The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Risky Business

Trigger warning for sexual violence

I was all set that last week’s post might conceivably be my last one, because: Reasons. And then Bob Jones gave me a reason for it not to be.

Bob Jones: Rape a risk for those who walk on wild side

 Writing in the Herald, she asked why shouldn’t women be able to walk safely through an unlit park at night? Grow up, girl. The answer is because you might be raped, or, alternatively, assaulted, robbed or murdered. It’s nothing to do with being women, the same danger faces men who in fact, rape excepted, are by far the greatest victims of unprovoked assaults.

That’s because they’re less risk averse, women more sensibly ensuring they don’t place themselves in harm’s way to the same extent.

As a piece of performance art, it’s brilliant. It has everything. Victim Blaming, apologia, BUT WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ, made up statistics about how many men are rapists, fat shaming, and a good bit of “it’s always been like this, so we can’t change it”. All wrapped up in a nice stop-your-whining-you-gross-angry-feminists bow.

But as an opinion column in a major newspaper, it is a misogynist, ill-informed, hateful piece of shit. So…rather like it’s author.

I’d list all the ways he’s wrong, but there’s not a lot of point, he doesn’t care, and the Herald doesn’t care as long as it gets the clicks we’re all giving it. Let’s just check a few off for the sake of completeness though.

  • women =/= property
  • Walking through a dark park is not an invitation nor is the length of someone’s skirt or the size of their tits, or the fact they might be foreign.
  • No one is advocating abdicating common sense, but that DOESN’T’ MEAN RAPE IS OK, YOU GIANT DOUCHECANOE.
  • Also not OK? Advocating prison rape, as much as we might wish it.
  • And you know what? we SHOULD be able to walk through dark parks at night. So should men. We should be safe in our cities and crime should be as rare and as unacceptable as we can make it. And suggesting that by not walking in dark places means we can avoid rape is a) wrong and b) DUDE. WHY NOT TELL RAPISTS NOT TO RAPE INSTEAD OF ASKING US TO SOMEHOW PREVENT IT?
  • How about you start treating women with respect, instead of calling them silly?
  • A judge, spouting this stuff, no matter why he was saying it, should maybe consider the impact of his statement on the victims of this particular crime, and other sexual assaults, and how this kind of victim blaming might affect them. Or not, cos it’s not like our justice system already discourages victims of sexual violence (especially men, and other minorities) from coming forward.
  • And you know what? Rape might be as old as “mankind” (and what a genius insight that usage is), and it might be really difficult to stop. But it will be impossible while dinosaurs like you GIVE RAPISTS EXCUSES. (and while you are at it, dramatically underestimate the number of men who might be rapists, because apparently? Maths, along with empathy, kindness and reason, is not a thing you are good at, apparently.)

Lastly, I will point to something Emma said here when we last engaged with another white dude dinosaur “columnist” (come on down Martin van Beynen!). What you say about rape, you say to rape victims. You want to be that guy? Really?

A plea for your voice.

(MASSIVE Trigger warnings for sexual violence)

Hello darlings.

Yes, it’s been a really long time. As some of you have gleefully pointed out. And frankly, it’s not us, it’s you. Not you, individual readers, you, citizens of the world. It’s exhausting, and frankly, we don’t always have the energy to keep being angry and feisty and clever. Sometimes, we just want to lie down and be bad feminists.

But, sometimes there’s important work to be done. And this is one of those moments. Because, there’s this. That we even have to have a select committee into funding for sexual violence services is one of the reasons the Lady Gardeners would prefer to curl up under a tree with a good novel and a teapot full of bourbon. But here we are, nonetheless.

If you would like to make a submission, the details are in Coley’s post, and some information on how to do it is here. (FOTLG Oliver points out that evidence can be heard in private.) And a workshop for submissions is being held, if you want to go along to that.

For the very remote chance that you don’t know why funding for these agencies is important, and the statistics aren’t enough to convince you, we have a story from a (obviously anonymous) friend of the blog. It’s…not fun, and there’s about a million trigger warnings and we’ll be wielding a very heavy hand in the comments. But this is why rape crisis and the agencies like it are necessary. This story is horrifyingly common amongst all genders and ethnicities and orientations. And it’s why you should go ahead and make a submission.

