To my liberal, feminist friends who are men: you are fucking killing me.

Hi, how are you doing? You’re probably doing well, you’re probably doing some good things out there. Fighting the good fight. Good on you.

I know why you’ve reached out to me. You probably do believe I’m a good friend and I do think that you’d like to see me as your equal. You’re all for fighting for gender equality anyway- teaching boys that they can have emotions, teaching them not to call women sluts (in public). I’ve seen you participating in numerous feminist discussions and brazenly announcing yourself as feminist in the right public setting (the RIGHT one, mind you).

However, my friend, we both know that there are a few reasons at the core of why you may have contacted me today:

  1. Validation. You want your feminist efforts to go noticed. You want to comment on how ‘terrible’ that guy was who commented on my status (because he had blatantly sexist views as well as hidden, learned behaviours). You want to tell me about all of the micro-aggressions you stopped happening today by being the macho man and stepping in for us. You want to send me a feminist article and say ‘thought you might like this’ (an hour later I see you tag your friend in a racist meme). Tell me about all the good things you’ve done for us poor women so that I can pour that well earned validation on you.
  2. Emotional Labour. After I’ve validated your brave efforts to keep the patriarchy at bay while simultaneously benefitting from it (thank you again), I’ll listen to you talk about all the issues you can’t discuss with ‘the boys’. I’m like a bottomless jar for your shit talk apparently, and I have no emotions or interests or life of my own. Fill ‘er up bud!
  3. Pity. You’re such a nice guy, why are bad things happening to you? Why aren’t you getting laid? Why is work so shit? Why aren’t you getting that promotion you deserve? Why didn’t she text you back? Why did she go home with Brad and not you??? Well, I could break down the fact that women aren’t actually here to repay your kindness (basic human decency…) with sex (why else would you try and be nice to a woman right? they’re not actually fun to talk to) but… the friend-zone myth it is.
  4. To subconsciously remind me that I’m inferior to you. Your dreams are bigger, your aspirations matter more, you take up more space in the world, you know more than me about well, let’s face it, everything! But, of course, women should get as many opportunities as they can- as long as it’s under the system that still allows you all of your privileges. We’ll have a peaceful integration of equality… mostly for white women… upper/middle class white women… upper/middle class white women that you find fuck-able.
  5. So that you can eventually fuck me (my personal favourite). Ooooh the ol’ does he actually care about women or does he just wanna get laid conundrum. I can see right through you and I know what you’re doing. Stop it.

Despite our interactions pretty much constantly following the same patterns, I would like to (actually, sincerely) thank you. I know that as a cis-gendered, able-bodied, white woman, I can be a fucking irritating cis-gendered, able-bodied, white woman. I have been really irritatingly privileged in a lot of settings, particularly social media, and I know I’ve pissed people off- even if they haven’t said anything. Thinking about interactions with my friends who are liberal, feminist men and reflecting on how angry they make me- not because they’re being outwardly sexist but because they’re almost patronisingly, subconsciously holding up the patriarchy- reminds me that I need to work on how I do this every day. How I hold up my own privilege and how, when we think we’ve learned it all and we’re the perfect allies, we’re not. Perfect ally-ship does not exist, just like perfect humanity does not exist. Being an ally is not a flashy badge that you should carry around, it’s helping to effectively shift foundations without a welling of your own ego. It’s about hurting your ego. Deflating it. We need to listen and shut up more. I need to listen and shut up more.

And you- my liberal, feminist friends who are men- I love you. I appreciate what you’re doing. You have a role in this fight but this is not about you. Also, you don’t plateau in this struggle. You keep learning. You listen. You de-centralise yourself.

It’s been nice talking to you, bud.

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To my liberal, feminist friends who are men: you are fucking killing me.

@ the butcher

Today was another day that I stepped back into that room

The one where flames licked the walls as you spat at me

You spat at me and told me that it wasn’t rape

Take my finger and point it at the head of a girl

Who got drank too much

Wore that dress

Said yes the first time

& Shoot.

 

Today was another day that I stepped back onto that driveway

The one where the moonlight is pooling red around me

Your hollow teen eyes filling up with alcohol watching it happen

I wonder if you think about all those nights

And cringe now

I wonder if you’ve tried to push it down

Like I have,

Smother it.

 

Today was another day that I tried to please your ego

By being less loud, less opinionated, less intelligent, less brave

I’m a butcher everyday, I choose which chunk of myself to present to you

To make myself more palatable

So I’ll lie down next to you

All of you

Every single one

& Carve.

@ the butcher

this is not about you

White

Teeth are being tossed around like skittles on pavements from white stranger to white stranger, welcome to our world;

There is time and space enough here for you to lie in grass that is sweating in 60% humidity on a day that is a cloudless 35-degree simmer,

Limbs melt and mind shakes itself awake,

 

This is a decentralisation process.

This is not about you.

 

White

Limbs that you see every day plastered all over high rises that rest on the bones of slaves, who clothed your ancestors-who fed the empire-who created but were not credited-who watch the abuse of the land-who bled-

Who bled.

Those white limbs they are the same limbs that you see in your mirror but there is no use feeling guilty for them

because guilt is no use to anyone if it does not drive action.

 

This is not about you.

 

White

Light, let it filter through your eyelids while you think of every time that you have felt hard done by because you were not central to the narrative:

Unpack your need to be superior and included, unpack your need to be superior and included, unpack your need to be superior and included.

Pull yourself out from under that simmering sky

Listen. Learn. Don’t speak.

 

THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU.

