Today's Lesson

Librarian 9-5, M-F. Significantly stranger person all other times.

Posts tagged feminism

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As women, when we’re children we’re taught to enter the world with big hearts. Blooming hearts. Hearts bigger than our damn fists. We are taught to forgive - constantly - as opposed to what young boys are taught: Revenge, to get ‘even.’ Our empathy is constantly made appeals to, often demanded for. If we refuse to show kindness, we are reprimanded. We are not good women if we do not crush our bones to make more space for the world, if we do not spread our entire skin over rocks for others to tread on, if we do not kill ourselves in every meaning of the word in the process of making it cozy for everyone else. It is the heat generated by the burning of our bodies with which the world keeps warm. We are taught to sacrifice so much for so little. This is the general principle all over the world.

By the time we are young women, we are tired. Most of us are drained. Some of us enter a lock of silence because of that lethargy. Some of us lash out. When I think of that big, blooming heart we once had, it looks shriveled and worn out now. When I was teaching, I had a young student named Mariam. She was only 11 years old. Some boy pushed her around in class, called her names, broke her spirit for the day. We were sitting under a chestnut tree on a field trip and she asked me if a boy ever hurt me. I told her many did and I destroyed them one by one. I think that’s the first time she ever heard the word ‘destroyed.’ We rarely teach our girls to fight back for the right reasons.

Take up more space as a woman. Take up more time. Take your time. You are taught to hide, censor, move about without messing up decorum for a man’s comfort. Whether it’s said or not, you’re taught balance. Forget that. Displease. Disappoint. Destroy. Be loud, be righteous, be messy. Mess up and it’s fine – you are learning to unlearn. Do not see yourself like glass. Like you could get dirty and clean. You are flesh. You are not constant. You change. Society teaches women to maintain balance and that robs us of our volatility. Our mercurial hearts. Calm and chaos. Love only when needed; preserve otherwise.

Do not be a moth near the light; be the light itself. Do not let a man’s ocean-big ego swallow you up. Know what you want. Ask yourself first. Decide your own pace. Decide your own path. Be cruel when needed. Be gentle only when needed. Collapse and then re-construct. When someone says you are being obscene, say yes I am. When they say you are being wrong, say yes I am. When they say you are being selfish, say yes I am. Why shouldn’t I be? How do you expect a woman to stand on her two feet if you keep striking her at the ankles.

There are multiple lessons we must teach our young girls so that they render themselves their own pillars instead of keeping male approval as the focal point of their lives. It is so important to state your feelings of inconvenience as a woman. We are instructed to tailor ourselves and our discomfort - constantly told that we are ‘whining’ and ‘nagging’ and ‘complaining too much.’ That kind of silence is horribly violent, that kind of insistence upon uniformly nodding in agreement to your own despair, and smiling emptily so no man is ever uncomfortable around us. Male-entitlement dictates a woman’s silence. If we could see the mimetic model of the erasure of a woman’s voice, it would be an incredibly bloody sight.

On a breezy July night, my mother and I were sleeping under the open sky. Before dozing off, I told her that I think there is a special place in heaven where all wounded women bury their broken hearts and their hearts grow into trees that only give fruit to the good and poison to the bad. She smiled and said Ameen. Then she closed her eyes.

A Woman of War by Mehreen Kasana (via pbnpineapples)

this is so empowering! beautiful 

(via dirtyflowerchild)

(via seananmcguire)

Filed under feminism equality quote

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thebooksmugglers:

rhube:

bookshop:

The “butthurt” women of sci-fi have taken over Patrick Rothfuss’s #SoWeary tag as Hugos uproar continues.

I missed this on Twitter. Jesus. And Wil. I want so badly to keepyou as my hero. I haven’t unfollowed you on Twitter, yet, but boy am I glad I unfollowed you on Tumblr. You really need to understand that if you don’t want to be a dick, you have to maintain an awareness of your own privilege.

Very disappointed too. Kameron Hurley wrote an awesome take on this - worth a read.

Rage Doesn’t Exist in a Vacuum, or: Understanding the Complex Continuum of Internet Butt-Hurt*

(via elfgrove)

Filed under equality feminism racism twitter geek cakepls privilege

13,029 notes

Ambition is demanded of us because we know mediocrity is not an option. When society tells women that if we are just averagely good-looking, or averagely smart, or reasonably high-achieving, we will never be loved and safe, perfectionism is an adaptive strategy. We learn that if we want love and security, we have to be perfect, and if it doesn’t work out, well, that means we just weren’t good enough. And we know it probably won’t work out well. Girls aren’t fools. They know what is being done to them. They know what means for their futures in terms of money and power.

