Being feminine is being desired and hated at the same time. A feminine body or mind is expected to be open and receiving to everything from others’ emotional baggage to sexual fantasies of total strangers. At the same time, receptivity (not that this defines femininity by any means) is considered weak and inferior. The result of this is often violence. Femininity is to be present for other’s needs and then destroyed for its perceived weaknesses.
Being feminine and of color is especially dangerous. Not just because we are a walking target for racist, stereotyped sexual fantasies but because so often we are blamed for being that.
I interviewed a young anthropologist working with women in Mali, a country in Africa where women go around with bare breasts. They’re always feeding their babies. And when she told them that in our culture men are fascinated with breasts there was an instant of shock. The women burst out laughing. They laughed so hard, they fell on the floor.
They said, “You mean, men act like babies?”
It’s the curse of the teenage girl, isn’t it? Ridiculed at every corner. God forbid a teenage girl could have a passion for anything. God forbid a teenage girl could know what she wants.
It’s a fucking curse. You fall in love, it’s bullshit. You’re talented, it’s bullshit. You love something, bullshit. You care about something, bullshit. You destroy something bullshit. Something kills you, bullshit!
We’re all so trivial. Nothing we say has any weight, any precedence. Because we don’t know shit.
What do we like? Who cares. What do we love? Who fucking cares. We hate ourselves and we’re called dramatic and self-obsessed. We love ourselves and we’re called dramatic and self-obsessed. Since when was loving yourself a character flaw? Fuck. I think it’s astounding. Why wouldn’t you want to raise a generation of strong, proud girls? I know why, because you’re fucking scared, and you don’t even realise it. Somewhere, in the back of your head, past all the patriarchal bullshit, you know what we’re capable of. And don’t look at me like that, I know what the patriarchy is, and that’s exactly my fucking point. You underestimate us, you reduce us down to silly little girls.
In the back of your head, you’re scared for us to have voices, you don’t want us to have power. Because then, then we’ll speak up about the shit you put us through. And you know what? If you don’t educate us, if you refuse to educate us, we’ll educate ourselves.
I am so, so sick of this biased crazy bitch-teenager idea. Being passionate doesn’t make us crazy. And even if we are crazy, so fucking what? It’s you who made us like this.
You, who raised your daughter to keep her voice down. You, who taught her it’s better to be meek. You, who told her she just drunk too much, helped her throw out her ripped underwear, and never thought to ask questions. You, who told her sex was an obligation. And you, for telling her it’s a bargaining tool. Her desires aren’t natural. Don’t act, don’t speak. Repress, repress, repress. Repent, repent, repent. Be ashamed. Shut your mouth.
You shut it for her though.
Every lesson, every time you ignored her need, you plucked out another vocal chord. And you kept going and you kept teaching until her throat was empty, and you stole her words and threw her voice box down a fucking well so no one would ever hear her speak again. And you think we’re the crazy ones? You’re draining the life from you daughter so you can stick it in a glass vial and give it to your son in law.
You want us to be meek? You want us to be quiet. We’re fucking monsters. You made us, you’ve silenced us, and now we’re going to scream and scream until you notice.
I love women who are bosses and who don’t constantly worry about what their employees think of them. I love women who don’t ask, “Is that OK?” after everything they say. I love when women are courageous in the face of unthinkable circumstances, like my mother when she was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Or like Gabrielle Giffords writing editorials for the New York Times about the cowardice of Congress regarding gun laws and using phrases like “mark my words” like she is Clint Eastwood. How many women say stuff like that? I love mothers who teach their children that listening is often better than talking. I love obedient daughters who absorb everything—being perceptive can be more important than being expressive. I love women who love sex and realize that sexual experience doesn’t have to be the source of their art. I love women who love sex and can write about it in thoughtful, creative ways that don’t exploit them, as many other people will use sex to exploit them. I love women who know how to wear menswear.
1. Harriet Tubman’s birth name was Aramita (“Minty”) Ross. She was born enslaved in Maryland sometime in 1820.
2. Tubman escaped slavery with her brother, Ben and Harry, on September 17, 1849.
3. Tubman is most famous for her role as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, in which she led escaped slaves to freedom. Estimates vary, but Tubman is said to have helped anywhere from dozens to hundreds of slaves reach freedom. She was once quoted as saying, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
4. During the Civil War, Tubman worked for the Union army as a cook, nurse, and spy. She was also the first woman to lead an expedition in the war and guided the Combahee River Raid, which freed 700 slaves. Decades later, the raid would inspire a groundbreaking group of black feminists called the Combahee River Collective.
6. This year marks that 100th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s death. Maryland has a series of commemorative events.
Just another thing to add to her very full plate.
Potential title: How To Ruin Lives…
Potential title: Hater’s Paradise.
Or better still, “Killing All Your Faves: A Show Runner’s Guide”
Potential Title: How To Lose Fans and Anger People
i don’t understand why they still watch her show if they hate her so much
potential title: how to snatch the wigs off hating ass baldies whilst being a powerful showrunner
Potential title; How to make history and rake in millions while minions and keyboard warriors hate.
I like this game. Potential title: how to make your haters help make you a powerhouse in Hollywood
Potential Title: How to Enrage Your Haters but Keep They Salty Asses Watching Your Show Each Week
I am surprised by how much sex I have had in my life that I didn’t want to have. Not exactly what’s considered “real” rape, or “date” rape, although it is a kind of rape of the spirit - a dishonest portrayal or distortion of my own desire in order to appease another person.
I said yes because I felt it was too much trouble to say no. I said yes because I didn’t want to have to defend my “no,” qualify it, justify it - deserve it. I said yes because I thought I was so ugly and fat that I should just take sex every time it was offered, because who knew when it would be offered again. I said yes to partners I never wanted in the first place, because to say no at any point after saying yes for so long would make our entire relationship a lie, so I had to keep saying yes in order to keep the “no” I felt a secret. That is such a messed-up way to live, such an awful way to love.
So these days, I say yes only when I mean yes. It does require some vigilance on my part to make sure I don’t just go on sexual automatic pilot and let people do whatever. It forces me to be really honest with myself and others. It makes me remember that loving myself is also about protecting myself and defending my own borders. I say yes to me.
Yeessss awesome article
I’m so tempted to tweet this at my ex you have no idea
Racial fetish is also different than other types of kinks because it’s not just about a self-chosen lifestyle (S&M, for example), a self-determined action (thanks for making Golden Shower well-known, R. Kelly), or sexualizing a body part (feet fetishism seems pretty prominent). Yellow/Jungle/Salsa/Curry Fevers are about exotification of groups of people based on a part of their identity that they have no control over.