Shared Girlhood

From Shared Girlhood by Smash

What is shared girlhood?

Shared girlhood is the idea that girls growing up under patriarchy are all oppressed based on their being treated as girls when they were younger.

For example, we’re told we exist to please men and be pretty, or we experience unwanted sexual harassment or contact, or we’re told to be small and eat less than boys.

There are obviously huge differences based on race, class, nationality, etc. But there is shared oppression based on sex.

When we grow up and become women, our experience as women is shaped by the way we were oppressed growing up.

Thus, growing up as girls is an important part of being a woman.

 

 

 

 

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Shrinking Women

Across from me at the kitchen table, my mother smiles over red wine that she drinks out of a measuring glass.
She says she doesn’t deprive herself,
but I’ve learned to find nuance in every movement of her fork.
In every crinkle in her brow as she offers me the uneaten pieces on her plate.
I’ve realized she only eats dinner when I suggest it.
I wonder what she does when I’m not there to do so.

Maybe this is why my house feels bigger each time I return; it’s proportional.
As she shrinks the space around her seems increasingly vast.
She wanes while my father waxes. His stomach has grown round with wine, late nights, oysters, poetry. A new girlfriend who was overweight as a teenager, but my dad reports that now she’s “crazy about fruit.”

It was the same with his parents;
as my grandmother became frail and angular her husband swelled to red round cheeks, round stomach,
and I wonder if my lineage is one of women shrinking,
making space for the entrance of men into their lives,
not knowing how to fill it back up once they leave.

I have been taught accommodation.
My brother never thinks before he speaks.
I have been taught to filter.
“How can anyone have a relationship to food?” he asks, laughing, as I eat the black bean soup I chose for its lack of carbs.
I want to say: we come from difference, Jonas,
you have been taught to grow out,
I have been taught to grow in.
You learned from our father how to emit, how to produce, to roll each thought off your tongue with confidence, you used to lose your voice every other week from shouting so much.
I learned to absorb.
I took lessons from our mother in creating space around myself.
I learned to read the knots in her forehead while the guys went out for oysters,
and I never meant to replicate her, but
spend enough time sitting across from someone and you pick up their habits-

that’s why women in my family have been shrinking for decades.
We all learned it from each other, the way each generation taught the next how to knit,
weaving silence in between the threads
which I can still feel as I walk through this ever-growing house,
skin itching,
picking up all the habits my mother has unwittingly dropped like bits of crumpled paper from her pocket on her countless trips from bedroom to kitchen to bedroom again.
Nights I hear her creep down to eat plain yogurt in the dark, a fugitive stealing calories to which she does not feel entitled.
Deciding how many bites is too many.
How much space she deserves to occupy.

Watching the struggle I either mimic or hate her,
And I don’t want to do either anymore,
but the burden of this house has followed me across the country.
I asked five questions in genetics class today and all of them started with the word “sorry.”
I don’t know the requirements for the sociology major because I spent the entire meeting deciding whether or not I could have another piece of pizza,
a circular obsession I never wanted, but

inheritance is accidental,
still staring at me with wine-stained lips from across the kitchen table.

Women aged 15-44 are more likely to be injured or killed by male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined

From Prostitution, Liberalism, and Slavery, by Melissa Farley

“In rape cultures, the sexual terrorism of rape and prostitution are downplayed, underestimated, or denied… Rape cultures normalize the objectification and commodification of women as sex and blame victims for their own victimization. The global finding that women aged 15-44 are more likely to be injured or killed by male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined – only makes sense when understood as a result of cultural acceptance of sexual violence.”

 

Another male “feminist” talking down to women about just what it is that they are doing “wrong”

From The myth of the leftist, feminist, anti-racist, elitist by Michael Laxer, Feminist Current

The sheer idiocy of a wealthy straight male (or any male of any kind) telling women how they should frame the language of their own liberation movement, however, did not prevent large numbers of liberal men (and, of course, some women) like CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning host Matt Galloway on air, from gushing over it, thrilled, apparently, to see yet another in a long line of alleged male “feminists” talking down to women about just what it is that they are doing “wrong” that men could tell them how to do better.

Like abandoning the very term feminism for starters.

 

To objectify a man would be to remove his power

From:  “A magazine for everybody” is a magazine for men by Meghan Murphy via Feminist Current 

“When there was a man in the photo, it didn’t totally work,” Prickett claims. Well no. Of course it “didn’t work.” We’re used to looking at women in this way, it makes us feel comfortable. To objectify a man would be to remove his power. That’s why it feels uncomfortable to us. We are accustomed to women portrayed as powerless.

Why do we not see that there is a war being waged against the female sex?

From Male Violence Affects Us All, by The Artic Feminist

Why do we hesitate to see male violence and the male sex caste for what they are?  Why do we not see that there is a war being waged against the female sex that has been going steady for thousands of years and that we are losing, badly?  Why do we not see that all women, no matter what they achieve are always under the threat of some man getting to define them (as victim) forever?  We desperately need to build communities that function away from men.  Refuges for our refugees.  We need to stop acting as if all of this is just a misunderstanding and get serious about putting an end to male violence, for good.