|—||From a devastating essay from Laura Lippman, author, about what it’s like to be a woman in public. (via emilyvgordon)|
Instructions for a Body by Marty McConnell
I am surprised that Marty McConnell’s “Instructions for a Body” hasn’t made it onto our tumblr before now! It was one of my first body anthem poems: pieces that made me feel more at home with myself. I’m happy to be the one to share it here.
The picture painted in this poem is of the magnificent body, the one that is a gift in every shape it arrives in or comes to. An absent gallbladder deserves the same reverence as fingertips. Muscles and aches are praised together. Although the title labels the poem “instructions,” there is nothing prescriptive here, except a directive to take joy and embrace your own body and its capacities. Marty instructs gratitude and celebration. She pays careful attention to the details of the body and its miracles, then leaves the living up to the listener. I think we can take it from here.
“Praise the miracle body:
The odd and undeniable mechanics of hand,
Perfect stretch of tendon.
Praise the veins that river these wrists.
Praise the prolapsed valve in a heart.
Praise the scars marking a gallbladder absent.
Praise the rasp and rattle of functioning lungs.
Praise the pre-arthritic ache of elbows and ankles.
Praise the life line sectioning a palm.
Praise the photographic pads of fingertips.
Praise the vulnerable dip at the base of a throat.
Praise the muscles surfacing on an abdomen.
Praise these arms that carry babies and anthologies.
Praise the leg hairs that sprout and are shaved.
Praise the ass that refuses to shrink or be hidden.
Praise the cunt that bleeds and accepts,
Bleeds and accepts.
Praise the prominent ridge of nose.
Praise the strange convexity of rib cage.
Praise the single hair that insists on growing from a right areola.
Praise the dent where the mole was clipped from the back of a neck.
Praise these inner thighs brushing.
Praise these eyelashes that sometimes turn inward.
Praise these hips preparing to spread into a grandmother’s skirt.
Praise the beauty of the freckle on the first knuckle of a left little finger.
In a blizzard of seconds.
Love the body human while we’re here,
A gift of minutes on an evolving planet,
A country in flux.
Give thanks for bone and dirt
And the million things that will kill us someday,
Motion and the pursuit of happiness, no guarantees.
For chaos theory, ecology, common sense
That says we are web,
A planet in balance or out,
That butterfly in Tokyo setting off thunderstorms in Iowa.
Tell me you don’t matter to a universe that conspired
To give you such a tongue,
Such rhythm or rhythmless hips,
Such opposable thumbs.
Give thanks or go home a waste of spark.
Speak or let the maker take back your throat.
March or let the creator rescind your feet.
Dream or let your god destroy your good and fertile mind.
This is your warning.
This your birthright.
Do not let this universe regret you.]
Just as you’ve been shaped by your own experiences, mine have shaped who I am. I was very young when I had my first exposure to violence, and it became a regular, recurring theme in my life. There was a period of time I thought violence was just a regular, everyday part of life for everyone. It was normal.
Like many who experience violence at an impressionable age, I sought a way to control it.…
Stop Street Harassment!
It was after breakfast during Spring Break 2002, and we had gathered in the den to play some boardgames (so retro!) and listen to music. Second-born turns on the internet radio that comes with the digital TV package, and starts scrolling the local stations. She stops on one particular station longer than the others, listening to the radio hosts discussing their weekend and their night on the town.
the reason I’ve stopped saying “most men/some white people/many straight people do X oppressive activity” is because if you’re a member of those groups, I want you to sit there and think, “do I do X? am I a part of that? am I an active part of the problem?”
Except I’m pretty sure I fall under “all men”. So uh.
Actually, let me go a little further and say no, saying “all of this group” is never appropriate because you look like a jackarse saying it. It’s not “letting someone off the hook”, it’s condemning people that don’t deserve it.
Like I said, I fall under “all men” - should I be sorry that I don’t rape, murder, or want women to be subservient little kitchen slaves? No? Then don’t include me in the people that do. That’s fucking insulting, and I will correct you, and I will continue to correct you every time.
lol except this post doesn’t say anything about saying “all men rape” just “men rape” and men do rape, men do the majority of the raping in this world so if you’re upset about that then please go take that up with rapists who are ruining maleness for you, not with the women who talk about the things men do
I’m someone who identifies as a man. I take no offence when someone says, “Men rape.” In fact, when someone qualifies it as “some,” I understand they may be trying to be inclusive and yet also recognize it’s because the conversation keeps getting derailed by men who can’t tell when someone’s not talking about them. Our sense of entitlement includes thinking we should be the subject of every conversation ever, and that’s some serious bullshit. So, if you read, “Men do ___” or “Men think ___” and you are a man who knows this isn’t about you (because you’ve actually taken inventory of your behaviour), then just shut the fuck up and read. Like me, you may learn something about how men make life really awful for people who don’t identify like us - particularly those of us who identify as white, cis-het, able-bodied, and neuro-typical men.
