I see your mouth beginning to form the words, readying to trot out utter garbage.
Don’t do it.
Tell me to celebrate being a woman on a measly day eked out for my ilk and I’ll ask you why. How do I make joyful noises about being female in a world where my gender is relentlessly at the receiving end of systemic hatred? When our heads are constantly dunked and held under water, only to be permitted half a breath before being choked again, but look, you did get that teeny window to inhale! To which you’ll look exasperated and say “But nobody is doing it to you!” And I will begin to enumerate:
1. The number of times my body was touched without my permission, how the semen stain on my school skirt remains as dark as ever, how pain feels as a 14-year-old when there’s a thrust, a gasp, and then he flees the overflowing bus.
2. The number of times my daylight hours and nighttime hours and spaces to just be were policed: by those who birthed me, by a system meant to educate, no no, you are a girl, bloomer check! We’re going to lift your skirt to ensure your modesty lives in granny knickers.
3. The number of times I have heard “nobody wants a girl who…”, “nobody marries a woman who….”, 5 kilos less and you’d be perfect, one cup size larger, you can wear any color, lucky-lucky, your hands are so soft, your boyfriend will love them, don’t ever cut your hair or I’ll be sad.
4. The number of times “good” girls don’t sit this way, don’t wear shorts outside PE class, because the men, oh the men, the men! All males, absolute strangers included, are given shares to my anatomy, only I’m not invited to the feast.
Until I want to stitch your mouth shut without anesthesia and scream TROPES!!!
TROPES, TROPES, TROPES!
You’ve drowned in your paltry puddle and think you’re in St. Tropez, every utterance further plasters you to your pigeon poop ridden cubby, how does it feel inside that cage you’ve built, do the bars come out at night to play?
Rapes and moral policing. “Just jokes” and unoffered opportunities. Wage gaps and a permanent seat to butt and breasts on the buffet, let’s not serve brain today, rather pointless wouldn’t you say?
Not a chance in hell at life, and if lucky, then an education is all too much good fortune.
I’m a ‘happy California mum’, I was told in summary, a catch-up call that ended in a pert label, even as my vocal chords shut down in outrage.
No women are free until all women are free, I scream at you in my fantasy. While you suck on patriarchy like a lozenge and I pause to watch you choke. While you make plans to shop sales and celebrate having internal plumbing and paint your nails as the platitudes dry.
Happy Women’s Day, you say, expecting a smile in return. I smile, as I smile for many senseless things and inane people, and quietly wish you sight. And maybe someday, if it happens to be in stock that season, even a modest serving of sense.
Hands up all those who have never heard of or witnessed an act of violence toward a woman.
Starting tomorrow, or today, if you’re anywhere ahead of Pacific Standard Time, we kick off Violence Against Women (VAW) Awareness Month 2012, that will run through all of October.
I’ve shared this with you before and I am proud to continue to extend my support to the cause and the fantastic team of people behind it.
If you have a story to share, or are among the lucky ones not to have a violence story of your own, hop over.
Read, write, spread the word, encourage friends/family to speak up, offer support. Just don’t be an ostrich and pretend all’s hunky dory, and that if it doesn’t affect you directly, you’re going to sit pretty and not let it affect you at all.
This initiative doesn’t promise to change the world. It is intended to remind you–if the daily news doesn’t do that already–that violence, frequently gory, life-altering, vicious assaults on women’s bodies, minds and spirits, is far from declining. It could be happening next door to you as you read this. Or definitely down the street from your comfortable couch. Don’t believe me. Just read the statistics. And for the love of god or glitter, do your bit. Here’s your chance.
For more information on how you can help or contribute a post,
Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter, follow: @VAWawareness and RT our tweets
On Facebook, ‘Like’: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Violence-Against-Women-Awareness-Month
So am I going to see you on http://vawawareness.wordpress.com? 🙂
Not a favorite of many of you out there, I know, but bear with me. The Happy Hausfrau kicked the bucket six weeks ago. They struggled to haul her into a casket and shipped her off to la-la land. In her place arrived an early-rising, coffee-swigging non-profit slave, also known as The Automaton around these parts.On her first day of paid work, she encountered an epileptic fit, dialed 911 and discovered a stash of tequila bottles in her desk drawer. Good times.
So yes, forgive me if words and saying hello to you guys are not priorities at present time. I hope we can still be friends. And Merry Christmas in advance.
We all know it exists. We’ve all shared the stories in some hushed and some outraged tones. Here’s your chance to join in as we push awareness into cloud space and encourage our friends to identify, acknowledge and resist the numerous forms violence can take.
My brand of feminism, in addition to my personal experiences, does not permit me to only call this Violence Against Women. Hence the sub-title Women Against Violence. And, I fervently hope, men and transgenders too.
Do hop over. Read. Contribute. Link up. Share. Refer the site to a friend in need.
At the very least, know this resource is out there, should anybody you know need it. Even though it is my ardent wish that you never will.
Back to Automaton mode. Over and out.