It’s been a hell of a week. I don’t need to link to any of what’s been going on because, well, if you don’t already know you must be a mermaid living in King Triton’s undersea realm who is too busy trying to trade your voice to a sea witch in order to marry a random human prince to pay attention to Land News(TM), in which case, good luck with that.
If you identify as a woman, you are probably having a lot of feelings right now. Anger. Sadness. Fear. Defiance. High Priestess Michelle Obama–First of her name, Mother of Dragons and Malia and Sasha,Harvester of Organic Vegetables–summed it all up pretty well, I think.
If you identify as a woman this week, you’re probably also experiencing flashbacks. Flashbacks to the time your classmate reached down your shirt and groped at your (still flat) chest during story time when you were six and said this meant you were his girlfriend. To the time when your middle school teacher looked a little too long at your bare, white, unshaven thirteen-year-old legs on the first warm May day in seventh grade and remarked that he was “grateful it was shorts season.” To the time when your roommate came home crying because a boy tried to pressure her into sex before she was ready and called her a tease for refusing. To the time your heart was pounding in your chest as you walked down the dark New York street at nine p.m., worried that the strange man on the corner, angry at having his catcalls ignored, would follow through on his threats to “fucking rape and kill you, you ugly fat bitch.”
To all the times you were made to feel like nothing more than a receptacle for men’s feelings, from lust to disgust to rage to impulses of violence. To all the times you were reduced to body parts: boobs and butts and legs and hair and midriffs and arms and feet (yes, even feet). To all the times on the sidewalk you were told, unprompted, to smile.
To all the times you were made to feel like less than human. Like less than a person.
One definition of feminism is “the radical notion that women are people.”
A reminder for you, because I’ve needed to remind myself so often this week: you are an actual person. A human being. A soul. You are more than the meat on your bones. More than a number on a scale of attractiveness or weight or both. More than a reflection of what some men (and women) hate about themselves and the state of a scary and changing world.
I am an actual person. You are an actual person, too.
I love you.