It’s a Saturday night, which is a terrible way to start a story. I’m sure I was meant to be somewhere, but I don’t remember. My house is empty, of people and stuff, which my erstrwhile flatmate has taken with her. It feels like she took all the joy from the house too but again, I’m probably misremembering.

I’m wearing flannel pyjama bottoms and a singlet top. Later, I’ll fixate on that top. It’ll stand for things I can’t stand. And one day it will bring me to my knees, when I find it unexpectedly in the back of a drawer. But for now, all of that is ahead of me. For now, for the last time for a very long time, I’m safe.

There’s a knock at the door. It’s an odd time on a Saturday night, but I don’t think much of it. I open the door. It’s heavy in my hand, and the first thing I notice is the smell. Whoever is at the door has been drinking. And they’ve been drinking sweet dark rum.

I realise who it is and time slows down. All I can think is “don’t let him in the house. Don’t let him inside. There’s no good reason he’s here.”

This man has already hurt me. He has already made me scared. He’s already shown he doesn’t listen to me, and doesn’t care that I’ve asked him to leave me alone.

I try to slam the door, but he’s bigger and stronger and is already in the door. The door bounces off his leg, his elbow, and he’s inside, slamming it shut behind him.

He’s talking, but I don’t remember the words now. In my head it’s incoherent babbling, but I’m sure it’s not. It can’t have been, and I have a vague sense of apology. A feeling that he wanted me to forgive him for being an asshole.

But I don’t know. Because what happened next is so unforgivable.

I’ve been backing away from him, and suddenly my back presses against a wall. I turn to head up the hallway, but as I do, he’s standing in front of me. He grabs my shoulder and pushes me hard against the wall. Once, twice, he shoves me back against the wall. It’s like he’s shaking me, and my head cracks against the wall, and I feel my shoulder blades bang against it, and wonder if that will bruise. (It does, badly and it’s so ugly that for weeks I can’t look at my back, even clothed.)

He leans against me, and when I struggle, he takes a hand and wraps it in my hair, pulling my head back, holding me there. With my head bent back, I gasp for breath.With his hand in my hair, I can’t pull away from him, and I am sandwiched between him and the wall. He brings his lips to mine, and when I try to pull away he yanks me back to facing him. I gasp in pain, and i see him grin. I try to push him away again, and he slams me back against the wall, knocking the breath out of me. My knees buckle, and I’d fall down in pain, but he holds me up.

His teeth scrape along my neck, and his knee slips between my legs, pushing them apart. I feel him biting down on my collarbone, and the hand that’s not holding my hair squeezes my breast. Even as terrified as I am, I wonder if the bite will leave a mark, if it was hard enough to break skin. Even as terrified as I am, there’s a voice in the back of my head berating myself for caring about bruises at a time like this.

I shove back against him and he slaps me, letting go of my hair, and I scream, telling him to get off me, to fuck off, to leave me alone, until he clamps his hand over my mouth, and presses against me. He pulls at my top, snapping one of the straps, dragging it down over my breast which he claws at, squeezing and pulling and pinching. One of my hands is caught behind me, and with the other, I try to push him, but he’s too close, and too strong, and he swats my hand away.

I bite down on his hand, doing all the things I was taught in primary school, fighting and screaming and struggling. He brings his hands around my throat, squeezing until I can’t breathe, until I stop struggling, and I realise he’s talking to me, calling me a stupid bitch, a whore, a slut, all because I didn’t give it up when he wanted it.

Holding me by the throat (and this is the moment I realise how tall he is, that he can hold me there, like that, by one hand), his knee hard up against my pelvis. He’s muttering that I like this, that this is how I want it, and then his hand is inside my pants, and his fingers are inside me, and I’m shaking my head, but I can’t move, and he’s pressing his thumb against the side of my throat, and I am scared that if I move I won’t be able to breathe. And all I can think is that I’ve been here before, in this exact situation, almost, and if once is unlucky, what is twice?

