- be thin
- give birth
- cook for you
- have long hair
- wear makeup
- have sex with you
- be feminine
- be graceful
- be fashionable
- wear pink
- love men
- be the media’s idea of perfection
- listen to your bullshit
- have a vagina
This is very true, but it’s important to remember that if a woman is feminine, graceful, shaves, diets, wears make up, or does any of these things in the list, it doesn’t make her a slave to patriarchy or any less of a feminist than you.
a girl should always carry tampons because they can be used as a ward against immature boys
simply present one and watch the look of horror on his face as he is forced backwards
build a wall of tampons and no boy can cross
they will not summon the courage to breach the cotton wall
A BARRICADE OF TAMPONS
VIVA LE MENSTRUATION
They never tell you in health class
that once you become a woman,
they rip your heart out
and put in a clock instead.
sixty seconds a minute,
sixty minutes an hour,
until your worth runs out
with your youth.
They never tell you
what it feels like,
not being able to get on the subway
without some guy
checking out your ass,
even though the government
says you’re too young
to buy alcohol.
They never tell you that out there,
the word “sensitive” is an insult;
out there, shame is something even Chanel no. 5
can’t cover up.
They never tell you that by the time you find a boy
to love, taking off your clothes will be like
taking off bandages,
like peeling off
That some days you’ll feel
like a broken vase
everyone keeps trying
to stick flowers in.
You are not Schrodinger’s cat.
You are not beautiful or ugly
only until someone tells you so.
But when you want to tell the guy on the bus
to go fuck himself
because he won’t leave you alone,
you’ll bite your tongue instead
and swallow your words,
collecting them underneath your ribcage:
a hornet’s nest buzzing below your heart,
reminding it not to feel too much or beat too hard.
2. You talked about how you were broken, but you never tried picking up the pieces. You just wrote poetry about how they got there.
3. You found the cracks in my bones and called them beautiful. There is nothing beautiful about breaking.
4. Maybe poets shouldn’t fall in love with other poets because they will spend more time writing about kissing than actually kissing.
5. When our house burned down, we were more concerned with saving the stories we wrote together than saving each other. We failed anyway. I guess that’s what happens when you write love letters in matchstick.
6. Even the hottest fires burn out, baby, and it was good while it lasted. But when it was over, I lost myself in the rubble, I found shadows in the ashes.
7. I don’t know who you are kissing now, but please don’t leave darkness in the back of her throat so that she becomes a shadow like I did.
8. I’ve learned to be grateful for my shadows because it means there is light there to cast it. For other people, this is just called darkness.
9. I hope you find someone one day that will teach you how to breathe in this life without hurting your lungs. I’m sorry I couldn’t do that for you, I’m sorry I was a smoke break when real life got too hard.
10. My bed is empty but not as cold and I don’t know which is worse yet. 11. Your name rhymes with everything, even the bad.
12. Are love letters still love letters when they have so much pain in them?
13. Strangers still see you in my eyes, they don’t say anything, but they know you are there.
14. My ink still tastes like your tongue. I have to remind myself to stop writing about the way you kiss.
15. I can delete your name off of my phone, but I can’t wash it off the walls of my skull.
16. There is no pretty way to tell you that you are the worst thing that has happened to me, even if you are the best thing that has happened to my poetry.
17. Despite the ache in my bones, I am proud of myself for not crawling back to you to rest in your bed.
18. I should be over you by now.
19. Even the ghosts here are haunted by you. The walls shiver when they hear your name.
20. Please stop making ghosts of homes.
We need to take a large step back in time for a moment, to the early part of Freud’s era, when modern psychology was born. In the late 1890s, when Freud was in the dawn of his career, he was struck by how many of his female patients were revealing childhood incest victimization to him. Freud concluded that child sexual abuse was one of the major causes of emotional disturbances in adult women and wrote a brilliant and humane paper called “The Aetiology of Hysteria.” However, rather than receiving acclaim from his colleagues for his ground-breaking insights, Freud met with scorn. He was ridiculed for believing that men of excellent reputation (most of his patients came from upstanding homes) could be perpetrators of incest.
Within a few years, Freud buckled under this heavy pressure and recanted his conclusions. In their place he proposed the “Oedipus complex,” which became the foundation of modern psychology. According to this theory any young girl actually DESIRES sexual contact with her father, because she wants to compete with her mother to be the most special person in his life. Freud used this construct to conclude that the episodes of incestuous abuse his clients had revealed to him HAD NEVER TAKEN PLACE; they were simply fantasies of events that women had WISHED FOR when they were children and that the women had come to believe they were real. This construct started a hundred-year history in the mental health field of blaming victims for the abuse perpetrated on them and outright discrediting of women’s and children’s reports of mistreatment by men.
Once the abuse was denied in this way, the stage was set for some psychologists to take the view that any violent or sexually exploitative behaviors that couldn’t be denied- because they were simply too obvious- should be considered MUTUALLY caused. Psychological literature is thus full of descriptions of young children who “seduce” adults into sexual encounters and of women whose “provocative” behavior causes men to become violent or sexually assaultive toward them.