This is a decentralisation process.

this is not about you

GIRL

(CN: eating disorders, violence)

There was a girl and there was a room. She had been in the room for as long as she could remember, and although she supposed she could get out she also supposed that she didn’t want to. The room was large and full of very entertaining, beautiful things. In one corner was a large thick pile of glossy reading material, in the other was a heavy set wardrobe laden with beautiful clothes. The wardrobe was self selecting so that the girl never had to worry about being respectfully presentable. The girl was visited by many people but primarily by one man.

The man wore many faces and she never knew which one he would be entering with. Sometimes he wore a kind face that would smile at her when she told him about her dreams, a smile that you could give a child asking for something sweet when you know that they won’t be getting it. Sometimes he wore a wrinkled frown, particularly when talking about other girls, nasty girls who did nasty things that were wrong and bad, things that no respectable girl like her would do. Sometimes he wore a face that looked like what one would imagine a thundercloud would, those were the worst days. On these days he would scream words that sounded like knives ripping from his mouth, he would tear up her glossy books and throw her clothes out of the window. On these days he would often add another lock to her door in order to keep her safe.

Some days, he brought visitors, so she never was starved for company. His friends were men and women and they all looked the same, like they were floating through a dream. They wore expensive silks and ecstasy smiles. They sat down with her and told her about the outside, about how some countries and languages and skin tones were better than others, about how people chose their own fates according to their decisions and about how there were sacrifices that one had to make for world peace. When they were together, sometimes they made visits together with the man, when they talked about world peace they would laugh a big cotton candy laugh and their ecstasy smiles would melt into a pool at her feet. The pool would linger there for days, she would step gingerly around it.

The man said that when they gave her advice, she should take it because their advice was called ‘rationality.’ They gave her lots of rationality- they told her that because she was a girl she couldn’t wear certain clothes or act a certain way, they told her whom she should love, they told her how she could sell her time in a respectable way. They would nod at her with empty eyes and say that if she wanted to be successful then these were the rules. Success, they said, was like the smug golden look on your face when sunshine hits it and you breathe it in deeply. She had never seen sunshine herself, so of course, she had to believe it.

As she grew older, the man started to lay out ‘magazines.’ The girls in the magazines looked out at her, doe eyed and expecting. They were mostly pale, very thin. He told her that outside, girls are expected to look a certain way. Empty eyed, he told her it was a rule. He gave her pills that never made her feel hungry and sometimes pills that made her sick. He started to send her films. She did not understand what was happening in the films but when she looked in her mirror she saw a certain worn down numbness that was reflected in the women’s faces in the films that the man had picked out for her.

One day, the maid who came in and cleaned her room (the man said the maid was not respectable at all) left her window open and stole out of the room hurriedly. She ran over to it, breathing heavily on the pane she had never seen beyond, and leant out. She saw thousands of rooms, latticed together like a hive she had seen in her natural history book. It was cold and a breeze shifted on her face. She was hungry for that breeze. In the distance, she saw a flash of green.

That night, the man came into the room as he did every night. He leant over to kiss her forehead. The girl took her fist out from under the bed covers, she held a sharpened piece of mirror glass. It was all over quickly. She walked out of the recently opened door wearing a thick sticky coat of his blood. She found no security outside, they thought that their dolls in the rooms were so placid that there was no need. She made her way outside, wading her way through the sticky walls of her mind as she did, unpacking all that she had been told. The wind wiped her clean and her brain shut down the recent memory of a stabbed jugular, just like it has been programmed to do for us all.

She found the tree, it looked older than the ones in her books. It did not look bad or good or right or wrong, it just was. She lay down under it, buried herself in the earth, and slept.

GIRL

WOMEN VI

How can you believe that women are anything less than,

 

When your mother gave you a spine of fibreglass and a heart of malleable clay and pushed you to run a race that you didn’t train for. When she handed you an upside down version of reality and said: ‘forgive.’

 

When the women around you open their palms, their life-lines scarred by hungry people that have ripped them apart searching for redemption for a crime that has never been committed. They’ll arm you with their visions for a future where we can all breathe and say: ‘fight.’

 

When you, with a sense of self-worth that you wear proudly as a cloak, picture a younger self whose world has ground her down with insidious lies about her very essence. Say: ‘Women have the strength and depth of oceans.’

WOMEN VI

to the boys & men that I know,

To the boy on the playground,

Whose words are still jumbled but are already forming sentences that are rough and ready to bite and bleed;

Sentences that have been passed down from man to boy whipped across ears like hand to cheek;

They sound heavy and troublesome on your tongue and you like that because all you want to be is grown-

 

To the boy in the bedroom on the top floor,

You don’t feel okay with the shit that’s going on in the other bedroom

But you can’t see and it’s just past midnight and you might vomit again soon

It’s all going to be okay because it always is,

Crawl to the sink-

 

To the man who has tried to anchor himself to his guilt for too long,

Who dragged himself over glass every day to live again,

Groundhog day.

You don’t have to fix everything yourself in this world

It’s okay to ask for help.

 

To the boys and men that I know.

I dream of reclaimed masculinity and I dream of it because god knows that you’ve felt so tired of this. Softness and Femininity are not the enemy or opposite in a bloody war that will only be won through crushing your soul and body into a stereotype.

Our crusade and our war is to realise that long ago you were told that your masculinity rests on certain types of victory:

selfish pursuit,

material attainment,

emotionally suppressed,

hierarchy driven

bullshit.

Our crusade and our war is to recognise this as the lie that it is.

 

Be soft, be kind, be your emotions, find and trust in community.

 

to the boys & men that I know,