January 21, 2010

On being a woman who cries

Posted in Feminism, Gender issues, Personal at 1:57 pm by The Lizard Queen

I am a crier.  I cry when I’m sad; I cry when I’m happy.  I cry when I’m angry, or frustrated, or feeling shame, or just plain overwhelmed.  Movies make me cry.  Books make me cry.  I cry at things that are touching; I have to leave the room when those freaking ASPCA commercials come on TV.  I cry when someone I care about cries.  Catch me on the right day and I might cry if I’m good and startled, the way an infant will.  It’s what I do.

I have also been accused on numerous occasions, primarily by men, that my tears are manipulative, like I’m crying in front of them just to get my way, or to make them feel bad, to get attention, or… I don’t even know, really.  At any rate, I’ve been accused of being manipulative for crying.  Which, honestly, is almost funny to me—or would be if it weren’t so bloody irritating, if it didn’t reflect such an apparent profound misunderstanding of who I am and what I do—because believe you me, if I could make it so that I only cried in private, by myself, I would make that change in a heartbeat.  In addition to the accusations of manipulation, there’s the social narrative that tears = weakness, so apparently these folks are willing to believe that I (and other criers) are thinking, “Hey, so I get to appear manipulative and weak and puffy-faced?  Awesome!  Sign me up!”

All that said, then, I really, really appreciated Amanda’s take-down of this article by Spencer Morgan in the New York Observer.  A sampling:

Of course, one thing that makes the whole “crying is nothing but manipulation” nonsense have even more traction is that women undeniably cry a lot more than men.  That makes it easier for ungenerous men, and some women, to chalk crying up to female inferiority—either women are manipulative bitches who are only pretending to be that sad, or they’re hormonal messes who can’t be trusted to handle the grown-up world.  That a lot more men are likely to blow up in rage and scream and yell to the point where everyone’s uncomfortable isn’t taken as evidence that men are inferior or overly emotional, I’ll note.  But I have special hate for the notion that crying is something that women can and should have more control over.  When people take nasty swipes like Morgan’s, I want to ask them if they can drop and start crying right now, to prove to me how much it’s a matter of will and not reflex.

The whole thing is very much worth the read.  And furthermore, I think the comments thread is well worth reading, as well, especially if your reaction to what I am or Amanda is saying here is something along the lines of, “But, but—bitchez be crazy!”  (Though you can maybe stop after the first hundred or so; somewhere around 125 a dude—apparently a relatively regular commenter, from what I gathered—comes in to try to mansplain things in earnest with the argument that crying is basically just not something Grown Ups do unless they have a properly Grown Up reason for doing so, and it’s pretty painful to watch.)

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January 20, 2010

Hump Day Poetry: Mark Doty

Posted in Poetry at 5:47 pm by The Lizard Queen

At the Gym

This salt-stain spot
marks the place where men
lay down their heads,
back to the bench,

and hoist nothing
that need be lifted
but some burden they’ve chosen
this time: more reps,

more weight, the upward shove
of it leaving, collectively,
this sign of where we’ve been:
shroud-stain, negative

flashed onto the vinyl
where we push something
unyielding skyward,
gaining some power

at least over flesh,
which goads with desire,
and terrifies with frailty.
Who could say who’s

added his heat to the nimbus
of our intent, here where
we make ourselves:
something difficult

lifted, pressed or curled,
Power over beauty,
power over power!
Though there’s something more

tender, beneath our vanity,
our will to become objects
of desire: we sweat the mark
of our presence onto the cloth.

Here is some halo
the living made together.

—Mark Doty, 2002

January 14, 2010

Haiti

Posted in Current events, News at 9:31 am by The Lizard Queen

Feministe has a post up detailing a variety of ways to send aid (predominantly in monetary form) to Haiti.  Please check it out, and be sure to read the comments as well, where there are some helpful follow ups as well as some good suggestions for the long haul—since Haitians will be struggling with the aftermath of this earthquake long after it has disappeared from the mainstream news cycle.

Also, I would just like to state for the record that Pat Robertson can fuck directly off.

January 13, 2010

Hump Day Poetry: William Carlos Williams

Posted in Poetry at 4:43 pm by The Lizard Queen

The Uses of Poetry

I’ve fond anticipation of a day
O’erfilled with pure diversion presently,
For I must read a lady poesy
The while we glide by many a leafy bay,

Hid deep in rushes, where at random play
The glossy black winged May-flies, or whence flee
Hush-throated nestlings in alarm,
Whom we have idly frighted with our boat’s long sway.

For, lest o’ersaddened by such woes as spring
To rural peace from our meek onward trend,
What else more fit? We’ll draw the latch-string

And close the door of sense; then satiate wend,
On poesy’s transforming giant wing,
To worlds afar whose fruits all anguish mend.

—William Carlos Williams, 1909