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Broken Heart

oh dear. so here i sit, and i know i’m supposed to be packing for my trip with my lover and my friend to the Island, and writing my methods chapter, and sipping herbal tea and being all thoughtful and erudite and organized…but i went off and looked on crackbook, (aka facebook), and i see that this woman with whom i once worked at the radical feminist anti-violence collective got her first T-shot today.

Now, I’m not really up on the lingo, but this woman’s been doing ‘drag-king’ shows the past few years, and hanging with a bunch of women who call themselves “bois” and so forth. And I might be a bit dense, but i can put one and one together. She’s getting her body mutilated so she can think she ‘belongs’ to the queers and the freaks and the ‘transgressive’ gender-benders…I could just fuckin’ cry. She’s not transgressing anything, she’s just drawing the binding of rigid gender tighter across her woman-ness. She’s seen what freedom could look like, she’s seen what damage men have done, and seen what she could have if she did the work–she didn’t want to do that work. But she wanted the social stuff, for sure. she wanted to belong to a group that identified with some shared vision and one that was tight with each other, had a language and did stuff that meant something important to the women who were members of that group.

I guess the ‘bois’ can give her that social stuff, but not ask for the work. cause, you know, it’s not much work to be masculine. except, i suppose, for that part about trying to run away from your womanly hips. but the other stuff–talkin’ about cars and ‘transformer’ movies; fishing and pumpin’ iron; drinkin’ beer and farting…heck. easy-peasy. you can’t really scratch yer balls, but you could stick a sock in your pants and scratch that…

no. it’s MUCH harder to reject gender altogether and try to figure out how to be human. you’re not going to get less lonely by getting hormone injections, J. It’s not going to fill the empty spot where meaning wants to be. When/if you become a sort-of constructed male, you’re going to be further from all you can be. There will be all the shots and the dressings and the lies between you and your essential humanity.

Each time one woman turns her back on her woman-ness, and on her sisters, therefore, my heart breaks. makes my work harder, but even more necessary. I’m so sorry that she has such self-loathing, such loathing for women all, that she wants to do this. i think i’ve let her down. and i know she’s let me down, too.

we’re so hard on each other. in the world that hates women, it’s hard to find the love between us that will lift us and save us. so many of us are giving up. damn.

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About easilyriled

My mom was Edith, my dad was John. I have a brother, who is Shawn. I have many friends and allies and mentors in my life. I'm white, over-educated, under-employed, messy, funny, smart, lesbian, feminist "Not the fun kind", as Andrea Dworkin said. But I, like the feminists I hang with, ARE fun. I play accordion better than I did, and i'm learning the concertina. Slowly.

7 responses »

  1. Thank you for your comment at my blog. Your writing is so powerful, beautiful, really. It is a tragedy. A friend of mine recently told me recently about a 50-year-old woman she knows who is doing the same thing. And she wanted to know if she should support her.

    Of course, we should support these women, but support is not the same thing as enabling their hatred of self. I hope that the kind of support you’re offering your friend will allow her to find her way back. The ‘bois’ in that clique of hers will abandon her entirely if she ever changes her mind about ‘transition’, and she’ll need to know she has women who won’t turn her away if she decides it’s not for her.

    Reply
  2. It took all of my youth for me to learn that one literally cannot do enough to earn the approval of others. If you lose yourself in the pursuit of their approval, you have nothing.

    Reply
  3. Ah, yes – heartbreaking indeed.

    “cause, you know, it’s not much work to be masculine. except, i suppose, for that part about trying to run away from your womanly hips.”

    That just about sums it up, really. They will never out-run their womanly hips.

    Reply
  4. Thank you. I know why my generation is susceptible to this, but I have been mystified by my older friends transitioning in increasing numbers. I don’t get it, when they have experienced the kind of lesbian feminist community that I want to believe is the answer and the solution. I don’t get how you can know better about what it means to be a woman, and still do this. Your posts gets me a little closer to understanding. I would love to correspond with you anytime.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Moira, for reading, and for your comment. as you can see, i haven’t posted for quite a while, trying to complete some other projects, and i’m a bit stuck at present…but sure, we can correspond–happy to!
      all the best,
      Erin

      Reply
    • Ah. i just went over to your blog. thank YOU for your honesty and fortitude. i’m looking forward to reading more, and strengthening this new connection.

      Reply

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