Cult of True Womanhood

Oh, I’m glad Kathy brought this up, because I meant to say the other day that I thought Tami of What Tami Said was so spot-on about this being the direct descendant of the Cult of True Womanhood that, when I read it, it blew my mind. I mean, oh, duh, of course it is.

And, yeah, the amount of women who defend it, well, duh, for women who were allowed to be in it and who could make it work and didn’t find it stifling, the Cult of True Womanhood fucking rocked, too. Conforming is easier than not. Being able to conform the best has rewards.

But this is something I’ve noticed over the years and I just don’t feel smart enough to really get at. There are a lot of moments in U.S. culture–because of our cultural myth of the individual–where a kind of “fuck it, I’ll do what I want” ethos becomes the prevailing ethos. I mean, I spent the 80s in a Billy and the Boingers t-shirt and much of the early 90s in flannel and it was awesome. And I totally felt, in my flannel and my Doc Martens and my short hair and my ears full up with metal, like I was saying something about your fascist beauty standards.

Yeah, me and all the other girls, right? Who wasn’t wearing flannel and clunky shoes? Or Chuck Ts before that?

The ways I could signal “fuck it, I’ll do what I want” were also culturally prescribed. The things I could buy to wear that looked different than the girls I didn’t want to be like? They were available to all the other girls who wanted to look different than the girls they didn’t want to be like. Even when my mom made my prom dress, which was so awesome, we still had a pattern and we picked it out so that it looked good, with “good” having a lot of baggage.

Even now, if you want to be “different” there are only so many ways you can be. You can feel like you are freely choosing and still be choosing from a limited number of options. We are all unique flowers in the limited number of ways we can be.

I don’t think it’s appropriate to sit around and police the choices women make about how we present ourselves. But I sure as hell do think it’s appropriate to sit around and consider why these are our choices at this particular time.

And hell yes, we keep getting sold the same old problematic racist, sexist, classist bullshit stories we always get sold, even in our rebellions.

And the sad trick is that you can’t not succumb to it in some ways.

Eh, I had a lot more to say about that than I thought, I guess. I do miss a constant state of flannel, though. I kind of hope the rumors of a coming mini-ice age are true. I’ll be happy to wear clunky footwear and oversized flannel shirts. I might even get my nose pierced, if it comes to it.


We’re having this terrible thundery storm and our power went out. I screamed when it went out and I screamed when it came back on. Perhaps I could downgrade the thing I’m working on to just be a series of flickering lights, since, apparently, they scare the shit out of me.

It’s Going to Be Gross in this Post–Fair Warning

I woke up to a dog with a tiny bloody gash on her head. She apparently wanted me to look at it, but not to do anything about it. And so that’s what I did. I had nightmares all night long, which I directly attribute to writing the zombiefication portion of my sexy zombie story, which now does seem to have a zombie in it.

So, I wrote that part. It was pretty straight-forward. Guy comes down creepy basement stairs he’s not smart enough to be afraid of, guy gets axe in sternum. Crunch. And then, after guy is on the ground, the axe is twisted to crack open said sternum and guy’s death is extracted so that he cannot actually lay down and die until he fulfills his murderer’s wishes, which are, obviously, for more murders, one of which I plan to try to describe in my efforts to experiment with writing actual horror fiction as opposed to unsettling, creepy fiction.

But I had this idea that it would be appropriate for dude’s murderer to grab a hold of each side of the broken sternum and pull it open in a blood eagle and set him loose to kill that way. And then I thought, well, I don’t know. It seems like it would be hard to run around murdering people with your chest all splayed open and your lungs falling on the floor. You slip in a pile of lung juice and your victim is out a bathroom window in the time it takes you to right yourself.

But then I looked up blood eagle on the internet and discovered a.) that now most folks don’t even believe that was a thing that actually happened, just a story that spread about Vikings to illustrate how fucking not to be trifled with they were; and b.) they (supposedly) didn’t go in from the front. They held their victims down, broke the ribs away from the spinal column, and splayed those out, like wings. Then they ripped the lungs out and offered up the soon-to-be dead man to Odin.

I guess they had all fucking day? And where did the floating ribs go? Souvenirs? Dog treats? I mean, really. You have a guy, usually a king, that you’re supposed to be able to hold down long enough to sever each rib away from the spinal column on both sides and break those ribs outwards to form bloody wing looking things and get his lungs out and maybe salt everything to really cause him pain all before he died?

I’m not buying it.

Might they have desecrated bodies in this manner? Oh, sure. I’m willing to buy that. But if you want to get in a person’s chest and rip out their lungs while they’re still alive and aware enough to be horrified by it? I still think your best chance is a swift blow to the sternum with an axe.

Anyway, per the Butcher’s recommendation, I killed off the guy who needed to be killed off. His head came rolling down the basement stairs. I was sad to see him go. The characters who saw his head said “Shit” and “Santa, no!”