A woman who could’ve changed my life when I was 16, but one I am grateful has done so now.
TW : Sexual Assault, Rape
I am so happy beloved readers, and this is in spite of exams – which is how you know its an authentic happiness and it is from this place of joy – uninterrupted- which I can write about borderline inarticulate pain. Dr. Uhuru Phalafala in a seminar once ” Silence is violence”. There is nothing organic about suppression and it is perhaps time to air out the carpet beneath which much has been swept in my life.
I am in the process of re-conceptualizing power and what it means to possess it, wield it, use it and the problematics of abusing it. Power. A concept so fundamental to our very being as and yet accredited more readily than not to men. I would be lying if I claimed that there wasn’t a time when which power hasn’t fascinated me, fascinated me in the phallic sense. What am I talking about? I’m speaking from my perspective as a girl, raised by a mother who did everything and anything unperturbed by gender roles and a father who raised us (my sister and I) like men. Unflinching, , unapologetically hungry for more – more of my hearts desires. More excellence. More success. More money (which is laughable given how consistently broke I am as a university student). More words. More time. More resources. More knowledge. More access. More . More choice – actual choice. More freedom. More is more to me and more has never been enough. More will never be enough and this isn’t the capitalist (that I wrangle half-to death on my good days) in me speaking, this is the woman in me. Unabashed and unashamed I want more of everything. Like Donatella Versace, there is nothing I detest quite like minimalism . Economy of line and form has never appealed to me. More. A word, a mantra denied to the demure idea of a woman I tried and desperately failed to subscribe to . More. I have been frequently saying to my friends as of late “If we don’t ask we don’t get”. We- being brown girls in a world that hates brown girls. So I want more for us, us being the collective disenfranchized by patriarchy and other intersecting oppressions. It is from this place of carnal, savage femme desire that I am aware that in order for more to be made available a redress of power has to occur. An imbalance must be rectified. Meaning there has to be less. Less silence. Less suppression. Less oppression. Less dictating to people how to express their experience of oppression. Less complacency. Less contentment. Less tolerance of misogyny cloaked as the status quo. Less indulgence in respectability politics. Less of caring how our carnal desire is viewed or accepted through the male gaze. Less compromise. Less compromise. Less compromise. Less give and take (more taking). Less . Less shame. Less policing. Less feminine docility. Less apologetics. Less politeness. Less toxic masculinity. Less of toxic masculinity. Less transphobia. Less homophobia. Less explaining what these terms mean as if we are textbooks or pitstops for healing or therapists. Less “pick me” culture. Less denialism.
Less denialism of what one may ask?
Denialism of the fact that I live in one of the most violent countries in the world and the implications thereof. The implications thereof being the fact I am surviving a femicide but survival entails endurance and endurance… while it has been made to be read as one of the fundamental properties of brown women the world over, it is also a dangerous cloak laid over trauma – like flowers on a grave the world is quick to tell us how strong we are. But that is something I want less of – less buying into the idea that the strength that brown conjure up on a daily basis is innate to our forum. That strength is somehow the seductive sister of trauma instead of a dangerous breastplate put on in the mornings over the scars trauma and exhaustion. Somehow, I want less faux buy-in to the fallacy that we are strong and instead of the truth – that we are strong because we have no choice but to be and that there are bodies in the world that pain profiteer and benefit from this strength because for some reason it has become an resource in the collective imagination brown . I want less – less presentation of strength without its accompanying vulnerability and righteous rage. I want to create space for feminine vulnerability, separate from the sphere of the phallic policing thereof. Somehow, I feel Princess Nokia may be able to encapsulate what I mean best, from 0:46 – 1:01 if your impatience ravages you so severely that you can’t watch the whole video you’re a Vodacom subscriber ( in which case I understand).
She is my kin. She is my tribe.
I yearn for the universal embrace of “the bitch” if the bitch looks like a who doesn’t give a fuck any fucking more, in her pursuit of more. I write for the bitches. The ones who behave like men only because they yearn for the disproportionate power embedded therein by thousands of years of oppression. I write for the bitches who don’t take men seriously because we don’t have the luxury of mediocrity when we step into arenas with them and wipe the floor with them anyways. I write for the ones who are too scared to identify as a bitch ( in the reclaimed sense) because they’re still wrestling their delicate sensitivities to the ground. I write for the bitches who wish they knew how to express themselves but are desperately trying to develop the vocabulary to do so. I write for the bitches who hate that word but love feminism. I write for the misguided feminist bitches, who are sometimes seduced by the thought of misandry. I write for the brown bitches who get called bitches because we have resting bitch-face and are brown. I write for the bitches who can’t say bitch in front of our mothers whose politics differ so violently from our very own. I write for the bitches who were assaulted violently with this term for simply being excellent. I write for the bitches who grin and bare false apologies for their excellence. I write for the bitches who don’t know how to embrace their excellence or fear that they have none at all. I write for the excellent bitches – you reading this who may feel like she has none, oh misguided member of gang, you have it all. I write in the desire for more – are you starting to see what I mean? more self-expression and less censorship. I write for the bitches who didn’t get the joy of the absurdity that I’m alluding towards. So for you, my beautiful confused bitches who don’t quite understand how I’m a feminist and calling you a bitch in a way that isn’t derogatory :
“My body isn’t a political playground” – if anyone wants to get this on a t-shirt for me it would be much appreciated
Less denialism of the fact that many of the I know have been subjected to assault of some kind – myself included. Less denialism of the fact that I have, in the past been ashamed of this abuse – of this violence exacted against my divine feminine forum because I didn’t want to be “one of those feminists”. The cliche kind, whose aggressive politics were as a response to aggressive violations. The reality that I don’t want to be seen as “damaged goods” in the violent male gaze through which so much of my life has been filtered and benchmarked. The fact that I am and it has taken me years two write this down – not so much as an admittance to myself but as a against this country which I love so very much. Denialism of the fact that all of this, this mentality of shame is as a product of interpolation and internalized misogyny because the reality is that I am exactly one of those feminists and that that is perfectly okay. It’s okay because I don’t want to be viewed as separate from my kind. I don’t want to be held in high esteem for being more palatable or docile. I am exactly your run of the mill feminist – and I am grateful for who have changed the very fabric of this universe. So while I’m up here, on my cyber soapbox, denouncing denialism when are we going to admit that we’re in crisis. We are in crisis. Crisis because I am not the only one, I am not the first and how I wish I could’ve been the last. The last of my kind, to the toxicity of men in this country.