Girls get it. An under-reported, crucial facet of the study is the extent and cynicism of girls’ concerns about economic equality and unpaid work. A full 65% of girls aged 11-21 are worried about the cost of childcare, and while 58% say they “would like to become a leader in their chosen profession, 46% of them worry that having children will negatively affect their career.

Girls know perfectly well that structural sexism means they can’t have everything they’re being told they must have. They are striving to have it all everyway, striving to have everything and be everything like good girls are supposed to, and it hasn’t broken them yet, for good or ill. That’s is one reason young women still do so well in school and at college despite our good grades not translating to real-world success. It’s one reason we’re so good at getting those entry-level service jobs: we are not burdened by the excess of ego, the desire to be treated like a human being first, that prevents many young men from engaging proactively with an economy that just wants self-effacing drones trained to smile till it hurts.

The press just loves to act concerned about half-naked young ladies, preferably with illustrations to facilitate the concern. Somehow nothing changes. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe part of the function of the constant stream of news about young girls hurting and hating themselves isn’t to raise awareness. Maybe part of it is designed to be reassuring.

It must be comforting, if you’re invested in the status quo, to hear that young women are punished and made miserable when they misbehave.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat it: for all those knuckle-clutching articles about how girls everywhere are about to pirouette into twerking, puking, self-hating whorishness, we do not actually care about young women - not, that is, about female people who happen to be young. Instead, we care about Young Women (TM), fantasy Young Women as a semiotic skip for all our cultural anxieties. We value girls as commodities without paying them the respect that both their youth and their personhood deserves. Being fifteen is fucked up enough already without having the expectations, moral neuroses and guilty lusts of an entire culture projected onto this perfect empty shell you’re somehow supposed to be. Hollow yourself out and starve yourself down until you can swallow the shame of the world.

We care about young women as symbols, not as people.

Girl trouble: we care about young women as symbols, not as people

(via socio-logic)

"perfectionism is an adaptive strategy"

(via geardrops)

Wow. Thought provoking.

(via wilwheaton)

(Source: arabellesicardi, via magicalsillage)

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fuchsimeon:

humansolatium:

tinydragongina:

elizabitchtaylor:

I’m such a nice girl, I’m so sick of being fuckzoned!!!!!!!

What’s the fuckzone you ask? it’s this zone that guys put you in where they only want to fuck you; they don’t want to have a friendship with you and they aren’t satisfied with emotional commitment, they just want sex!!!!!

I’m a nice girl!!!! Stop putting me in the fuckzone!!!!!!!

image

omfg yes

That is the best answer to that “friendzone” bullshit I have ever read.

(via feuervogel)

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ink-splotch:

There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that.” - JK Rowling

Can we talk about Susan’s fabulous adventures after Narnia? The ones where she wears nylons and elegant blouses when she wants to, and short skirts and bright lipstick when she wants to, and hiking boots and tough jeans and big men’s plaid shirts when she feels like backpacking out into the mountains and remembering what it was to be lost in a world full of terrific beauty— I know her siblings say she stops talking about it, that Susan walks away from the memories of Narnia, but I don’t think she ever really forgot.

I want to read about Susan finishing out boarding school as a grown queen reigning from a teenaged girl’s body. School bullies and peer pressure from children and teachers who treat you like you’re less than sentient wouldn’t have the same impact. C’mon, Susan of the Horn, Susan who bested the DLF at archery, and rode a lion, and won wars, sitting in a school uniform with her eyebrows rising higher and higher as some old goon at the front of the room slams his fist on the lectern. 

Susan living through WW2, huddling with her siblings, a young adult (again), a fighting queen and champion marksman kept from the action, until she finally storms out against screaming parents’ wishes and volunteers as a nurse on the front. She keeps a knife or two hidden under her clothes because when it comes down to it, they called her Gentle, but sometimes loving means fighting for what you care for. 

She’ll apply to a women’s college on the East Coast, because she fell in love with America when her parents took her there before the war. She goes in majoring in Literature (her ability to decipher High Diction in historical texts is uncanny), but checks out every book she can on history, philosophy, political science. She sneaks into the boys’ school across town and borrows their books too. She was once responsible for a kingdom, roads and taxes and widows and crops and war. She grew from child to woman with that mantle of duty wrapped around her shoulders. Now, tossed here on this mundane land, forever forbidden from her true kingdom, Susan finds that she can give up Narnia but she cannot give up that responsibility. She looks around and thinks I could do this better.

