books read recently

Everyday Feminism by Laura Bates
Mama Amazonica by Pascale Petit
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown
The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
The Lost Chapters: Finding Recovery and Renewal One Book at a Time by Leslie Schwartz

women are spinners

‘Women are spinners and weavers; we are the ones who spin the threads and weave them into meaning and pattern. Like silkworms, we create those threads out of our own substance, pulling the strong, fine fibres out of our own hearts and wombs. It’s time to make some new threads; time to strengthen the frayed wild edges of our own being and then weave ourselves back into the fabric of our culture. Once we knew the patterns for weaving the world; we can piece them together again. Women can heal the Wasteland. We can remake the world. This is what women do. This is our work.’

From If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie

woman and nature

Women which works which without whole weights which was without within which which when

of oysters other only organisms opposite optics of of

might many make matter machine matter mechanical may material machine may motion moving maker mechanics microcosm moment moment

and are are acts actions according and are a as and always action and and angles argued and a and as a a animals all all and at

not named.

 

Not naming never new no nothingness not now

a and air and all absolutely are angle always and actual again a a and and act and act and act a and are as asks an admit and are afraid are and and and and as

that the the table the this to this to though think there twice the this teacher tells the the the to the the the to to the the the the the take textures twigs the the to the this the they them

us unknown unknown

ride rely rides rule roughing respond rolls rope

each earth everything exciting expression every edges every each ever events elements enter.

 

[the letters: w.o.m.a.n. and n.a.t.u.r.e. taken from page 20 and page 193 of Woman and Nature by Susan Griffin, 1978]

germaine

some things i nodded to
some things made me sorrowfully shake my head
but mostly i believe i scraped through
relatively unscathed

my best friend in school; we would sit on each others’ knees waiting for assembly
some boy once called us dykes but i didn’t know
what that would mean, until much later

i knew that i could not be a mother at 20
unlike my mother who [i’m assuming in 1959]

had no choice.

i think that’s when things may have started to go wrong for her
that fucking Freud & his devotees
the problem lies not with women but society

when i realised what the problem was i felt better
relieved; i felt
that all the tree climbing & wearing black t-shirts
& square boots
all the scribbling in secret books
& the way i used sex to land my first real job

haha the joke could have been on me
but it was not.

written whilst reading ‘The Female Eunuch’.

now i know

sometimes you just know when you have finished a certain book your life has changed completely & forever with no going back

this is one such time

the only thing i have to ask myself is why didn’t i read this when it was first published in 1991 (or sometime soon afterwards, when it was still fresh on the shelves of local bookshops) when i was in London studying fashion, when all i was confronted with day after day was page after page of glossy magazines, of thin glamorous women, of close up beauty shots, of ‘beautiful’ woman as muse, of soft porn fashion editorials? why did i not read this book just before my dress size became of extreme importance to me, before i started dieting to look the ‘perfect’ size, before i plotted to become a carbon copy straight from the pages of those magazines?

i’m not sure why.

but its okay. one month before my 49th birthday & i have read it. i have finally read the book that i should have read all that time ago. the book that has caused everything else to slip into place around it. now everything, everything makes sense; all that heartache, that longing, that uncertainty, that sadness, that paralysis, that giving-away-of-power.

now i know how truly powerful i am & as i have finally come into this power; i will not stop. why stop?

this is a society that keeps young women confused. this is a society that devalues women in the prime of their lives, this is a society that separates mothers from their daughters & leaves them out on the streets to try & make their own way in the world. this is a society that does not protect young women. this is a society where ‘uniqueness’ in a woman is derided & stereotype is applauded.

for the first time in my life, at the age of 48; after raising two girls of my own & surviving a tumultuous relationship with my mother, i think i can say i have finally found my place in the world & it is because of this book, this one book, which has solidified once & for all the very faint sensations i have been having (with increasing frequency) all these years but was not ever able to identify, least put a name to.

i wonder why not?

all the times i was in college & turned away from those glossy images, every day i refused to wear make up or a bra or high heels or nail polish. all those times i was in a factory in china, watching the women work at their stations, sewing garments, dyeing fabric, that time i chose to quit my job because of the pain i felt for them. all those times i slept with my two daughters in our bed, suckled them right there throughout the night, carried them close to me, all those days we spent together out in the forest or down by the river as i homeschooled them.

this book has given me a word for all of those times ….

Feminism

& moving forward, as my girls go out into the world, as i sit back & wonder what i am now to do with the time i have left, as i look through the list of feminist manifestos, books & novels i have yet to read (& obviously have been sorely missing), as i know that most of my own books have yet to be written

& there is one thing i know now without a shadow of doubt; i have never felt so

BEAUTIFUL

in my entire life.

 

thank you Naomi Wolf for writing ‘The Beauty Myth’