A boy sprawled next to me on the bus, elbows out, knee pointing sharp into my thigh.
He frowned at me when I uncrossed my legs, unfolded my hands
and splayed out like boys are taught to: all big, loose limbs.
I made sure to jab him in the side with my pretty little sharp purse.
At first he opened his mouth like I expected him to, but instead of speaking up he sat there, quiet, and took it for the whole bus ride.
Like a girl.
Once, a boy said my anger was cute, and he laughed,
and I remember thinking that I should sit there and take it,
because it isn’t ladylike to cause a scene and girls aren’t supposed to raise their voices.
But then he laughed again and all I saw
was my pretty little sharp nails digging into his cheek
before drawing back and making a horribly unladylike fist.
(my teacher informed me later that there is no ladylike way of making a fist.)
When we were both in the principal’s office twenty minutes later
him with a bloody mouth and cheek, me with skinned knuckles,
I tried to explain in words that I didn’t have yet
that I was tired of having my emotions not taken seriously
just because I’m a girl.
Girls are taught: be small, so boys can be big.
Don’t take up any more space than absolutely necessary.
Be small and smooth with soft edges
and hold in the howling when they touch you and it hurts:
the sandpaper scrape of their body hair that we would be shamed for having,
the greedy hands that press too hard and too often take without asking permission.
Girls are taught: be quiet and unimposing and oh so small
when they heckle you with their big voices from the window of a car,
because it’s rude to scream curse words back at them, and they’d just laugh anyway.
We’re taught to pin on smiles for the boys who jeer at us on the street
who see us as convenient bodies instead of people.
Girls are taught: hush, be hairless and small and soft,
so we sit there and take it and hold in the howling,
pretend to be obedient lapdogs instead of the wolves we are.
We pin pretty little sharp smiles on our faces instead of opening our mouths,
because if we do we get accused of silly women emotions
blowing everything out of proportion with our PMS, we get
condescending pet names and not-so-discreet eyerolls.
Once, I got told I punched like a girl.
I told him, Good. I hope my pretty little sharp rings leave scars.
We teach girls shame. ‘Close your legs!’ ‘Cover yourself!’ We make them feel as though by being born female, they are already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up—and this is the worst thing we do to girls—they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an artform. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, TedxEuston (x)
History is not a long series of centuries in which men did all the interesting/important things and women stayed home and twiddled their thumbs in between pushing out babies, making soup and dying in childbirth.
History is actually a long series of centuries of men writing down what they thought was important and interesting, and FORGETTING TO WRITE ABOUT WOMEN. It’s also a long series of centuries of women’s work and women’s writing being actively denigrated by men. Writings were destroyed, contributions were downplayed, and women were actively oppressed against, absolutely.
But the forgetting part is vitally important. Most historians and other writers of what we now consider “primary sources” simply didn’t think about women and their contribution to society. They took it for granted, except when that contribution or its lack directly affected men.
This does not in any way mean that the female contribution to society was in fact less interesting or important, or complicated, simply that history—the process of writing down and preserving of the facts, not the facts/events themselves—was looking the other way. Tansy Rayner Roberts
If only guys were so aggressive towards rapists as they are towards the possibility of a woman not shaving for a month
From their “About” page:
Just Detention International is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention. The rape of detainees, whether committed by corrections staff or by inmates, is a crime and is recognized under international law as a form of torture. In the U.S., sexual assault in detention has reached epidemic levels, with more than 200,000 people subjected to this form of violence every year.
Cases of sexual abuse in detention are not rare, isolated incidents, but the result of a systemic failure to protect the safety of inmates. Survivors of prisoner rape suffer severe physical injuries and psychological harm; many contract HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases as a result of their abuse. Once released — and the vast majority of inmates do eventually get out — survivors return to their communities with all of their physical and emotional scars.
JDI advocates for the safety and well-being of all inmates, whether they are confined in federal, state, or local facilities — both private and public — including prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, immigration detention centers, halfway houses, and police lock-ups. JDI works to: hold government officials accountable for prisoner rape; promote public attitudes that value the dignity and safety of inmates; and ensure that survivors of this violence have access to the help they need.
From their “About” page:
SWAN is a nonpartisan civil rights organization. We challenge institutions and cultural norms that deny equal opportunities, equal protections, and equal benefits to servicemembers and veterans.
Similarly, the inclusive approach we take is pivotal to healing the various forms of discrimination and violence faced by women and other marginalized populations in the military, including sexism, racism, and homophobia.
SWAN assists service members and veterans without regard to sex, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The content of SWAN’s work is directly informed by the experiences of the populations that we serve.
Whenever possible, women veterans design, supervise and lead SWAN’s programs, in order to foster a sense of belonging, ownership, and community and to build personal skills that increase leadership experience, self-sufficiency, healing and well-being.
SWAN extends opportunities to and promotes the voices and agency of servicewomen and women veterans, regardless of the context, era, or type of their service.
^^^Just some information about the resources mentioned in the above quote.