I want Susan sneaking out to drink at pubs with the girls, her friends giggling at the boys checking them out from across the way, until Susan walks over (with her nylons, with her lipstick, with her sovereignty written out in whatever language she damn well pleases) and beats them all at pool. Susan studying for tests and bemoaning Aristotle and trading a boy with freckles all over his nose shooting lessons so that he will teach her calculus. Susan kissing boys and writing home to Lucy and kissing girls and helping smuggle birth control to the ladies in her dorm because Susan Pevensie is a queen and she understands the right of a woman to rule over her own body. 

Susan losing them all to a train crash, Edmund and Peter and Lucy, Jill and Eustace, and Lucy and Lucy and Lucy, who Susan’s always felt the most responsible for. Because this is a girl who breathes responsibility, the little mother to her three siblings until a wardrobe whisked them away and she became High Queen to a whole land, ruled it for more than a decade, then came back centuries later as a legend. What it must do to you, to be a legend in the body of a young girl, to have that weight on your shoulders and have a lion tell you that you have to let it go. What is must do to you, to be left alone to decide whether to bury your family in separate ceremonies, or all at once, the same way they died, all at once and without you. What it must do to you, to stand there in black, with your nylons, and your lipstick, and feel responsible for these people who you will never be able to explain yourself to and who you can never save. 

Maybe she dreams sometimes they made it back to Narnia after all. Peter is a king again. Lucy walks with Aslan and all the dryads dance. Maybe Susan dreams that she went with them— the train jerks, a bright light, a roar calling you home. 

Maybe she doesn’t. 

Susan grows older and grows up. Sometimes she hears Lucy’s horrified voice in her head, “Nylons? Lipstick, Susan? Who wants to grow up?”  and Susan thinks, “Well you never did, Luce.” Susan finishes her degree, stays in America (England looks too much like Narnia, too much like her siblings, and too little, all at once). She starts writing for the local paper under the pseudonym Frank Tumnus, because she wants to write about politics and social policy and be listened to, because the name would have made Edmund laugh. 

She writes as Susan Pevensie, too, about nylons and lipstick, how to give a winning smiles and throw parties, because she knows there is a kind of power there and she respects it. She won wars with war sometimes, in Narnia, but sometimes she stopped them before they began.

Peter had always looked disapprovingly on the care with which Susan applied her makeup back home in England, called it vanity. And even then, Susan would smile at him, say “I use what weapons I have at hand,” and not explain any more than that. The boy ruled at her side for more than a decade. He should know better. 

Vain is not the proper word. This is about power. But maybe Peter wouldn’t have liked the word “ambition” any more than “vanity.”

Susan is a young woman in the 50s and 60s. Frank Tumnus has quite the following now. He’s written a few books, controversial, incendiary. Susan gets wrapped up in the civil rights movement, because of course she would. It’s not her first war. All the same, she almost misses the White Witch. Greed is a cleaner villain than senseless hate. She gets on the Freedom Rider bus, mails Mr. Tumnus articles back home whenever there’s a chance, those rare occasions they’re not locked up or immediately threatened. She is older now than she ever was in Narnia. Susan dreams about Telemarines killing fauns. 

Time rolls on. Maybe she falls in love with a young activist or an old cynic. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe Frank Tumnus, controversial in the moment, brilliant in retrospect, gets offered an honorary title from a prestigious university. She declines and publishes an editorial revealing her identity. Her paper fires her. Three others mail her job offers. 

When Vietnam rolls around, she protests in the streets. Susan understands the costs of war. She has lived through not just through the brutal wars of one life, but two. 

Maybe she has children now. Maybe she tells them stories about a magical place and a magical lion, the stories Lucy and Edmund brought home about how if you sail long enough you reach the place where the seas fall off the edge of the world. But maybe she tells them about Cinderella instead, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, except Rapunzel cuts off her own hair and uses it to climb down the tower and escape. The damsel uses what tools she has at hand. 

A lion told her to walk away, and she did. He forbade her magic, he forbade her her own kingdom, so she made her own. 

Susan Pevensie did not lose faith. She found it. 

(Source: ifallelseperished, via themarysue)

Filed under feminism literature narnia movie history

74,931 notes

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.
the curse of the teenage girl - J.M (via spinals)

(Source: lushpuppy, via ashleyrealitymurphy)

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