judith butler, “against ethical violence”, giving an account of oneself
anti-hyper-mastery. pro-some-fragmentation. “…it does not follow that, if a life needs some narrative structure, then all of life must be rendered in narrative form.”
teresa de lauretis, “desire in narrative”
Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery (1997), p. 188.
practically everything i said in the last week, not even that differently:
in all seriousness, when I think about “oversharing” between women I think about being in my early teens and making up appropriate crushes so I would have something to talk about. because otherwise I would be shut out, because we had to trade vulnerabilities, but what actually scared me — the fact that I didn’t understand and couldn’t conclusively label my sexuality — was both too much of a secret to share and paradoxically might not even be understood as me showing vulnerability. and I think about how “appropriate” meant so much more than even just a dude, it meant masculine, it meant not significantly shorter than me, it meant exclusively heterosexual, and actually, it meant white. it was understood that that was the acceptable range of dudes I could have a crush on. and I think about how that shaped my understanding of my sexuality for many years and it took me a long time to realise that I had other options that were better. like, “sharing” does not just uncover what is there, sometimes it constructs things, and sometimes those things are not great.
it wasn’t a “mean girls” situation or anything, girls weren’t out to manipulate or hurt each other, and everyone was dealing with this stuff, a number of us turned out years later to have radically different sexualities than we really talked about then. and there were also a lot of times that I was able to talk through shit that was really helpful to me, that I never would’ve been able to discuss if there was a clear boundary of Appropriateness — I’m so thankful that I grew up in an environment when it wasn’t really necessary to constantly be on my guard about who knew about my mental health issues, for example. but when girls talk about only wanting to hang out with the guys I think this is mostly what they are talking about, freedom from the injunction to overshare, freedom from disclosure.
I also have mixed feelings about venting and confessional writing and it all comes down to the same thing: emotional sharing needs to be understood as not just freedom but sometimes an expectation or demand or constitutive force.
I feel major feminist boredom when talking about rape. Like it feels bad, it happens a lot, we get it, but I don’t know how to talk about it and not feel tragic in a really trite way.
Whatever violation is borecore
Puke on my face
OK THIS IS IMPORTANT TO ME BECAUSE
i can talk about almost all of my traumas and do reference them in a bored way like, oh yeah this because rape, or blah blah my dead dad, or alcoholism or abuse or whatever it’s all boring because it just is
i am because that is
but it really bothers other people like hand wringing like “i’m so sorry” like pats on my shoulder like so trite and like i don’t want you to be weird about it i just want to be able to talk about it because it doesn’t really matter to me in a context of tragedy, it just is, and we should talk about it because it is, when it’s relevant, not for pathos and not for oppression points or whatever
i hate when people use their traumas for pathos, unless you’re doing it to get a dude to shut up, because shut up dudes
and i think a lot of it is because i never really recognized them as traumas and by the time i did they were so ingrained in my psyche that they don’t feel out of place or like i should identify them in a way that is separate from the healthier parts of my life
it just is
it all just is
and it’s boring
also important. “i don’t want you to be weird about it i just want to be able to talk about it.” this is totally part of why i casually mention my miscarriage and the psych ward so much. so that it is okay that i can mention my miscarriage and the psych ward casually. and so that anyone/everyone can. relevant. also, yes to using it to get dudes to shut up, since fuck you, you actually have no idea and you should know that you have no idea and that your not having any idea is a privilege.
If I can’t find rape boring it’s not my revolution.
I have to go fix my hair.
i was telling my ex-boyfriend about being sexually assaulted (??????) in 7th and 8th grade and he kept getting angry at me for being too blase and asking, over and over, “why didn’t you tell the teacher?” and i was like “huh? i was in love with one of them” and “it was complicated” and “because i was 12” and “i don’t tell on people” (to one of the nuns?) and “you know that this happens to girls all the time” and “go watch welcome to the dollhouse” and “why are you trying to control me after the fact?” of course, this is the same person we called “bummer narc” behind his back and who called the cops on me, so.
point is: don’t tell me i’m not feeling appropriately about what happened to my body. not to mention that feeling bored about what happened to your body could also resonate in all kinds of different ways—see feminist boredom tumblr discussion 2012—none of which one should get harassed about. i just fixed my hair, too.
tonight i told my maybe-marxist friend about wanting to read capital for real this summer and his wife said she knows of a feminist women’s group reading marx and that we should join. i have never considered that anything this great could happen.
we also discussed our friend origin story, and how when i was a junior editor i told jennifer baumgardner that i was working on a beauty story for nylon about refusing to depilate and did she know anyone to interview and she was like “i had a co-worker at ms. who had really impressive body hair.” i sent an earnest email to L., who agreed to be interviewed about the politics of not shaving her arms and legs. tonight her husband said, reverently, “it was beautiful.”
this is the karl marx sticker that has been on my many refrigerators since barbara gave them to us, as a gift of course, in fetish class in 2009.
jenny holzer, from the survival series, 1983-1985