“Jesus was a radical, non-violent revolutionary who hung around with lepers, hookers and crooks; wasn’t American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, anti-public prayer (M 6:5), but was never anti-gay; never mentioned abortion or birth control; never called the poor ‘lazy’; never justified torture; never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes; never asked a leper for a co-pay; and was a long-haired, brown-skinned, homeless community-organizing, anti-slut-shaming, Middle Eastern Jew.”—
“Why do some libraries insist on developing website content that is not being used? There’s no doubt it would be great if library users came to our sites to read book reviews, listen to podcasts, and calculate the value that the library delivers to them. We want to be a valuable resource. We want people to trust our opinions and rely on us for guidance. But just because this would be wonderful doesn’t mean it is going to happen.”—Aaron Schmidt, Give them what they want: the user experience | LibraryJournal (via thepinakes)
Argh!!! So so SO this! We are spending a gajillion dollars revamping our website, and the new one is just as much crap as the old one, just in a prettier wrapper. It pisses me right off.
The man who takes up too much space. Whose legs need their own chair in public spaces, who plays awful, shitty guitar at parties, whose backpack can’t touch his lap and must therefore have its own seat on the bus while senior citizens and young children stay standing.
The man with the 1-10 scale, for whom beauty is sport; for whom beauty is empty, is foreign, is obvious. For whom beauty is his to own, but never to know.
The nice guy who’s so nice. He’s so nice! SO NICE that he can’t possibly have done anything wrong and why are you speaking to him in that tone?
He who believes you live to seek his approval, so he withholds it like an ugly hand-me-down that nobody actually wants.
He whose mouth is clamped open. Whose talking points are a record on repeat. Whose ears have wilted from misuse and neglect because listening, like, actually listening, is a Herculean task in humility.
He who makes a home in sheets until the deed is done, but can’t be bothered to share the sunrise.
7. The Soulmate. Flawless artist’s hands too delicate to dirty so when he learns of his beloved’s depression, his beloved learns how her sadness can shrink a man back into boy.
The boy with the strong thighs. Who does not ask permission. Who calls his victim conquest. Who calls it just another Saturday.
9. The one who as a boy, raises fists to his sister. As a man, raises voice to his lover. As a man, learns to speak with satin tongue and barbed-wire lips.
The man with the wooden spoon. Whose name is control. Who sees his girl too skinny so he fattens her until she’s full, until she’s bursting, until she sees his meals reflected ugly in her flesh.
These men: They are an army of specters digging trenches behind my best intentions. They are the eggshells beneath conversations.
I have known and loved them. I fear becoming them. I have already been the space taker, the beauty butcher, the nice guy, the broken record, the little sister abuser. I can’t promise I haven’t been more.
More. It is the rallying call of my gender. We are the tempted, the takers. The never question our own power. Never learned tohuman. Only taught how not tomonster.
Pray for the boys not blessed with women whispering them through anger, through ignorance, through fear. They are a navy with no lighthouse. An ocean with no moon tugging the water upward.
1. The Girl Who Takes Up Too Much Space, always, her shoulders too wide in stairwells, her hips too big in doorways, her voice too loud in classes. This woman does not understand the art of crumbling, of curling herself tight like the spiral of a fern, soft, delicate, unwilling to reach out the ivy of her fingers to grasp onto what should rightfully be hers. This is a beast, an elephant, a moving mountain and she is capable of flattening you, she is capable of ruining you, she is capable of making you feel as small and insignificant in her life as she is supposed to be. You are this woman’s footnote to history, you are her side note in song lyrics, you are constantly interrupted by her with a witty joke you wish you thought of. I asked what the problem was with being a steamroller instead of a sunflower and I was laughed down.
2. The Beautiful One, the long hair or the slim waist or the pretty eyes or the lips like bowstrings. This woman looks good in everything because she’s confident in whatever you put her in. She’ll cut her hair short on you no matter how you like it, she’ll wear high heels and step on your opinions, she’ll look hot as hell no matter what size she is. See, the reason you can’t trust her is because women like this don’t need your permission, they’ll do as they please and get away with it. They’ll say no to you, over and over. Teach your daughters that beautiful means dangerous, teach them to distrust women who love themselves. Equate beautiful with vapid, equate pretty with stupid, take their power from them. Say they’re vain for their makeup, refuse to see them without it. These women are snakes, they are serpents. I said maybe the problem lies with you being unable to control yourself and was told to get off my pedestal.
