IWD 2017

“we won’t be equal until men are equal”

as my facebook wall invariably fills with multi-culti cartoon women lifting each other through the same sanctioned comment square, i listen to the bust magazine recommended inflection point podcast as curated by lauren schiller (interviews with women who are challenging status quo).

i think about my youngest women’s studies professor when i got my degree in 2003, and how radical she was to suggest that women’s studies will need to evolve into gender studies in order to survive and stay relevant. i don’t know that that’s happened, and as folks drag sophie trudeau for suggesting that we should celebrate men who are feminists, or the next generation of boys coming up as promising potential feminists (because we raise them to be or just by virtue of seeing more women life-ing in different ways than generations past), i still wonder if it (we) will.

i didn’t make any sweeping declarations this year. i celebrated bright and early with sharon, my yoga teacher, who decided to change her life and offer an 8am class that fits so much better into my cicadian rhythms, and then discussed how menstruating makes us better with susanda, the acupuncturist that we all have a crush on. i had a private celebration with the women who help me heal and release, and i don’t think it’s an accident that they’ve become more prominent in my life within this year.

and then of course, anne-marie slaughter‘s quote (above).

here’s a great article that she wrote.

she is completely correct-until childcare and child-rearing is normalized for men, women will have to “choose”. we can’t really discuss “women’s work” without discussing “work” in general, and then it all rolls out into birth control and access, poverty and single mothers, prison and the school system and (the lack of) food politics-if you can’t make a diagram that connects all of these points directly, you qualify as needing a lesson in intersectionality. but don’t ask a woman of colour to explain it to you, there are a lot of resources on the internet. TONS.

i met someone who is so mad because she was wrong, she “didn’t think he would be that bad when he got into office”, that there would’ve been someone to rein him in.

w       o        w.

again, wealthy white women who voted (or would’ve voted if they were americans) one way, and then turn up at a march on washington a few months later-you fail. and unless you are interested in doing your due diligence in learning where you fit in on the accountability/benefit spectrum of the bridge of our backs, i am not interested in sapphosizing with you. it’s 2017-your microagressions are so fucking old.

all of us are smarter than one of us.

but we still have to learn to check ourselves and be checked ourselves, because womens-we are still wrecking ourselves, and it’s no kind of good for our healths.

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dear mr. you-mary louise parker

“Letting someone you don’t really like surprise you is evolved, and that would have been impossible if you didn’t have the humility I wasn’t giving you credit for.” (36, Dear Movement Teacher)

“Remind her that she is beautiful in every new language you can invent. Careful with metaphor, as by then her mother’s over use of it may have exhausted her and made her immune to poetry.
Remind her about poetry.” (202, Dear Future Man Who Loves My Daughter)

i have already seen change in the life of my daughters. i see them with fathers who are present in their lives, committed to their moms, and encourage them to be all the beauty-full and talented folks that they are and will stay being.

this is no small thing, but i want more (of course).

i want a world for my daughters where talking about your period is normalized, and we can have an honest discussion about the reality of what working in a place with many women at different points of their cycle (monthly and in life) does without risking giving menfolk another thing to run away with and misunderstand.

i want a world where we can talk about hemorrhoids, moon moods, and just wanting to hide in your house and play candy crush all day and eat chocolate.

imagine when we can all be educated about fibroids or endometriosis, miscarriages and abortions, rape and shame, and the shitty way that young women are shamed into believing they are to blame for potentially having cervical cancer-via the horrible exam that gets them there.

let’s be real-the patriarchy will not be dismantled, but our sisterhood is strengthened exponentially because we are the adaptable humans. the matriarchy is real, if we want it. and now we have allies that are on the other side, straddling the in-between space.

i am also listening to jon stewart on 2 dope queens, and it’s a pretty fitting pairing with this sentiment.

blue plate special-kate christensen (part too)

“I was virginal and petrified and much too in love with him to allow anything real to happen. I identified with and envied him more than I lusted after him-he had all the qualities I lacked and desperately wanted to develop: confidence, autonomy, a backbone, a strong sense of self. I was insecure, introverted, self-conscious and shy. My crush on him propped me up, but until I could develop those things in myself, I would never be able to connect in a real way with someone I was in love with. I knew it at the time and it made me jumpy with frustration, with anxiety and impatience to grow up and leave adolescence behind.” (145-6)