I try to twist away from him, but I can’t, and I struggle and slap at him and his fingers are inside me and it hurts and he looks down at me and tells me to stop pretending I don’t like it, that I basically begged for this, and what a slut I am.

He pulls his hand away from me, and takes a step back, like he’s going to say something, and he grabs my wrist, and twists it, and all of a sudden I realise there’s a gap between us, and I bring my knee up, as hard as I can, between his legs. He doubles over, and I push at him, and he falls, crouched on the ground. In a much calmer voice than I can imagine having, a voice that doesn’t sound like mine, I tell him to get the fuck out or I am calling the police, and miraculously, he does.

All of that plays in my memory, on repeat, either in slow motion, or in rapid bursts, his hand on my breast, cut to his mouth on my neck, cut to his fingers trailing over my hip. All of it, often, for months. But I don’t really remember what happened next. I know I sat on the floor and cried, for what felt like hours. I know I said something glib on twitter, and then changed my clothes, burying my ripped top in the back of a drawer and throwing out my pyjamas. I didn’t know what to do, or what to say, so the next day I avoided people, curled up on the couch in my empty house, watching bad movies and crying. And drinking all the tea.

It wasn’t until the day after that that I thought maybe there was something I should do. Something other than catch myself standing in the mirror looking at the bruises on my collarbone, my thigh, the scrape along my neck, the brusies on my back, realising I’d been standing there for ten minutes. Something other than tell myself over and over and over again how lucky I am, how much worse it could have been. All I wanted to do was stop crying. And to do that, I’d have to tell someone. And if I told someone, it would be real. It’d be a thing that had happened, not a dream, not something I could wish away.

I’ve told this whole story to three people before now. My counsellor, the police, and someone on the phone at rape crisis. And I’d never have got to the first two without the last one. And that should be all you need to know.

If you need help, there are support services available. Feel free to share in the comments. Kindly, preferably.

Well, that escalated quickly.

Trigger warning for rape, rape culture.

Here’s how to tell if you’re a misogynist asshole.

1. Take pleasure in offending women.
2. When a woman calls you out on that behaviour, demean and negate her.

If that doesn’t prove it to everyone you know, double down with a nice bit of rape/child abuse joking.

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When called on it, say you we’re just joking about a fictional character. That makes it OK!

[Update since I started writing this: you can then apologise(ish) and delete the offending tweet.]

Look, I’m not going to have anything better here to say than Sady, Lindy and Molly have said.

So, let’s just repeat this a couple of times: rape jokes aren’t funny. Rape jokes aren’t funny. Jokes about rape culture can be, but it’s a high bar, and one that few comedians can clear. And when your joke falls flat, it’s not just that you didn’t get a laugh, it’s that you’re hurting and re-traumatising rape victims. (Of whom, statistically, you likely have at least one amongst your friends/listeners/followers.) And you’re helping to prop up a culture that minimises violent crime. Why do you want to be that guy?

Of course, if you believe Twitter, you people who make these kinds of jokes have supporters. I’m, of course, part of the PC police, and you should be allowed to say whatever you want. And, of course, you are. You can tweet whatever bullshit you like. You can lash out at women who call you sexist and be a bully, and upset people all you want. And I get to think that you’re a piece of shit.

But when you have the pulpit of a massively influential radio station, and the tiny amounts of fame that New Zealand allows, you don’t get to do that without people complaining. And I’d have thought that if you are a half-decent human being, you’d have considered the responsibility you have. A responsibility to not make rape victims feel worse. To not uphold a culture wherein women (and some men) feel unsafe and at risk. You talk, mostly, to young people, over whom you have influence. Are you really comfortable making the world a bit more shit, instead of a little bit better, as you do that? Couldn’t you use that influence, gained through what I am sure is your massive talent, to help us? Or at the very least, to not actively hurt us?

Of course, I’m just a boring, humorlessness, unfunny, overly-sensitive, stick-up-her-ass, PC feminist, right? You carry on.

jlawthumbs up

Gathered Together

cross posted

This is a slightly weird day for me. Today, something I’ve been fighting for for years is going to come to pass. The Marriage Equality bill is going to pass its third reading. What will I do tomorrow?

