Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus (details)
I went to the bathroom in a building on my campus and saw this on the back of the stall door. While I’m deeply upset that a young woman went through such a horrible ordeal, I’m also very touched that so many other girls wanted to help her and offered advice as well as ways to seek help. We are women hear us roar.
This is my nephew. Just in case it escaped your attention, he is dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
Yesterday I was out for lunch with some of my family, including my nephew who I hadn’t seen for a few months. He was very excited to see me and I was him.
As soon as we sat in the restaurant, he started pulling out some princess figurines (which he had amusingly named Rihanna and Gaga), and he was explaining to me how beautiful they were. He told me he wished he could be as beautiful as them even though he was a boy.
This kind of comment was nothing new for him.
After we all started eating, I noticed he was facing away from us. He turned around with a tear rolling down his cheek and refused to say what was wrong. This was very out of character for him. He was usually so attention seeking and theatrical, and incredibly intelligent for his age.
After a while he put his head into his arms on the table and started crying a lot more. I leaned into him and asked what was wrong again.
He whispered really quietly to me “I don’t want to be weird.”
I responded to him saying “Weird? I’m weird. Weird is good, weird is different!”
"But I don’t want to be different, it’s wrong," he replied through tear-stained fingers.
Angry, I started “Let me tell you what’s wrong. You are five years old and people are already telling you what you should and shouldn’t say. Or what you should and shouldn’t wear. You’re crying because somebody decided what boys are supposed to do and what girls are supposed to do, and nobody should differ from that. Well, let me tell you a little something about normal…
It used to be normal to laugh at people because they had different coloured skin. It used to be normal to bully somebody if they were a boy and they loved another boy, or a girl who loved another girl. It used to be normal to pick on someone for being too fat or too skinny. It used to be normal to pick on different, and the worst part is that a lot of that stuff is still going on.
Why would you want to be normal, you’re extraordinary! If anybody tells you that you can’t be a beautiful princess, you put on that fucking dress because you are beautiful and you are a little weird, but nobody normal ever made a fucking bit of difference in the world. You wear whatever the hell you want, and like whatever the hell you like, because it’s people like you that are going to make a real, lasting change.
The world needs a lot more weird and a lot less normal.”
And he understood exactly what I meant. He lunged in for a hug and kissed me on the cheek before uttering under his breath “What does ‘fucking’ mean?”
I love that kid more than I’ve ever loved anything. Don’t make his generation fight our battles.
Shaming of every variety needs to end now, we should be celebrating different, not condemning it. Not just for society as it is now, but for society as it will be.
How many more tears do we need our children to cry?
Also known as Mary Fields, Stagecoach Mary was one of the toughest ladies of the Old West. Born as a slave on a Tennessee plantation in 1832, she gained her freedom after the Civil War and the resulting abolition of slavery. After the Civil War Mary made her way West where she eventually settled in Cascade County, Montana.
In Montana, Mary would gain a reputation as one of the toughest characters in the territory. Unlike most women of the Victorian era, Mary had a penchant for whiskey, cheap cigars, and brawling. It was not uncommon for men to harass her because of her race or her gender. Those who earned her disfavor did so at their own risk, as the six foot tall, two hundred pound woman served up a mean knuckle sandwich. According to her obituary in Great Falls Examiner, “she broke more noses than any other woman in Central Montana”.
In Montana, Mary made a living doing heavy labor for a Roman Catholic convent. She did work such as carpentry, chopping wood and stone work. However, it was her job of transporting supplies to the convent by wagon that would earn her the name “Stagecoach Mary”. The job was certainly dangerous as she braved fierce weather, bandits, robbers and wild animals. In one instance her wagon was attacked by wolves, causing the horses to panic and overturn the wagon. Throughout the night Stagecoach Mary fought off several wolf attacks with a rifle, a ten gauge shotgun, and a pair of revolvers.
Mary’s job with the convent ended when another hired hand complained it was not fair that she made more money than him to the townspeople and the local bishop. When the bishop dismissed his claims, he went to a local saloon, saying that it was not fair that he should have to work with a black woman (he said something much more obscene). In response, Mary shot him in the bum. The bishop fired Mary, and she was out of a job.
After a failed attempt at running a restaurant, Stagecoach Mary was hired to run freight for the US Postal Service. Today she holds the distinction of being the first African American postal employee. Despite delivering parcels to some of the most remote and rugged areas of Montana, Mary gained a reputation for always delivering on time regardless of the weather or terrain.
At the age of seventy, Stagecoach Mary retired from the parcel business and opened a laundry. In one incident when a customer refused to pay, the 72-year-old woman knocked out one of his teeth. For the remainder of her life, Mary settled down to peace and quiet, drinking whiskey and smoking cheap cigars. She passed away in 1914 at the age of 82.
There are so many exceptionally good books with strong female characters, but not nearly enough, and boys are not encouraged to immerse themselves in them. How many people would never consider buying Anne of Green Gables or Island of the Blue Dolphins for their 10-year old boy, but don’t pause before giving a daughter Treasure Island or Enders Game? Books featuring girls are, for the most part, understood to be books for girls. Which is interesting as well because, in addition to there not being enough, books featuring girls as protagonists are disproportionately among the most frequently banned children’s books. In a recent Buzzfeed list of 15 commonly banned books for kids, almost half were about girls. Girls who do things apparently scare a lot of people.–
all women were bigger and stronger than you
and thought they were smarter
women were the ones who started wars
too many of your friends had been raped by women wielding giant dildos and no K-Y Jelly
the state trooper
who pulled you over on the New Jersey Turnpike
was a woman and carried a gun
the ability to menstruate
was the prerequisite for most high-paying jobs
your attractiveness to women depended
on the size of your penis
every time women saw you
they’d hoot and make jerking motions with their hands
women were always making jokes
about how ugly penises are
and how bad sperm tastes
you had to explain what’s wrong with your car
to big sweaty women with greasy hands
who stared at your crotch
in a garage where you are surrounded
by posters of naked men with hard-ons
men’s magazines featured cover photos
of 14-year-old boys with socks
tucked into the front of their jeans with articles like: “How to tell if your wife is unfaithful” or “What your doctor won’t tell you about your prostate” or “The truth about impotence”
the doctor who examined your prostate
was a woman and called you “Honey”
you had to inhale your boss’s stale cigar breath
as she insisted that sleeping with her was part of the job
you couldn’t get away because
the company dress code required
you wear shoes designed to keep you from running
And what if
after all that
women still wanted you
to love them?
For the Men Who Still Don’t Get It, written 20 years ago by Carol Diehl.
She wrote a post about the history of this poem that is worth reading.
Someone requested a post of all of the current Strong Female Characters, so here you go.
These were salient. I still love them dearly. Check out the artist’s whole tag for the original posts/”prayers” (quotes because author’s intention is mostly(?) tongue-in-cheek) but I know who populates our mental landscapes, who we measure ourselves against, whose words we speak in, which faces appear in our dreams.