“He rode a motorcycle. He was sad-eyed and Irish-Jewish and handsome in a skinny, feline way, and he had been a biochemist before he became a writer. He had a tragic family history. Most important, he seemed to think very little of me and to enjoy putting me in my place. This last quality was catnip to me and a clarion call to arms: I was determined to win his respect, to prove to him how worthy I was, to break through his impenetrably dense self-involvement. Also, he confirmed my worst opinions of myself, which satisfied my deep self-loathing.” (225)

“At the start of my sophomore year, after I’d had my heart well and truly broken by a stoner physics major named Kip with long blond hair and a dudely, passive-aggressive sweetness I could neither resist nor penetrate, I razored off my own long hair into a spiky boy’s cut full of cowlicks in an attempt to rid myself of my femininity entirely.” (197)

“I had no sexual interest in Kenny at all; I just wanted to marry him, which seemed like a completely different thing. What I liked best about him was that he had a crush on someone new. He was unattainable, a challenge.” (103)

“I had been able to tell Alec that I couldn’t sleep with him; with Tommy, I felt like paralyzed prey, and, because of my silence, I was therefore complicit somehow, or so he made me feel. I had fallen right into his trap. His rationale for abusing so many girls was that they didn’t tell him not to, and therefore they wanted him to. It never seemed to occur to him that laws protecting minors from predators like him were in place because we were too young and vulnerable to protect ourselves. He didn’t actually rape me, but some of my friends weren’t so lucky.” (131)

“We were both frustrated young writers who thought we were much smarter than we were, which engendered a kind of chaotic melancholy that needed blotting out.” (233)

“He’d married me in part because he loved my wild side, and I’d married him in part because I loved his stable, conventional side. He saw me as exciting and a little crazy, and I saw him as deeply trustworthy and solid. Unfortunately, these were the qualities in ourselves we most wanted to leave behind.” (281)

“Much of our talking in our first six months was about these fears. We challenged each other, tested each other, put each other through the wringer, even as we offered each other reassurance and love. We were both blown over by how quickly, fully, and precipitously we had fallen in love. Of course, we were terrified of being hurt and disappointed, of making a mistake. It was very clear from the start that this was no halfway thing, no light romance or short-lived fling. It was all or nothing with us from our first date. We’d put ourselves in each other’s hands, exposed ourselves completely and absorbed each other, and so we had to be very careful.” (335)

this collection of passages is about the relationships and the learning that is possible from stumbling through and growing older (if not up). i don’t have much more to say, other than i pulled them because i saw something, and the end is what i’ve always wanted. hashtag, squad goal.

blue plate special-kate christensen

“Of course, our mother had taught us all how to start over, to land on our feet, and to make the best of any circumstance.” (276)

“Luckily, I never blacked out; unluckily, this meant I usually remembered much of the night.” (234)

“For me, loneliness comes from a sense of missing something. I never miss anything when I’m alone.” (281)

i love this meditation on appetites, and all the passages that i have pulled seem to centre around being empty and full, and all the ways they may not look exactly like we would expect. present/absent, love/oblivion, and attraction/repulsion also strongly figure in my focus in life and this honest and moving collection of experience and reflection (there’s another one).

“As a budding hermit, I used these overnights as an excuse to read whatever books my friends had that I didn’t, sidling away from my hostess to read her books as fast as I could before she noticed I was missing.” (57)

“Consequently, I got my fair share of complaints, which I accepted cheerfully: I wasn’t being paid, I was volunteering out of the goodness of my heart and because I had absolutely nowhere else to go right now, so they could either teach me to make better soup of shut up.” (179-80)

“She wrote back with superior condescension, telling me I was blind and lost and sinful, and that she had found the true path. She capitalized words that had no business being capitalized. Her diction became Germanic and unfamiliar. I wrote back and tried to argue and reason with her, but she had finally won our battle: the fanatical, righteous believer always vanquishes the skeptic.” (207)

i am in awe of women who admit to falling in love as many times as we have to get up or eat-i’m all in favour of normalizing love and seeing it among other vital functions, because it deserves to be seen as such. we have to prepare for love, welcome love, cherish love, and let it go-just as we do sleep, food, water, and clothing. love is an essential force and service.

i also identify with FOMO when it comes to books, and finding more comfort in an inner world than a sleepover world-but i was never allowed to sleep over in the first place. but that’s more about control, since most of the tampering with that (young) women encounter is by relatives and known people, and i got radio silence when i told my father about such tamperings that had occurred by family members. but stranger danger-that’s still the one. (sigh).