Obviously, the answer to that question, for me and hundreds like me, will be  ‘groan, wince, and think “I really shouldn’t have done that”.’ Tonight is for celebrating, with like-minded individuals.

It’s days like this when I really wish we could all be together. Not that you could fit all the people I’d want to spend this evening with into the same bar, but you understand the sentiment. The closest I will come is Twitter, where I fully expect to see the people I love making sarcastic remarks about ParliamentTV’s hold music.

Out in the meat-space, there are events all over the place. In keeping track of this, I am even more than usually indebted to gaynz for constantly updating this page as things have changed through the week.

Starting with Christchurch, because that’s where I am. There will be afree concert at the Pallet Pavilion from 6pm, featuring Anika Moa. The third reading will be shown.

I will not be there, and given the forecast and the venue, I won’t be the only one. Luckily (and contrary to what was reported in The Press) it’s not the only game in town. A bunch of us will be heading along to join Tony Milne and the Christchurch Campaign for Marriage Equality upstairs at the Pegasus Arms from 7pm for viewing and drinking. It’s always nice to have company when you’re yelling at the television.

Wellington, where they really know how to celebrate some legislation. Legalise Love has a lunchtime picnic planned on Parliament’s lawn from 12-2. Again, the weather is probably going to be a factor there. For the reading itself, the public gallery is full, but there’s now overflow space in the Legislative Council Chamber. On the other hand, Back Benches is also filming that night, right across the road. The official after-party is, of course, at San Francisco Bath-house, and it’s free.

You can also watch the debate and the vote at S&M’s and Ivy.

Auckland. You can watch the debate at Caluzzi, or The Zookeeper’s Son. The latter venue would like you to RSVP. I remain convinced there must be more going on in our northern city. Let’s not keep it a secret. EDIT: Gaynz have added an event at Family, from 9pm. That’s more like it.

The gaynz page also has details of events in Hamilton, Palmerston North, WaihekeIsland and, yes, Blenhiem. Nothing for Dunedin. Yes, it’s cold, but I know y’all have bars down there.

The debate will be on Sky and Freeview, and you can stream it here.

In the midst of all this celebration, I can’t help but spare a thought for the legislation’s opponents. They’ve found themselves a minority in our society that some people feel it’s okay to say mean things about. I can’t even imagine what that must be like. And imagine the strain of maintaining the cognitive dissonance of continuing to believe they were right when all around them, society fails to fall apart.

On the other hand, maybe they’re right, and I’m wrong. Maybe I really will wake up tomorrow gay-married to my cat while fire and brimstone rains from the sky. All the more reason to party hard tonight.

 

(Always gay-drink gay-responsibly and all that.)

 

Pay As You Weigh(t, what??)

The thing is…it makes sense, I guess. I don’t know. I don’t know enough about economics or aeronautics to know. But yes. Logic dictates that the heavier the plane is, the more fuel it’ll use. I get it. I don’t know. Maybe they could try to come up with more efficient engines or ways to fly? But I don’t know.

Which is why, I guess, for those of you that don’t confront this all the time, it seems fair and logical. Sure. I weigh more, I should pay more. It works out great for you, because you only weigh 75 kilos. Your flight might even be cheaper! Fatties like me will be subsidizing it. And it’s fair, right? If I don’t want to pay more, I can just lose weight. Or not fly.

Except…I do deal with this all the time, so I see it a little differently. I already pay more. My clothes cost more. I can’t just go to glassons. I have to go to expensive stores, where they don’t have anything I want to wear anyway. To buy underwear requires an engineering degree and the GDP of a country similar to Samoa, and god forbid I want anything sexy. I go to the supermarket, and the pantyhose I want to by are more expensive than “normal” stockings, and even when the same brand is on sale, the plus-size ones never are.

This is fat hatred, plain and simple. Maybe the company doesn’t think it is, but then, the company doesn’t seem to have thought about much. How is it going to treat pregnant people? Or people who require wheelchairs or walking sticks? The CEO thinks that this will encourage people to get healthier. I think it will just encourage people to be ashamed of their bodies. Especially when they turn up at the airport and have to pay more, because they’ve gained a kilogram since they bought their ticket. Flying is already humiliating enough, what with the cramming oneself into the seat, and wondering if this is the time the seatbelt won’t reach round you, and the moment when the person next to you comes up the aisle and their face falls when they realise they’re sitting next to a fat chick. Way to make it worse.

