.
I used to believe in a feminism that could reject, resist, reform.
Oh how bigoted I was then!
(Granted, I was pallin’ around with those dogmatic radical feminists with all their talk of hope and words of encouragement and suggestions to get out of the hell hole.)
To all my new found allies: I’m SO SORRY I WILL NEVER SPOUT SUCH HATEFUL CRAP AGAIN!
Because, yes, now I know.
Whatever you do in the bedroom, you can’t help. No matter how many times you examine it, no matter how many times you think you might hate it so much you wanna go jump off a bridge while securing a chained noose to the perimeters of your neck and the scaffolding-whilst also aiming for the shark’s maw-no you can’t help it.
No matter how many times you’ve tried blocking thoughts about some older man insisting on you calling him Daddy while being orally serviced, it doesn’t matter. You can’t help it. You’ve had those thoughts for as long as you can remember!
If you feel you are a queer man trapped in a transgendered body with a hard-wired preference for paisley skirts and pin-striped business suits, then. you. are. It’s your biologically determined state!
If every time your mouth is without lipstick you find it neurologically impossible to emit serotonin then don’t fight your wiring! Your brain expects to find raspberry colored carcinogenic fecal matter lacquered to the outer extremities of your lips and when it doesn’t find it your brain gets VERY UPSET.
You are a feminist.
I Can’t Help it Feminism is more than just a message of completely blind understanding, tolerance and acceptance. It’s the hopeful hopeless message that everything you are now is everything you have ever been and will always be.
And that, my friends, is a feminism ANYONE AND EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER HAD EVEN THE TINIEST INKLING WOMEN MIGHT BE GETTING SLIGHTED JUST A BIT can get behind.
*What, have you not been? Power Play Bars are about owning power. With play! Everyone gets a feather boa and black latex stick at admission. The rest of the evening is spent being randomly tickled by feathers and poked/slapped/prodded by The Stick. (Haught.) I was waiting in line at the restroom when I got three hard slaps to my ass. (Ouch!/Hot!) This was code for “Hey can me and my friend take turns c*nt torturing you with our steely pocket knives?” To which I responded by gently plucking two feathers from the boa and sticking one up each guy’s nostril (one was Zed’s!). This meant “Yeah but I’m a feminist so make sure you do it in a feminist kind of way.”
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My EP should have been done by now. The music promise is yet to be broken.
Producer-boy has been mucking about in these last two weeks. Last week,
after two reschedules, he fumbles “I..uh.doh..you know..tonight? Yeah…you-uh…familyiscomingthroughtonight! Can’t do it!” In the famous words
of Meryl Streep “Oh ffs, if you’re going to lie at least lie quickly!” I cough up
patriarchal slime as I find myself rearing a threat of ***capitulism***: “Wellll, you get
paid when I get the mixez.” Ahh the clusterfuck I must tend to some days.
(whatamI doing? typing on this blog? someone stop me!)
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“From an early age I knew my ambition was to be in a plot. Or several plots–I thought of it as a career. But no plots came my way. You have to apply for them, a friend of mine had told me. He’d been around, though he hadn’t been in any plots himself, so I took his advice and went down to the plot factory. As for everything else, there was an interview. So, said the youngish bored man behind the desk, you think you’ve got what it takes to be in a plot. What sort of character did you have in mind? He was fiddling with a list, running his felt-tip pen down it. Character? I said. Yes, that’s what we do here. Plots and characters. Well, I said, I might as well try out for the main character. Or one of them–I suppose every plot needs more than one. You can’t be a main character, he said bluntly. Why not? I said. Look in the mirror, he said. You’re an exotic. What do you mean, an exotic? I’m a respectable person. I don’t do kinky dancing. Exotic, he said in his bored voice. Consult the dictionary, Alien, foreign, coming in from the outside.”
“Plots for Exotics,” Margaret Atwood
Maybe you’re curious like me. How do people get from place to place, idea to idea? What’s their story? I’ve fascinated with the details of people’s personal journeys ever since discovering online feminism. The idea for interviews this time around is nothing more than my curiosity given a voice. I’ve not set out to prove any major trends between radical feminist stories–rather the opposite. You will find some similarities, perhaps every 2 interviews, but nothing notably more conclusive than the words themselves.
This has been such an enjoyable process–I will say it again and again: thank you wimmin, of the time and mind, for coming forward and sharing these personal journeys. I did not expect a great response at the outset–I anticipated an introverted bunch, not used to talking about themselves, shying away from the idea their life story was of any value (doesn’t that sound mean?). There are probably still a lot of those out there (note for future hosts: I am happy to pass along the interview website admin info should you wish to reel these wonderful wimmin in for future carnivals).
