Today's Lesson

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

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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 

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I tell my students that when you write, you should pretend you’re writing the best letter you ever wrote to the smartest friend you have. That way, you’ll never dumb things down. You won’t have to explain things that don’t need explaining. You’ll assume an intimacy and a natural shorthand, which is good because readers are smart and don’t wish to be condescended to.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Art of Fiction, No. 215). (via the-library-and-step-on-it)

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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)

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When someone tells you, “I love you,” and then you feel, “Oh, I must be worthy after all,” that’s an illusion. That’s not true. Or someone says, “I hate you,” and you think, “Oh, God, I knew it; I’m not very worthy,” that’s not true either. Neither one of these thoughts hold any intrinsic reality. They are an overlay. When someone says, “I love you,” he is telling you about himself, not you. When someone says, “I hate you,” she is telling you about herself, not you. World views are self views—literally.
Adyashanti  (via larmoyante)

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It’s sort of like if you have two kids, and you give one of them a cookie and the other one half a cookie. Then you give the kid with half a cookie another half a cookie to make it even, and the kid with the whole cookie starts to scream about how it’s not fair that the second kid got ‘two cookies’.
My friend on the subject of privileged groups claiming to be oppressed by steps taken to work towards equality of oppressed groups.   (via nationofsluts)

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By comparison, domestic violence is downright controversial. It touches on complicated issues like power, rape culture, victim-blaming, and gender roles, and stirs up uncomfortable emotions. While few people would claim they support abusers, many known perpetrators of domestic violence — from Roman Polanski to Chris Brown to a number of football players — remain venerated cultural figures. Is it any wonder that, even though domestic violence affects many more women and families, breast cancer is the issue we’ve all come to associate with October? Every year 232,340 women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer; 1.3 million are assaulted by their husbands or boyfriends. One in eight women will suffer from breast cancer in her lifetime. One in four will experience domestic violence. Good luck finding that statistic on a yogurt lid this month.

Ann Friedman, NY Magazine (via 500fairytales)

I’m just gonna leave this here…

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month wont be recognized because its not “sexy.” You cant make tshirts, bracelets, etc. with some sexist saying like “save the tatas” for domestic violence awareness. 

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shwetanarayan:

processedlives:

From The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics by George Lipsitz


[Text says: If white racism manifested itself exclusively through hostility and exclusion it would be easier to understand and to combat. Yet the long history of interracial relations has also created a possessive investment in whiteness that entails embracing people of color and their cultures in condescending and controlling ways. The recurrence of racial stereotypes in art and in life, the frequent invocation of people of color as sources of inspiration or forgiveness for whites, and the white fascination with certain notions of “primitive” authenticity among communities of color, all testify to the white investment in images that whites themselves have created about people of color. In his excellent study of blackface minstrelsy, Eric Lott identifies both “love and theft” as components of the white racist imagination. These emotions and acts form the central force in the dynamics of white desire manifested in the reception of the blues music of Robert Johnson.]

The white investment in images that whites themselves have created about people of color.  
I’ve been having thinkythoughts also about the white investment in images that white people have created about themselves, also, and what level of historical accuracy is acceptable; and this bounces off those thoughts in ways I can’t put into words yet.

shwetanarayan:

processedlives:

From The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics by George Lipsitz

[Text says: If white racism manifested itself exclusively through hostility and exclusion it would be easier to understand and to combat. Yet the long history of interracial relations has also created a possessive investment in whiteness that entails embracing people of color and their cultures in condescending and controlling ways. The recurrence of racial stereotypes in art and in life, the frequent invocation of people of color as sources of inspiration or forgiveness for whites, and the white fascination with certain notions of “primitive” authenticity among communities of color, all testify to the white investment in images that whites themselves have created about people of color. In his excellent study of blackface minstrelsy, Eric Lott identifies both “love and theft” as components of the white racist imagination. These emotions and acts form the central force in the dynamics of white desire manifested in the reception of the blues music of Robert Johnson.]

The white investment in images that whites themselves have created about people of color. 

I’ve been having thinkythoughts also about the white investment in images that white people have created about themselves, also, and what level of historical accuracy is acceptable; and this bounces off those thoughts in ways I can’t put into words yet.

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In 1970 the ‘women’s’ movement was called ‘Women’s Liberation’ or, contempously, ‘Women’s Lib.’ When the name ‘Libbers’ was dropped for ‘Feminists’ we were all relieved. What none of us noticed was that the ideal of liberation was fading out with the word.
Germaine Greer - The Whole Woman (via they-called-me-vilde-chaya)

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