“To taste fully is to live fully. And to live fully is to be awake and responsive to complexities and truths-good and terrible, overwhelming and miniscule. To eat passionately is to allow the world in; there can be no hiding or sublimation when you’re chewing a mouthful of food so good it makes you swoon.” (3)

against love-laura kipnis (still)

“We live in sexually interesting times, meaning a culture which manages to be simultaneously hypersexualized and to retain its Puritan underpinnings, in precisely equal proportions.” (11)

“This is not just a recent national dilemma, it’s a longstanding problem. If marriages can’t be dissolved, how can the illusion of consensual democracy be maintained? As Nancy Cott points out, that would be sovereignty, not democracy. But if they are dissolvable, everything they symbolize is up for grabs too. We do live in a nation founded on a Declaration of Independence, after all-indeed, on a collective divorce, our rather stormy one from Britain.” (175)

“Hence the evolution of flirting, a way of being suspended between having and not having, and keeping possibilities open. Being suspended between consent and refusal is the path to freedom, says Simmel; any decision brings flirtation to an end.” (200)

“Perhaps a secular society needed another metaphysical entity to subjugate itself to after the death of God, and love was available for the job. But isn’t it a little depressing to think we’re somehow incapable of inventing forms of emotional life based on anything other than subjugation?” (94)

“Though as Freud points out, desire and disgust /are/only a hair away from each other-or rather, only as far away as the sex organs from the elimination function. Yes, in the Freudian view, sexual disgust is the anatomical destiny we’re forever staving off in the sphere of love, and too bad for us, less and less successfully as the romance fades-or perhaps that’s why it does.” (124)

“*It remains to be seen whether feminism’s greatest accomplishment was the liberation of women or whether it was redistributing feminine submission more equally between the genders: this question will hover in the background of our discussion. Note that gender equality isn’t necessarily synonymous with greater freedom; it can simply mean equality in submission.” (16)

“Not to mention the regression, because, after all, you’ve chosen your parent (or their opposite), or worse, you’ve become your parent, tormenting (or withdrawing from) the mate as the same-or-opposite-sex parent once did, replaying scenes you were once subjected to yourself as a hapless child-or some other variety of family repetition that will keep those therapists guessing for years.” (35)

from philosophy to history, religion and the law-i can’t gush enough about how laura kipnis has worked to prove her point through multiple examples across the systems that affect our lives. i like that she keeps toes in every pool because i believe that life is about never getting off the fences.

there’s beauty and enlightenment in the middles.

“all i hear is whomp whomp”

i heart syd the kid. i especially heart that the above lyric came wafting out at me last night.

the first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic-jessica hopper

“He hasn’t betrayed his crowd the way Dylan did when he went electric-this is something very different. The kids filling the 1,500-capacity tent know their Jesus from their Judas. There was a time when Bazan’s fans believed he was speaking, or rather singing, the Word. Not so much anymore.” (115)

“It’s easy to speculate about  what Cobain and Nirvana would have become had he lived. The band’s next album could’ve been a Chinese Democracy-like fiasco, especially embarassing in light of Cobain’s original genius-flash. He could’ve gone Corgan and released music with steadily diminishing returns for a decade plus. He could’ve joined the Foo Fighters. He could’ve taken the Reznor path, ‘retiring’ after a steady, respectable career. (Who knew then that Eddie Vedder would turn out to be the real punk among Cobain’s grunge-era ‘peers’?) Revisiting Nevermind is like flexing a phantom limb made up of Nirvana records that never were. That’s all it means now, all that’s left-fantasy. The tomb is empty; let the dead buy the dead.” (145)