However, I am happy to say 9 wimmin eventually tip-toed their way into my inbox! Their stories are linked here, laced in with the rest of the wonderful submissions. Enjoy!
I felt like being smart was all I had as a little fat girl who didn’t conform to femininity particularly well, who wasn’t attractive or charming or athletic. My attachment to book knowing is apparent on the website, although hopefully I’ve been able to transform loyalty to patriarchal knowledge into loyalty to feminist knowledge.
Radical feminism was a deep, long lasting kind of intellectual stimulation. Reading a couple points had my brain buzzing for days
Suzie at Echidne of the Snakes explains further why interpretations of drag (re: huge learning curve) under a patriarchy are not as subversive as some may like to believe.
Some people think drag subverts gender by bringing its performativity into the open. But parody works only if people get it. A straight man at a drag show does not necessarily think: “If that man can look and act like a woman, then that means my girlfriend and I are just performing gender.”
I’ve always been a radical feminist. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t see that there was serious dominance/submission issues in male/female relations.
Nine Deuce at Rage Against the Manchine takes an ice pick to the issues and concepts differentiating “rights” and “privileges” for porn use. She even later goes onto assert men in relationships who deceitfully use porn are being emotionally abusive. Daring!
Deciding what falls under the rubric of “rights” is a difficult task, and gaining any kind of universal consensus (even on the most basic of human rights) is nearly impossible because the discussion is landmined with the participants’ conflicting cultural and religious values. Fuck, we haven’t even reached the point where we can agree that we all have the right to not be murdered.
Well, that day I was feeling bad. I discovered that there was a dimension of this world that i hadn’t known about. It seemed ‘mechanical’ and ‘inhuman’ to me; these are the 2 words i remember thinking.
Amananta at Screaming into the Void shows off her songwriting chops in a political parody of South Park’s “Blame Canada.”
White guy 4: My son could’ve been a doctor or a lawyer rich as me,
But he flunked out when he saw Hillary’s ugly face on tv
Everyone: Should we blame his study habits?
Should we blame his ADD?
Or the teachers who didn’t do their jobs?
White guy 1: heck no!
Everyone: Blame Hillary!
When you’re in your anti-porn star shirt seriously discussing plans to humanure while ripping up old political placards into the compost pile for your organic garden, American affluenza seems more like slow suicide than a normal lifestyle.
They are black women and girls, they are indigenous women and girls, they are women and girls who have be fucked as children, they poor women and girls, they are homeless women and girls, they are addicted women and girls – mainly they are women and girls who have forgotten that they can hope.
Each time a man chooses to rape a prostitute, each time a man uses a prostitute as real-life porn, each a man batters a prostitute, each a man kills and throws away a prostitute – it is a slow destruction of all women rights to be fully human.
I am stubborn, strong-willed, and as my mother and father can attest to, if you tell me to drop it, I’m going to continue talking about it.
Dr. Violet Socks at Reclusive Leftist scarily but beautifully recalls the day her once carefree hiking trips became a reminder of the inevitable: no woman lives free.
I turned back to the trail, deliberate-like, not running, trying not to be scared. Nothing very bad is happening here. I’m just going to continue on my hike. I will continue on my hike and I will drive home and I will make dinner. When I reached the trail I turned around. He was following me.
How did I bring feminism to the countries I lived in? By being a woman on her own doing what I wanted. Traveling alone in Brazil was very rare for a woman, so was hiking, running…
Sonia at el parador califas tells of her own experiences with domestic violence and how the silencing effects manifest as an epic erasure of it’s pervasiveness.
my self-esteem was at issue, but that’s a setup. women having low self-esteem doesn’t occur in a vaccuum, and it’s not resultant of pms, or high levels of emotion or just being chicks. low self-esteem in women is a requirement for the social status quo.
Although I guess I was always feminist, inside. I have never met a woman who believed that the world was fair to women. I suppose the difference is in how women handle that.
Marcella Chester at abyss2hope reveals yet another mindless imbecile who sees his self control astonishingly dependent on womens’ actions.
He wants to be seen as no more responsible for his behavior than a TV is when a woman uses a remote control device. Yet I doubt that he sat as still as a TV when women turned him on.
If something really offends me, others may think that my reaction is extreme, but it’s usually the culmination of dozens of slights that just can’t be ignored anymore.
And for a good dose of laughs we end with a little preherstory lesson presented by none other than the great Phemisaurus.