3. A Bitch. Women are supposed to be ladies in the street but will tear skin under sheets. I’m told: Never raise your voice. Speak gently. Submit. Hold your opinion against your lips and when you admit to it, make sure it comes out as a butterfly wing suggestion. Don’t disagree. Don’t undermine someone else’s authority, regardless of whether or not they deserve your respect. Someone touches you, just move away from them. Don’t hit. Don’t talk back. Be like the ruins of Rome, only beautiful if you can’t hear your quiet death.
4. The Needy One. I have heard how others spit when they talk about how she gave you everything and you shoved it back down her throat until she choked on it, until she came back crawling and asked you what she did, until her palms and knees were scraped for want of just a little affection - never be this woman, I’m told, because she’s a joke and the joke is that she dared to have more emotion than you did. The truth is, I’m told, the one who cares less in a partnership is the one who wins. I didn’t know this was a competition.
5. The Cock Tease, certified stripper, how dare that girl look like that and not want me to sleep with her. Lust is always personified as a lady in red with a dress slit up her thigh. Lust is sinful because it’s power, it’s not asking for attention - it’s demanding it. I’m told she is the worst kind of woman, that looking good is supposed to be some kind of shame on her kin. I’m told not to leave the house in such a short skirt, not with a shirt so low, not with a lace back, not with high heels, not dressed like that. My lipstick can’t be too red, my hair can’t be too mussed, I can’t just “turn someone on like that and then leave them wanting.” I mentioned that instant gratification actually ruins our psyche and was told that being led on was “exhausting.” I said that there was a difference between purposefully tricking someone into liking you and just being attractive or friendly. I was told there’s also a difference between coffee and tea but both result in caffeine. I said, “I’ve been turned on in class by the girls I talk to but I didn’t expect anything from them,” and they said, “It’s different, you’re not a man,” but couldn’t explain where that difference was.
6. A Slut, obviously ruined by another person’s touch. It doesn’t matter how many people she’s actually been with, it’s all about the rumors she carries with her. Easy. Harlot. You’ll still try to get with her, you’ll still take her into your bed and kiss her and say things you don’t mean - but you’ll defame her name when you talk to your buddies. My father used to say “A slut is fine for the night, but the virgin is who you take home and marry.” Maybe he didn’t know he was teaching his daughter to hate her sexuality. Maybe he didn’t know that every time she’d be kissed, her whole system would shake until she felt ready to combust, shame and self-hatred shivering against her spine. Maybe he didn’t know she’d disconnect emotions and sex because he always told her, “Boys are different, they won’t care about you.” Nobody said to her that it was okay to experiment. See, the funny thing is, I’m a dancer so I know exactly where my center of gravity is. I know how hard I’ll fall in each direction. Yet out of fear of getting hurt, I won’t let a single person inside of my bed.
7. The Soulmate. Never love romance more than you love being cynical. Never show weakness, never like pink, never think maybe you might find someone nice and settle down with them. Someone will find you, I was told, And if you’re lucky, he’ll put up with you when you start getting old. Never be the woman who believes in happily ever after, never be dumb enough to think maybe someone could love you after all of your mistakes. It has nothing to do with whether or not a family is important to you and you’re in a good place where a relationship would make your life better - you’re not a princess. You don’t get married, you settle.
8. The Girl With Strength, who can outrun everyone and who is stronger than her boyfriend. “See the thing about boys,” says my daddy, “Is that you have to let them win.” I sat at home and read stories about Artemis and wanted to become the huntress, too. I wanted to howl at the moon, I wanted to slay the beasts that bested me, I wanted to rule my kingdom with bloody fists. But girls are never athletes, never supposed to be “built,” regardless of the fact civilizations were constructed on our spines and we made homes in war by the steel of our ribs. Never be strong. We are supposed to wilt.
9. The Lady CEO: because if you choose work over family, are you really a girl? How dare you fight your way to the top through every pair of eyes that bore through your blouse, through every meeting where you were hushed by the sound of someone else talking, through every time someone called you “sweetie,” how dare you yearn for something. Is your husband the stay-at-home one? I can’t imagine how that is going. He’s not a real man, after all. I don’t give it long before the divorce. How dare you decide you’re happy being single. Don’t you know you’re supposed to bear children. Where is your honor? Where is your wisdom? Who cares if you are the leader, the best suited for your position, the quickest-thinking, the one who makes the hardest clients come back again. Don’t you see? Across history, women have been terrible at success. They always lose their man in the end. (When I said, “I would rather be a famous author than a mediocre mother,” I was told, “No, don’t worry, you’ll be a fine mommy.”)
