What Exactly Are We Teaching Our Daughters? On Being Lectured About Feminism And Called A Thick Bitch Ditzy Girlie Stupid Twat Simultaneously

If I have girls, and I hope that I do, I’m going to try really hard not to give them a list of things they shouldn’t do because, genuinely, life is better without constraints, a lot of the time. But I’ll need them to know what feminism is, because no-one does now, or knowledge is selective and thin, and celebrities think it’s best to denounce the word like it shouldn’t exist and FB friends, mutual and actual ones, are always ready to educate. Be wary of that, though not wary in general. Sometimes, you have to trust your heart to the person holding it. Remember, even certificates can’t guarantee quality. And a profile picture doesn’t identify trolls, easily. So watch who you take lessons from, who’s giving them.

Firstly, importantly, I’ll tell these girls, my girls, not to call people thick bitches on Twitter, or online anywhere, because that shit spreads. And what does it say about you, that you have to resort to verbal slurs, instantaneously, extremely publicly, when rapport heads south? Secondly, to these insults, don’t label other women in attempts to degrade them, especially if you don’t know them, personally. This is important, because often women are undercut, passive aggressively, like it’s normality, so don’t remind them of the way they’re made to feel anyway by the media and members of the public. Using words like ditzy and girly and twat is just unnecessary, if you’re really trying to establish an academic point about femininity, feminism, the vote or women’s rights. Directing an insult in lieu of a conversation, unless it’s a joke one, destroys the scaffolds we’re building for our daughters so they won’t be oppressed by the moulds this world sets for them: of being ditzy, girly, stupid, twats. Labels are about as useful as Rotten Tomatoes percentage ratings: it’s a small slew of opinions.

Lastly, learn sarcasm. All too often, feminism’s so unpalatably serious, when it shouldn’t be. Sometimes a joke is the only way to make sense of something. Tread lightly online, I’ll tell my children, because you can’t completely tell tone on FB, and you might accidentally patronise somebody’s friend, assume you know most and, even if you do, say you’re the expert on what a feminist is, it’s impolite, surely, to laud this on somebody’s status, in a group conversation, and in no way upholds the feminism tenets of equality and solidarity. Don’t knock a person down if you can avoid it. Have a sense of humour about everything, even the most deplorable of things, because life will fuck you either way. And to laugh isn’t to make light, at all. Actually, it’s the only way, often, to give voice to the unpopular issues. To the subjects famous people offload like sandbags, because it’s bad business to say you care what a feminist is.

But daughters, above all, how many of you there are, be gracious. Learn what grace is. And don’t take shit. Know that there are smarter words than bitch.

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Maybe this is pointless

And maybe there’s nothing that’s not?

Summoned you like Ouija spirits, but really real, anticipating a late game fix, dissolution grudge; Katy Perry and Rihanna are alleged friends, after allegedly not.

On TV, pointless is ripe a replay, and writers have an endgame, pair they’ll put together if they’re on air in 2 years, 20 or 4. These are the inbetween episodes in which something has to happen.

Because how do you erase somebody? Those fountain pen felt tip disappearers that made mistakes invisible, even those you could squint if you tried. A line-through is more respectful, maybe, than a nothing even there.

I’d like to list the reasonable things. A Top 5 of life is about THIS. But I need more time. A Christmas cut-off, I think.

love her huh

I’m a Spy (NaPoWriMo #12)

They claim fraud but it’s not
I saw you cry your make-up off
still in your slippers, robe
asking your sister how to feel
when you’re married

In your heart isn’t fraud
but Jack’s clogging ventricles
bubblegum
Tom’s can’t-do attitude
absinthe, Patrón
Terry’s seven night drinks
Ben Affleck
and your husband’s refusal
to look at you

To hold séances with you
compromise on restaurants
or art
and who’s funnier:
Owen Wilson, Adam Sandler?
And who’s at fault here.
secret mission

Hook Up

Once, I wanted you in public but, looking on it this way round, maybe I wanted only what I knew I’d never have, like Hugo Boss or George Clooney’s transition from syndicated TV based on books to direction, and writing and frames, and two-yearly girlfriends who maybe sign contracts or something.

And you, and the years younger, think evasion is a boyfriend-girlfriend game, that snacks are placation, and emasculation is a text book term you haven’t learned yet. Next year, college, semester one.

Any job which isn’t over you isn’t a career I’m afraid, not what I’m planning for, or on, enrolling in continuous professional development courses for or retraining or experiencing work situations for years for free in the hope of a salary.

This might be the start of the slow dissolve, like sugar not quite melting in lukewarm tea, and our sweetness is tart, or will be, once the season’s second half airs.

Throw My Phone Away

Jack says, “Give me a lyric, then. A poetic one she wrote, that you’d use as an example of how to write.” So I do, I pick out lines I’ve memorised, the ones I remember anyway, which on the spot is tricky, my mind goes blank at even simpler questions like, “What are you working on?” or what my favourite film is. I couldn’t tell you.

“Nothing special,” Jack says, I reply, “Exactly,” and he says, “What? But…” and I tell him, “That’s what they’re about, songs of hers, how things seem special, but really, nothing is, and what you’ve left is all you want, and that’s not special either but mostly shit, and the dreams aren’t achievable the way TV says and an anthem, a chart song, can sound solid, but when you listen you see she undercuts everything with realism, with the fact that happy endings, you can get them, temporarily, but be ready for the moment you give it all back.”