Yes, I could lose weight. That’s an…. argument. But given no weight loss programme is proven to work, and companies have spent billions of dollars developing them, lets put that aside for a moment. My option is to not fly. What if I have to fly for work? So now my career is threatened because of my weight? (More than it already is) What if I want to attend a wedding or a funeral? Sorry can’t afford the fat tariff, can’t go.

I’m pretty comfortable discussing my body these days, and I came to a realization a while ago that fat hatred can’t hurt me. Because there’s nothing anyone can say to me that I haven’t already told myself. But this? Made me want to crawl into a hole and cry. This? made me rage and type in all caps and yell at people I like. This? Made me never want to visit Samoa, a country I love, ever again. This encourages a stigma against fat people, is shaming and policing and concern trolling, and will do nothing whatsoever to address the very real lifestyle disease problems that Samoa faces.

This? Is why we can’t have nice things.

Comment of the Month II

You guys remember Brody, right? Good times. Apparently March is when the trolls come out, because just over a year later, Peter wants us to know he agrees with Brody about how much we women suck.

It’s a shame “Peter” isn’t more original, because a quick Google shows that he cut and paste his (long-winded) comment from noted Pick Up Artist and MRA “Roosh”. (To whom I am not linking because I am not sending even one person his way. Feel free to Google the first couple of lines of Peter’s comment – you’ll find it pretty easy. Disclaimer: The Lady Garden takes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage caused by the rage that will ensue.) (Incidentally, “Roosh” is one of the people behind the Reddit “victims of feminism” fund, and yes, Googling that will result in some impressive head-desking.)

Anyway. If you have the stomach for some mind-blowingly poor logic and some incredible misogyny, here it is. Be entertained. Trigger warning for…well, massive douchbaggery, I guess.

—-

I completely agree with Brody. You see, the problem with modern feminism is that it has disrupted a gender equilibrium that has existed for millenia. And yes, that equilibrium had men exerting their control and superiority over women, but it was an equilibrium nonetheless that has helped the human species perpetuate and colonize the Earth. Feminism’s successful foray on mainstream culture has destroyed that balance and made it increasingly hopeless for today’s man to land a decent woman who cherishes him, let alone one who can be a suitable mother to his children.

I will concede that some aspects of feminism are just and proper. Women should have some say of how many children they want, if they want to work, and if they want to get married (and with whom). They should not be held as sex slaves against their will. They should be rewarded based on their skills and accomplishments just like a man should, and equal pay for equal work is reasonable. However, today we have women overreaching and demanding more than their fair share. They want high positions not based on their skills but simply because they are female, continually shoving false “glass-ceiling” and unequal pay myths down our throats. They want courts to subjugate men they divorce for the most trivial of reasons, and they want to put-down and play any man who attempts to form a connection with them using a provider (beta) game that has worked for his most recent ancestors.

Unfortunately there will be no setting back of the clock. As long as women retain suffrage, our politicians will continue to appease them for votes by refusing to scale back anti-man laws. Unfit mothers will continue to keep custody rights while fathers pay support for a child who is brainwashed against him. Single motherhoodwill increasingly be glorified. And as long as American-style capitalism provides decreasing job opportunities for men, women will continue to excel in mundane office jobs that better suit their social, emotional brains instead of the factory and engineering jobs of the past that provided men with a fair income for his entire family.

I believe that today’s man can still restore his dominion in a world that is skewing against his favor by doing one thing: becoming a sexist. He must possess sexist beliefs for three reasons:

1. To have sexual relationships with women who are at least as pretty as he is handsome.

2. To assert his superiority over his female competitors in the workplace by playing the office game as well as they do (e.g. constantly bringing up accomplishments to managers, being outspoken, being two-faced, ass-kissing, and backstabbing).