10. THE GIRL I AM: FIRECRACKER AND DON’T YOU FUCKING FORGET IT I’LL RIP YOU TO SHREDS AND I WON’T FUCKING REGRET IT I’M NOT YOUR PRETTY GIRL I’M NOT YOUR ANYTHING I’M PERFECT, MOTHERFUCKER, AND I’M NOT GOING TO GIVE UP WHAT I’M DOING. I DON’T WANT TO BE “LADYLIKE” THAT LITERALLY MEANS NOTHING I’M NOT GOING TO STOP STANDING UP AND DEMANDING WHAT’S COMING TO ME. I’M GONNA BE SOMEBODY. I’M GONNA MAKE THEM REMEMBER ME. I REFUSE TO BE OVERSHADOWED IN HISTORY. I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CREATE BUT YOU MADE ME A DRAGON YOU PUT ME IN THE FIRE AND WHEN I STOPPED BURNING I LEARNED HOW TO GLOW DON’T THINK YOU CAN STOP ME YOU CAN’T TAME A TORNADO.
I wouldn’t call it a “response” to the other poem, which carries truth too, but more of a companion. I recognize all of these girls and more. The loud girl, the angry girl, the rebellious girl…my life is as full of things I’ve been told not to be as things I’ve been encouraged to do.
My uterus woke me with cramps so bad I can’t breathe (oh, hey pain, it’s been a while…kinda…thought…we were over?), subsequently, I missed my run and I have a court hearing in an hour that I do not want to go to. Meds better kick in soon.
“When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, “Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.” That’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that.”—Anthony Mackie (via rexilla)
It’s 1am so I’m sorry for the people who won’t see this. But if you want confidence and don’t know how to get it, a really good way is to be confident in other people. When you walk into Starbucks, think, “damn, that barista’s hair is da bomb!” Or when you go to school, think, “my teacher is rocking that skirt!” When you start seeing everyone as being beautiful, at some point you realize that you’re everyone too.
Martin Luther King Jr once related a story that demonstrated just how accurate the Black woman was at assessing her location in the scheme of things and knowing how to handle herself wherever she was. He told us about an older Black woman who had worked for a white woman in Alabama.
First as her laundress, then as her maid, then as her cook and finally as her housekeeper. After 40 years, the Black woman retired but she would go to visit her former employer occasionally. On one visit, her employer had friends over for lunch. When the employer was told the Lilian Taylor was in the kitchen, she sent for her. Lilian went into the livingroom and greeted all the women. Some of whom she had known since their childhoods.
The white woman said Lilian I know you’ve heard of the bus boycott. Lilian said yes ma’am I’ve heard of it. The white woman said, well I want to know, what do you think of it? Are you supporting it? Lilian said no ma’am not one bit. Not one little iota and I won’t let none of mine support it either. The white woman said, I knew you’d be sensible Lilian. I just knew it in my bones. Lilian said yes ma’am I won’t touch that bus boycott.
You know my son took me to live with him and his family. He won’t let me even lift a finger and he works for the power company way across town from our house. I told him, Charles don’t you have anything to do with that bus boycott. You walk to work. Stay all the way out of that bus boycott. And my grandchildren, they go to school all the way over on the East Side. I told them the same thing. Don’t have anything to do with that boycott. You walk to school. And even today, when I wanted to come over and visit you, I got a lady from my church to bring me. I wasn’t going to touch that bus boycott, sure wasn’t.
The room has become quiet and Lilian Taylor said, I know you have plenty help now but do you want me to bring you all some more coffee? She went to the kitchen and was followed by the white woman’s daughter. Who asked her, Lilian why do you treat my Mother like that? Why not just come out and say you support the boycott? Lilian said, honey, when you have your head in the lion’s mouth, you don’t snatch it out. You reach up and tickle him behind his ears and you draw your head out gradually.
Every Black woman in this country has her head in a lion’s mouth.
sometimes i picture imaginary arguments with people and i think aboutwhat i would say in response to certain points and i get so heated until like 5 minutes later when i realize that the argument isnt actually happening
Pretty much every conversation I’ve ever had was first practiced, edited and rehashed in my head.
Somewhat related: My sister and I were discussing this in the realm of men-stalking-you-in-order-to-“compliment”-you. She had two guys follow her home honking at her until she stopped so they could tell her how gorgeous she was. They were black guys. We think, overall, more black guys have done this to us than white guys. And yet, I’m far, far more afraid when it is white guys, because it feels like they have the expectation that their ham handed overtures deserve a positive response, whereas the black guys just have poor boundaries.