Do you have any social media? because if you do, you’d know that we’re terrified. Terrified of being made subject to re-traumatization by the ignorance of men in Salem witch trials like Cheryl Zondi. Don’t believe me? Read it for https://www.iol.co.za/sunday-
We’re exhausted of faux liberalism “encouraging” us to report assault on university campuses only to be met with inaction and disbelief. Recently, I read a post which stated that ” the truth does not depend on being believed” A sentiment which rings true indeed, but fails to address the reality that belief has material consequences. Belief can hail down justice from his high horse. Belief opens and closes doors rapidly in our faces and it is that can shatter the skyscraping, seemingly endless glass ceilings that we are presented with. Don’t believe me? Read the statistics for http://www.marieclaire.co.za/
Ironically, those who read this proved my point – that somehow need corroboration for our opinions to be held as valid and sometimes even this corroboration isn’t enough. (CC: your fav dead abuser triple cord, former President Jacob Zuma, current president Donald Trump, current performer R. Kelly ). So how then are we to respond to a mounting shit-pile of reports and statistics ( unattended to) that state we’re in crisis. We said ( and will continue to say) that To which we are met with outrage directed at the statement as to sentiments behind it – the sentiments that we are dying. Literally. in this country are being murdered and instead, we are supposed to remain polite. We are supposed to suggest change instead of insisting on it. We are supposed to critique institutionalized, systemic gendered violence in a way which properly follows the channels and due processes – all of which have gotten us here. To a place where #menaretrash – trash because many men cash in their historical patriarchal on a daily basis. What am I talking about? You interrupt . You have a wonderful girlfriend who is probably too good for you, but her was shit – the benchmark is so disgustingly low, that you, “the nice guy” seem amazing because systemically you outshine your tragic peers. And let’s talk about ” the nice guy” anyways, the one who sweeps in with his resume of all the times his ulterior motives of achieving a love interest hasn’t been met despite all his niceness. That somehow, the he has yearned after have evaded the snares of his generous, selfless acts of nicety. That somehow, her exercising her agency in choosing a partner of her own and taking your friendship as mere friendship has rendered you, the unappreciated champion of failing at love, but at least you’re nice. And your niceness is made all the while because you don’t suck in a way that is as blatantly apparent as your peers. Your patriarchal friends who of you, defile them and are met with your silence because hey? you’re the nice guy. So in a state of femicide, with nice guys as allies and not so nice guys as their friends – what exactly are to do?
Well, here are two of my suggestions which entail one another. Firstly, we need to abandon and revolt against the school of docile feminity. As Despentes suggested (in the video linked above), we need to do away with the learned of suppression and perhaps replace it with one of expression. A hunger for more. A hunger fed and unapologetically, to abandon this school with undoubtedly feel like an abandonment of self – for what are we then? Slutty who have reclaimed words hurtled against us or contemporary Eves in an revolt against our dear friend patriarchy? I strongly suggest abandonment of suppression in a search for more because this search will require articulation and articulation communication and communication change. I may not be changing the world with my seemingly meaningless posts but perhaps I’m changing my 4×4 block, codes of 1000010101010 which somehow present as feminism on your cellular device. It is in our platforms of communication (however dysfunctional) that we can strong arm men into the noose of communication because all we can do is communicate to find a solution – and unfortunately a unilateral solution is no solution at all. I opt for the somewhat violent imagery because let’s be honest, the masses will not easily volunteer for the dismantling of their privileges in exchange for equality. Equality looks foreign in the face of injustice and it is in the face of this injustice that perhaps ought to respond in a language which injustice understands? Despentes pointed this out years ago and it remains true still now – we talk, rage, scream violently about gender-based abuse but this dialogue has yet to find a receptive target, it has to find a subject, it has to be housed outside of the femme prerogative to take deeper root. And while burning bras is no longer as revolutionary as it once was – I can’t help but wonder if post-femicide, in the future, care-free feminists will giggle at our cyber attempts at feminism? But for now modern-day Eve, I implore you to abandon the school of docility and opt for expressionism, for the later is a school in itself and a school exists for dialectic teaching and subsequent learning. Perhaps, if we are all (all genders) raised in a non-toxic school of expressionism, bathed in feminism and swaddled in the hopes of finally dismantling kyriarchy things could change for the better.
Eve, what do you suggest?