“What’s being sold is an entree to punk, and most of the fans are too new to the music’s ideals to understand that they’re buying a version of fuck-all rebellion that’s been repackaged by businesspeople. Or maybe they do understand, and they come because they think it’s the only verson left. Warped is a mammoth shopping and marketing experience, a towering conglomerated product of the Clear Channel Age, and though the music is the initial draw, purchases are they way the kids express themselves to themselves, to the bands, and to each other.” (147)

“None of this, of course, was any less honest for being so obviously calculated-even when you’re a teenager faking it, approximating a borrowed notion of cool, you’re still bound to be more real, more transparent and more vulnerable than any adult.” (148)

“The look like scumbags who sleep in the desert.” (151, about the Mean Reds*)

i don’t know that hindsight is 20/20, but i do know that music is 395% nostalgia. i love learning things, and i especially love learning about music. i had a note to check out rollin hunt here, and though i didn’t find enough to be interested, i’m sure i made that note for a reason, and if it comes up again, i’ll have an automatic link to jessica hopper in my brain, and i’m not mad about that. i mean, at the very least, it’s another marker of chicago, and i’ll forever have “chance the rapper recorded his album at the library-i’m happy that i know exactly what room because i’ve seen it” in my brain because of the interview she did with him.

i love the inadvertent (or was it?!) retrospective on the industry and how it’s changed over the years. i went on a date with someone who met her current partner (yup, one of those) on myspace, thinking that she was going to have to extoll its virtues to me-but hey-myspace was amazing at the height of my music writing, it was a great way to connect directly to artists without having to go through handlers, and i’m happy to say that i’ve known, cherished, and was at least at one time held in high esteem by the winner of myspace-gabriel teodros. i don’t know what the current equivalent is-instagram? but i do know that something else will always be coming, and that the pendulum will always swing back. we just don’t have that many moves as humans. the good news about that is that we’re just as good as we always were, as well as being just as bad as we always were. giddy up.

the first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic-jessica hopper

“Us girls deserve more than just one song. We deserve more than one pledge of solidarity. We deserve better songs than any boy will ever write about us.” (20)

“Riot-grrrl wasn’t the end result, it was the catalyst. That’s what it was supposed to be, that’s what it was meant as-not a static thing. It didn’t have to stick around forever to count as successful-movements come in waves-it did its job perfectly. So much is different post-RG, so much permission and power and inspiration was funneled down steadily-whether it’s to the league of young girl shredders, or rock camps, or queer show collectives whose tether to RG was simply catching the tail end of Sleater-Kinney.

Feminism has to move on, salute new icons, be excited by the variety of archetypes of women in music that are self-directed, self-produced, not operating under the shadow of a Svengali band. To not appreciate the difference in agency, or appreciate the different struggles of women now, turns it to a game of radical one-upsmanship. Our battles are not to be hung on the necks of the new waves of girls like an albatross.” (89)

“I began to pine for the attention of punk boys, of which I knew three. One of which was Andrew and we could barely stand one another but were bonded by conversations about Sonic Youth.” (57)

“I want it. I need it. Because all these records, they give me a language to decipher just how fucked I am. Because there is a void in my guts which can only be filled by songs.” (13)

once again we’re dealing with the relationships of women writing about music-relationships with the music itself, relationships with the music makers and finding community (and love and validation) within a shared audience, relationships with other women in the context of music, and relationships with the writing about the music. i mean-the title of this book is a very deliberate statement, and though we have paper trails in different genres, i can relate to a lot of the same sentiments.

it’s no accident that this was a bust magazine pick/feature. it seems like the more we learn, the more we’re inundated by the same struggles. in all of our communities. aarrrgh. but the truth remains that packing an inheritance of struggles is not the way to go to validate what we’ve been through-celebrating that some ones don’t have to go through it in the same way is what we need to do, because trust that they have found and made their very own that don’t even register on our radar, so we need to celebrate that. we can always hold space for each other-always.

i realize that the one constant in my life (ok, two with the NBA) has been music. it’s been the one thing that i’ve been sure about, and it seems to be the hindrance-i may know too much-and thus i’m a bro, but at the end of the day-that’s cool, the music will be there for me-it’s a good thing i didn’t get hiphop_spinster actually tattooed on my body-but shit do i feel like cassandra picking that moniker. whomp whomp.