And now the Friday blast from Just Capshunz. Because starting the weekend snarky is a good idea. (Smooch.)
Friday, February 22, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Sunday, February 17, 2013
(Girl in Ennis, Ireland 1954, photo by Dorothea Lange)
We gathered together to talk about hitting the age, way too early, when we could no longer play without a shirt on. About being allowed to cry freely but not get mad or seek justice, ever. About wearing garments that inhibited warmth or utter freedom of movement. About being forced to be quieter than any male in the vicinity. About learning our looks matter more than our brains or courage, way more than integrity. About the shame and confusion surrounding menstruation. About feeling repulsed at the idea of someone else sticking part of their body inside ours or lying on top of us, but being told we'd "learn to like it" when we "became real women". About maybe wanting children but not wanting to be pregnant, or maybe not wanting children at all, or maybe never wanting to be married, yet it was clear we had no real choice in these decisions. About either being the nonconsensual object of some older male's sexual attention or seeing that theft/invasion happen to a girl we knew and, again, receiving the strong message it was an inevitable definition of our gender. About learning to hide our faces with hair and makeup, and discovering males would not like us unless we were hidden in this way, though the rest of our bodies were supposed to be more exposed than males are forced to be. About girls being nonexistent or a tiny minority in any interesting book, play, TV show, movie -- and rarely being more than a one-dimensional cipher if present. About how government and institutions are run by males, overwhelmingly, and that decrying such imbalance shows we either don't like men (enough) or have no sense of humour. About needing to take care of any male who demands it of us before we take care of ourselves, because otherwise they will make life unbearable for us. About not experiencing nature or cities or the dark on our own, because it is not physically safe to be a female alone in most of the world's open spaces. About coming to orgasms late, or never at all, or only by ourselves, because that sticking-it-in and lying-on-top male imperative defines all adult sexuality yet often offers our particularly rich sensory apparatus not enough to carry us along with his territorial cascade.
If you did not grow up with this shaping, this second-by-second fettering and questioning, you cannot really know what residue it leaves. You can empathize it, of course; human beings can and do have extraordinary powers of empathy. And empathy combined with observation and justice can build invaluable allies.
But if you were not raised as a girl, you cannot KNOW it. And you cannot acquire it by magical thinking, by attire and chemistry, or even by years living in a changed identity. Because once girlhood is past, it is past.
And sometimes I want, need, insist on conversing and exploring with those who were also raised as girls, just as sometimes I have to be with those raised poor or those raised disabled. I was targeted from birth and I deserve a chance to identify, for myself, the damage done to me by that targeting without having to simultaneously translate it for those who simply did not experience it.
I am offended when you assume I should not have that right, or that my need to heal and reclaim means I must somehow be oppressing you. I am offended when you shriek my right to self-definition of being born a target in the most lethally attacked subgroup in the world -- born female -- means your feelings are somehow hurt because you were born and raised nontarget for this particular ongoing genocide. And guess what: I reached adulthood in a world with feminism, which agrees that if I insist on my due space in this world, your feelings about it are YOUR feelings. Not. My. Problem.