There are moments that come with a true sight: my skin, my arms, my body’s crisscrossing scars…So much identity that the world demands I pay in shame: woman, lesbian, breast cancer, mother…the girl child grown adult in so many wrong ways. The language was made to chain us up, and the moment the tidal waves begin to rise we are shouted down. We need to be pleasing, we need to speak as others would, we need to look as we are expected to, we need to make ourselves pretty with a smile. The world fears a woman who takes ownership of herself. The only acceptable woman is the one nodding in placid and silent acquiescence, without a “no” or an opinion that differs.
The world builds a platform for the men who beat women down. They pay them millions of dollars and cheer them with adulation every Monday night and Sunday morning. Dissent only comes when those same abusers take a knee. For the abuse keeps us in our places, while the knee threatens the fragile and sensitive supremacy of white skin. Outrage is performative, never designed to do anything but continue the subjugation.
No wonder women wanted “men” out of their noun: wanted to cast them outside of their circles, and their names.
The brutish fists, the intrusion of space, the justification of deafness in the face of refusal.
For our “no” can never be allowed to stand.
“No” is poison to their ears.
“No” is a right not afforded to us, for the crime of daring to be woman. ~ Caroline A. Slee