Feminism is Such a Joke. Only Losers Still Need Feminism.

I’ve got to be honest with you.  When I see Katherine Lopez and Elizabeth Kantor sitting around bitching about feminism and how political correctness has ruined the study of literature, I do kind of want to flip them off.


First because it irritates me to no end that these women, who can read and write and vote and hold jobs, think feminism is a joke.  If you want to be anti-feminist or non-feminist, fine, but then why are you using the good stuff we brought you? “Oh, feminism is so terrible.  But I will take this job, which I could have never had, if not for feminist gains, and I will take the paycheck, which I could have never had, if not for feminist gains, and I will put it in my own checking account, which I can have, because of feminist gains.”


You’re welcome, you ungrateful lice. 


Second because my professors were all a bunch of Leftists and hippies and weirdoes of all sorts and they still taught me how to read and how to love reading and I learned to read Shakespeare and Maso and Beowulf and Invisible Cities and I benefited from reading it all.


There are plenty of reasons to mock English departments, but mocking them for wanting you to read deeply and widely?  To bring critical skills to all kinds of texts?  Well, that’s crazy. 


*****


Last night I learned that a Nashville blogger’s daughter, who is in first grade, was sexually assaulted last week by another first grader.


Not only that, but the school wasn’t going to do anything about it when the blogger first brought it to their attention; folks, they weren’t even going to move the kid out of the girl’s classroom.  And why?  “I was told the child would not be taken out of the classroom, even for that day, because it was one child’s word against the other.”


God, it must be so nice to be beyond feminism.  I wish the rest of us had the luxury of living in a world where feminism’s work is done.


I guess we’ve been left behind, though, as usual, us ordinary folks, who don’t have the privilege of seeing our daughters treated like human beings, let alone seeing our daughters being above all that petty feminist crap.


I am so angry.


I am so tired of this “Well, men are just monsters and it’s women’s job to learn to live with it” bullshit.  When a parent comes to you and says that a boy in your school has done something horrible to her daughter, shrugging your shoulders and throwing up your hands, like, “What can you do?  That’s just how boys are.” is unacceptable.


Y’all, can you not see how insane this is?


In middle Tennessee, your daughters cannot take for granted, not even the ones who are only six years old, that they can go to school and not be sexually assaulted. 


They cannot take for granted that, if they are sexually assaulted, they will then be protected from the perpetrator.


No, unless those girls have parents brave enough to take on the school, all they can expect is to have to continue to sit in class with the boy who attacked them.


Well, there you go.  In Middle Tennessee, if you don’t have the right parents, if a boy hauls you into a bathroom and assaults you, no one’s going to do a god damn thing.


Clearly, feminism’s work is done.  Look how far we’ve come.


God damn!  And that’s really why I want to just punch Kantor and Lopez.  How dare they, just how dare they mock feminism and feminist goals, as if they’re trivial, when some of us live places where sexual assaults on six year old girls are treated as trivial?


A girl has a right to her own body, to decide for herself when, where, and how it will be touched and to what uses it will be put.


When someone else decides to put her body to use for himself, there should be no question that something terrible has happened, and something worth being concerned about.


That’s a feminist goal–to have the bodily autonomy of women recognized as a basic right.


That’s what feminists fight for–a world in which little girls aren’t as a matter of course assaulted at school and, if they are, the administration, upon learning of it, takes proactive steps to keep it from happening again.


If you think that’s worthy of derision, you have serious problems.


*****


And men, god damn, doesn’t this make you angry?  Do you know what kind of six year old goes around sexually assaulting other six year olds?  A six year old who’s being molested.  Almost always when kids that young are acting out sexually it’s because they’re being assaulted themselves.


But that school system is so hung up on the anti-feminist “truth” that men are monsters who just can’t help but rape whenever they feel the slightest provocation that their solution for this kid, who is obviously deeply disturbed, is not to get him the help he needs, but to just sit around and hope that no more little girls “provoke” him.


Why you aren’t more pissed off about having that view of yourselves, as monsters who cannot help but hurt, constantly reflected back at you and reaffirmed through the treatment of the few bad apples among you, I will never, ever understand.


This kid needs help.  At the least he needs help because he’s not behaving like a six year old should behave.  At the most, this is an indication of something terrible happening to him.  But because the school can’t see past our fucked up ideas about proper gender roles, they’re just going to let him go on without any intervention.  How can that not make you angry?