Oh, and every time you derail a conversation about what men do so you can “correct” someone’s already correct usage of the language, you could be doing something useful like signal-boosting a conversation that really needs to take place.
What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.
For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like. I didn’t like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn’t like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out. I would hide under beds or lock myself in the bathroom to avoid these encounters, but he always found me. These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal. I thought this was how fathers doted on their daughters. But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn’t keep the secret anymore.
When I asked my mother if her dad did to her what Woody Allen did to me, I honestly did not know the answer. I also didn’t know the firestorm it would trigger. I didn’t know that my father would use his sexual relationship with my sister to cover up the abuse he inflicted on me. I didn’t know that he would accuse my mother of planting the abuse in my head and call her a liar for defending me. I didn’t know that I would be made to recount my story over and over again, to doctor after doctor, pushed to see if I’d admit I was lying as part of a legal battle I couldn’t possibly understand. At one point, my mother sat me down and told me that I wouldn’t be in trouble if I was lying – that I could take it all back. I couldn’t. It was all true. But sexual abuse claims against the powerful stall more easily. There were experts willing attack my credibility. There were doctors willing to gaslight an abused child.
After a custody hearing denied my father visitation rights, my mother declined to pursue criminal charges, despite findings of probable cause by the State of Connecticut – due to, in the words of the prosecutor, the fragility of the “child victim.” Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime. That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself. That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. Each time I saw my abuser’s face – on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television – I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.
Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.
Today, I consider myself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home.
But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them.
What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?
Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.
So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter.
Are you imagining that? Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?
Instead of waiting in her tower, Rapunzel slices off her long, golden hair with a carving knife, and then uses it to climb down to freedom.
Just as she’s about to take the poison apple, Snow White sees the familiar wicked glow in the old lady’s eyes, and slashes the evil queen’s throat with a pair of sewing scissors.
Cinderella refuses everything but the glass slippers from her fairy godmother, crushes her stepmother’s windpipe under her heel, and the Prince falls madly in love with the mysterious girl who dons rags and blood-stained slippers.
Persephone goes adventuring with weapons hidden under her dress.
Persephone climbs into the gaping chasm.
Or, Persephone uses her hands to carve a hole down to hell.
In none of these versions is Persephone’s body violated unless she asks Hades to hold her down with his horse-whips.
Not once does she hold out on eating the pomegranate, instead biting into it eagerly and relishing the juice running down her chin, staining it red.
In some of the stories, Hades never appears and Persephone rules the underworld with a crown of her own making.
In all of them, it is widely known that the name Persephone means Bringer of Destruction.
Red Riding Hood marches from her grandmother’s house with a bloody wolf pelt.
Medusa rights the wrongs that have been done to her.
Eurydice breaks every muscle in her arms climbing out of the land of the dead.
Girls are allowed to think dark thoughts, and be dark things.
Instead of the dragon, it’s the princess with claws and fiery breath
who smashes her way from the confines of her castle
and swallows men whole.
'Reinventing Rescuing,' theappleppielifestyle. (via justawordshaker)
Give me all of them.
Does your boyfriend or brother spend a lot of money on skin and hair care products? Does your dad spend much time at the hairdresser or beautician?
In your city’s daily paper do most of the political news items feature women? Are most of the stories in the business section written by and about women? Is there a special ‘Men’s Section’ filled with celebrity gossip, fashion and beauty tips?
When you watch a big sporting event on TV, are the athletes usually women? When you watch female sporting teams are there hot guys in tiny outfits cheering for them on the sidelines?
Do girls you know talk openly about getting off while watching porn? Do they boast about their sexual conquests?
When you’re at the food court, do your female friends happily gobble down a large burger and fries combo while your male friends pick at a salad and sip diet coke?
Do the majority of the fathers you know spend most of their time at home washing, cleaning, cooking and taking care of their kids? Do you often hear mothers refer to looking after their own kids as ‘babysitting’? Have you heard women talk about earning brownie points for cleaning their own house and washing their own clothes? Are you sick of men going on about how hard it is to balance work and parenthood?
Are your male friends afraid to walk on their own at night? Do they avoid drinking too much in case they get raped? Do they dress to protect themselves from attack and always carry their keys poking through their knuckles? When they complain about all this do your female friends shrug and tell them that’s just how the world is?
If the answer to all of these questions was yes, wouldn’t that mean something was wrong? Is that still true if the genders are reversed? Does it matter?
|—||Opening from Emily Maguire’s ‘Your Skirt’s Too Short: Sex, Power, Choice’ (via albinwonderland)|