3. To get laid at all.

In the past you didn’t have to believe that you were superior to women. The system was set up so that all you had to do was go to school, get a good-paying local job, and ask your mom to put in a good word with the neighbor’s cute daughter. The first girl you fucked would probably be your wife, you’d have your two kids, and you’d live the so-called American dream. Today this is not possible. Your father’s father would be unsuccessful at mating in today’s climate of feminism which has allowed a tiny percentage of alpha men to monopolize the best women. As American women become more obese and gross, there are fewer desirable women left outside of the alpha males’ harems. The nice guy is left with nothing but scraps—and those scraps have attitude.

While it doesn’t look good for you in terms of marriage, at the minimum any educated, employed man in a first-world nation should be able to sleep with a handful of decent women a year. But without having sexist beliefs, he will wholeheartedly struggle in that front. Here’s what it means to be a sexist:

Having a low level of respect for women.

Having the belief that the genders are not equal (you should nod or smile at the following quote: “A woman can do anything a man can do, as long as a man first shows her how”).

Not listening to them about anything.

Studying flavors of game based on the alpha-male model, an effective countermeasure to feminism.

Preferring the company of compliant, feminine women of different nationalities where feminism has not made strong inroads (Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South America).

You don’t have to hate women and you don’t have to abuse them. You don’t have to commit any crimes against them. But you must believe that you are superior and deserve more than them. With the addition of game practice, you will then be sexually rewarded for those beliefs.

It’s a sad fact that the modern feminist withholds sex from the nice guy, disgusted with his subservience, while servicing the sexist alpha man, increasing his power and rewarding him with more sexual delights than he could have experienced since the days of Itzcoatl. The nice guy is weak and starved, left sexless and alone, a pathetic specimen resigned to the brunt of jokes in beer commercials and crappy sitcoms. If he wants to be procreate, he has no choice but to rise from the ashes a sexist. The more of those beliefs he accepts, the more he’ll get what he wants in the fucked-up world we currently live in.

Enjoy the comments, darlings.

Rape Culture: You’re soaking in it

What’s important when you are writing a headline about a case of sexual assault? Making sure your headline isn’t triggering? Showing sensitivity to the alleged victim? Ensuring you’re not committing contempt of court?

Nah, it’s shoehorning in a comment on a 13-year-old girl’s sexual attractiveness.

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And iphone screen grab from the Christchurch Press, with the headline “Man denies sex with ‘pretty hot’ 13-year-old”.

Yep. Because that’s relevant.

I don’t want to get into an argument about whether a 20 year old having sex with a 13 year old constitutes rape. But this headline, ladies and gentlemen? That’s rape culture.

#marriageequality: ALL THE FEELS

For your edification, the man declared by Twitter to have won the debate. Highlights include ghost chips, eschatological, and Two. Two!

Not so sharp, Akshually

“We’d cover cripples, left-handers and all the rest of it.”

Seven o’clock isn’t a particularly important time slot to me, darlings, as it’s the time of day I generally get out of bed and have my breakfast champagne. But I understand it’s something that some people get a bit exercised over.

So, I sat down one night to watch this flash new Seven Sharp programme. I thought it might be interesting. I wasn’t expecting to start the day so angry I was shaking.

Let’s talk about women in the workplace, they thought. Let’s do a fine, if glib, piece about women on boards. We won’t talk about the gender pay gap. We won’t talk about work-life balance, or any of the things that are important in terms of getting, and keeping, women in the workforce. But it will be tongue in cheek, and a bit irreverent, and everything will be fine, if hardly ground-breaking.

So….then what should we do? We should get an expert on. Someone who can talk about women in the workplace. Maybe one of the unions? No, not controversial enough. Hey, this chick might know what she’s talking about? No, too…well, expert. And a woman. No one trusts those.

No, let’s get someone guaranteed to give us a good soundbite. Someone whose misogyny, homophobia and general hatred of people he doesn’t like is legend. It won’t add anything to the debate, it’ll allow him to call our host, one of New Zealand’s most experienced broadcasters, “the token female”. Why bother to actually cover a story, an important issue, when we can stir up some outrage?