Being a monster isn’t the default state of men; it’s a warning sign that something very wrong is going on.

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Maybe Amy Lowell Didn’t Give a Shit About Ezra Pound’s Chair

When I first moved to Tennessee, Plimco and Dr. J and I would make it a habit to go skinny dipping out in the country at one of their friend’s house. 

We would be drunk and stoned and floating happily under the black night sky.

It can be intimidating to get naked in front of the the Plimco sisters, each of them soft and slim and beautiful like mermaids or Sirens, and me like the B. of Willendorf, standing at the edge of the pool wishing I’d had another beer before dropping my pants in public, okay, honestly, in front of the beautiful girls.

And Dr. J. says, with delight, "You’re so round and womanly!"

Okay, I’ll take delight.  Delight gets a not-drunk-enough girl in the pool.

I’m still in love with the idea of talking you all into my bed, where I will recite poetry or ask you to stare at the ceiling long enough to tell me what weird things you see in the plaster or to read me a story, and then posting it here.  I think it’d be funny and charming, at least to me.

So, I’ve told Plimco that she must skip church to come read poetry in bed to all y’all and I’ve been looking for a good poem to read her in return.  And even though it was my grand idea, I’m nervous and having a hard time deciding what poem to read to her.

I love "Song of Myself" but I can read other poems.  I’m not beholden to Whitman, just because I love him.

All this is just the long way of explaining why I spent my afternoon taking breaks from looking at 100 year old pornography by reading Amy Lowell’s poetry.  I’m tempted to read "Lilacs," but if you look at the ending–

Heart-leaves of lilac all over New England,
Roots of lilac under all the soil of New England,
Lilacs in me because I am New England,
Because my roots are in it,
Because my leaves are of it,
Because my flowers are for it,
Because it is my country
And I speak to it of itself
And sing of it with my own voice
Since certainly it is mine.

–You’ll know it’s because there’s a hint of Whitman there.  Which I find funny.  "Oh, no, Plimco, I won’t read Whitman to you; I’ll just read Lowell doing Whitman."  If that’s the case, why not just stick with Uncle Walt?

But I like Lowell.  I’d forgotten that. And so I stumbled upon this article, "Reading Amy Lowell’s Body(s)" by Melissa Bradshaw.  I read it, and then set out across the internet in search of a photo of Bradshaw.  I didn’t find one, but I’m still curious about whether she’s fat.

On the one hand, I think she must not be, because there’s no rage.  On the other hand, I wonder if maybe, since she waits so long to make her point, as if she’s not sure she has a right to make it.  But that could just be the nonsense we women do, pretend like our point is some afterthought.

Maybe it’s not a fair question to ask.  Is Bradshaw fat?

But apparently, many of Lowell’s contemporaries were concerned with how she looked–how fat she was and how she dressed that fat.  And so Bradshaw thinks that Lowell’s body, or at least the public perception of that body, is fair game for analysis.

And I think that’s true.

I just don’t think that Bradshaw is fat.  What fat woman would ever say, "In referencing the American poet [Lowell] these writers inevitably invoke and mock her body, which at five feet, two hundred and fifty pounds, was rather extraordinary."?  No, this is the scholarly equivalent of Paltrow in a fat suit, marvelling over how different life is when you don’t have the benefit of being Gwyneth Paltrow.

Because for a woman who is five feet tall and weighs two hundred and fifty pounds, there’s nothing extraordinary about that.  It is what it is.

And then Bradshaw seems shocked and disappointed to learn that many of her contemporaries talked more about her weight than her poetry–"When I first began studying Lowell I was disappointed to find that memoirs of her contemporaries, as well as biographies and critical evaluations, spend a disproportionate amount of time discussing the size of her body, more time, often, than they spend discussing her work as a poet and critic."–but she’s loathe to call that preoccupation what it is–hateful.

She then spends much of the rest of the article trying to figure out what other people’s depictions of how Lowell dresses might tell us about Lowell.  But she never acknowledges plainly that she’s using depictions given by people who hate how Lowell looks.  If they say that she’s wearing clothes that are unbecoming to her, why are they treated as an objective authority?

Do you see what I’m saying?  I think Bradshaw’s assuming that Lowell would know what the other poets thought of her and that she gave a shit about it and, thus, is reacting to it with her dress choices.

But what if Lowell doesn’t care?

After all, she’s already got someone at home who’s delighted with her.