What year is it???
No one told me that having a baby would mean having less time for myself and getting less sleep! I assumed babies were like those tiny dogs that you carry around in your designer purse as a fashion statement.
Okay, so I just read this book. It’s called Shrill, and it’s written by Lindy West. Go. Buy. It.
This book is for every woman who has ever felt the need to apologize for being a feminist or to explain that being a feminist does not mean hating men or to lie about thinking of themselves as a feminist to avoid judgment. The fact that many women (myself included) feel that feminism is a bad word IS PROOF THAT WE NEED FEMINISM. Guess who propagates the idea that feminists are monsters and Nazis? It starts with M and rhymes with Flen.
Anyway, Shrill is pretty good. I fell in love almost immediately because Lindy West states all the things I have thought in the past, and she does so much more elegantly (fart jokes aside). She is a Word Wizard TM.
For example, she, too, thinks it’s strange that we ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As West states in the opening of her book, asking this question is the equivalent of saying, “‘Hello, child. As I have run out of compliments to pay you on your doodling, can you tell me what sort of niche you plan to carve out for yourself in the howling existential morass of uncertainty known as the future?'” (1).
I, too, hate that question. That question tells children, “You can only be one thing ever. Choose one interest and stick with it. Pursuing two things is for Communists.” If someone had forced me to stick with one thing, I would not be a self-proclaimed blogger-author-English-teacher-jewelry-maker-glass-blower-calligraphy-artist-Japanese-and-Spanish-student. In other words, my life would be supremely boring.
I want to train my son to say something clever whenever he gets asked this question. Like, “What don’t I want to be?”
Lindy West’s thoughts on The Trump and Trump supporters also mirror my own. At first I didn’t want to get political on this blog, but then I realized if I’m offending Trump supporters then I’m probably doing something right. Pardon my French, but fuck that guy.
I expected this election to be bad. I know from experience that shrill bitches get punished. I did not anticipate that millions of Americans would be so repulsed by the hubris of female ambition that they would elect a self-professed sexual predator with zero qualifications and fewer scruples. (West viii-ix)
Just a warning that the book does get into some pretty heavy stuff. Abortion, periods, rape. But it’s so necessary to read. Even if you don’t agree with everything she says, it is important to absorb her perspective. At least bask in the glow of her words because she’s so damn eloquent.
I’d like to end by telling a story involving my best friend and best-friend-in-law who are smarter than me in every way. A few years back, there was a popular song on the radio by Lukas Graham called “Seven Years.” There was a lyric in this song that rubbed me the wrong way.
I’m still learning about life|My woman brought children for me
My woman. For me. Brought children for me. My woman brought children for me. My. Woman.
It buzzed around in my brain until I had to ask Liz and Martyn, “Should I be offended by this? Or am I just being overly sensitive?”
Liz looked at me and said, “The fact that you are asking permission to be offended is proof that feminism needs to exist.”
She and Martyn talked me through it until I realized that feminism is still controlled by men, and we need to change that.
In short, women need to be shrill. We need to be opinionated. We need to be feminists.