And hey, in their defence, it worked. I am outraged. Couple of things, Sir Bob. There’s a myriad of reasons women don’t want to stay on after five, many of which involve childcare, and the fact that that’s how many hours they are PAID FOR. But also, it’s entirely possible they don’t want to stay on and have a drink because you are such a raging asshole. This country is dominated by women in politics? That’s why women make up only 32%of the house, and only 6 women in cabinet. COOL STORY BRO.

And then there’s this. Thanks Seven Sharp. You’ve freed up a whole half hour in the evening for me!

Don’t panic everyone. I still know. I just don’t give a shit.

This morning, I was noodling around on Tumblr, thinking about this post, and how I was having trouble figuring out what I wanted to say, when I saw a comment fat-shaming a manatee. A fucking manatee. And I realised what it was that I wanted to say.

It’s this: SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU IGNORANT, HATEFUL, SPINELESS PIECES OF SHIT.

It’s a year since I wrote this post. I was in a pretty horrible place then, and writing all that shit down didn’t help. Your comments and tweets and emails did, but even with that, it was a few days before I even felt up to leaving the house, and weeks before I felt like I could be myself again. I’m glad I wrote it, but darlings, that piece hurt.

A lot can change in a year, though. A lot. Everything. In thinking about how I wanted to re-write that post, I asked Twitter to talk to me about your bodies. And what you told me is that you love your body – in private and with the people that you love. You love it for what it can do, for its strength and capacities. But the world hates it, and you hate that the world hates it. Or, you hate it, but you still feel like you deserve respect and care and love anyway. Or, you hate it, and you try to hide it, and the world has taught you that it is your responsibility to hide it because your fleshsack is disgusting and unsightly and ungainly, and no one should suffer the indignity of having to look at it. Because Eeeew.

Darlings? FUCK THAT SHIT. And fuck everyone who has ever made us feel that way.

Here’s what I know now.

My body is capable of great things. Of incredible pleasure and immense pain, and a gamut of sensations in between. The world hates my body, and wants me to feel bad about myself because of it. And it is so easy to fall into that trap, so much easier than fighting it. To hide, and cover up, and not force the world to embrace my pasty ass. And hey, I’m fat, so I’m inherently lazy, right?

No. Walking the street in my body is an act of defiance. Wearing togs in public is an act of incredible strength. I’m Joan of fucking Arc in an tight dress. OK, I’m not, because beheading makes me squeamish and my French is schoolgirl at best these days, but I’m someone awesome.

And I’m not someone awesome in spite of my body. I inhabit it, I feed it, I feel it move. My stomach is as much a part of me as my ability to quip. And I am going to love it, even as a multi-billion dollar industry tells me every minute of every day not to. Because I am smarter than them, and I don’t care about their profit margins and their messages about perfection. Perfection is dull, and I am as cute as all hell, and anyone who thinks different isn’t worth my time.

So, my darlings, what can I tell you? Pour yourself a bourbon, or your self-medication of choice, and think about this. If you’re fat, or thin, or bald, or whatever way you fall outside the beauty norm, take heart. If you left the house today, you were brave, and you deserve a pat on the back. Your body is beautiful. Every body is beautiful. And you deserve better.

You deserve a world where your friends don’t tell fat jokes. Where ads implying you are unworthy of basic human dignity because of your size, or your hair colour, or your ugly hands, use that insecurity to sell you things. Where the fat girl in the movie is always a comic, and there are no fat men at all. You deserve a world where your health is a matter between you and your doctor and your loved ones, and not random strangers or well-meaning colleagues. Where people understand that the size of your thighs says nothing about the quality of your personhood.

I don’t know how to make that world, but I have to think that those tiny acts of defiance, of walking with our heads high and our chests out has to help. It’s not easy, and it’s not something I can ask of anyone, but it is something I am trying to do. Some days it takes all my chutzpah, but I am leaving the house, and saying Fuck The Haters, I like my short skirt, and if you don’t, you can kiss my ass.

I still feel all those things I felt last year. I still want to hide. I still want to curl into a ball and cry when I see the sandwiches scene at the end of Bridesmaids. But when we live in a world where some person can apologise for posting a photo of a manatee because it’s not “thinspo” we have work to do, and I am not going to waste time caring about people who are so shallow they think the size of my ass matters at all.

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