I was very moved a few days ago by an article published on-line by my denomination. You can read it (Here). The series of short articles is called Braver/Wiser: “Life is full of hard edges and complicated choices. Braver/Wiser gives you weekly messages of courage and compassion for life as it is. Every Wednesday we deliver an original written reflection by a contemporary religious leader, and brief prayer, grounded in Unitarian Universalism.” How we need both courage and compassion in these times! In the relatively near future, I will be honored by having some words of my own included.
But, oh my! The Reverend Misha Sanders in her article reports an elderly woman, a stranger, saying to her in a store, “You have beautiful hair. If you slim down, Honey, you’ll have to fight off the men.” I’ll let you read the article to find out how she responded, but it made me cry. Read it please.
Her article also made me reflect on some of my own way of being in the world.
Some straight women say they want to be thin in order to be more attractive to men. This objectifies the female body in unhealthy ways, and if a fat women becomes thin and “finds a man” she will always wonder if he would have loved her if she had stayed fat. God, I hate that idea. Fat people are every bit as lovable as thin ones, and to deny that fact is part of the patriarchal rape culture. In that culture, men see women as created for their pleasure, to use, so they can just be “boys being boys.” So many of my sisters are filled with rage right now as rape is being defended by Republicans so desperate to control the Supreme Court that they don’t mind adding (another) sexual predator to that lofty bench.
That rage is almost all-consuming as I listen to as much of the hearings as I can stand. But I am going to try to think of something else for a moment. I have never been a serial dieter. I can laugh that I lost the same 20 pounds twice, but others I know have done the yo-yo thing their whole lives. I never wanted to be thinner in order to attract men, because, as a lesbian, my sense of other women is that they are attracted to the spirit of the person, the personality, not just the surface appearance. I certainly did not want men, “fighting over me.” Why does that phrase remind me of dogs fighting over a bone? Bones have no agency. Meat. It is a frightening and disgusting concept that a woman would want that.
I obviously can’t change the subject today. I can’t even think, because, yes, #metoo, and all survivors are triggered by what is happening. I am stunned, but not surprised, by the callousness of the old white men sitting in judgement today, not really caring. And I am awed by the courage of a woman brave enough to speak the truth.
(My stats for the last week – down 1.2 pounds, drank over 7 gallons of water and exercised for 330 minutes. My total weight loss so far is 53 pounds.)
Vengeance will be ours
For every time you did not stop
To ask if it was OK with us
And for every time we said no
And you did not listen
For every cat call and every grope
For every pair of pants
You couldn’t keep zipped.
For every girl-child and woman
Who was afraid to speak
For every female you blamed
And slimed with the shame
That was your own creation
Be afraid for your time is ending
As ours is being born
Our daughters will rise as warriors
Our sons will be steady, kind, and strong.
Judith came with her knife
And Holofernes found his reward
We will all be smiling
When your heads, finally,
Begin to roll.
Feel free to hope
That the knife is only