Let Them Have It
I am privileged to be building a community of really rad, generous women who are brilliant, honest, and totally inspiring.
What surprises me is how much of ourselves we hold back as women, as mothers, as people. These women I know are BEYOND and yet spend much of their time trying to seem less smart, less talented, and just less so that others (namely men) feel okay about them. This is the price of living in a man’s world with rules that we didn’t set or agree to but that unfortunately infringe upon our ability to be the so much muchness that we are.
I’m not gonna lie. I’ve studied feminism and gender relations as long as I can remember. My high school had feminist books and when I found them, I literally had them out all school year. There was something in those books that spoke so deeply to my soul that even having them in my possession felt like power. The truth of those books spoke to me at 14 years old, before I’d had to a chance to even live as a woman. Even then, I knew that what was contained between the covers was the truth. My truth. Every woman’s truth.
I never subscribed to biologically determinist accounts of feminism, the ones where our biologies are our inevitable destinies. Well, that’s not true. There was something in the way that the French Feminists spoke about the very nature of our bodies as earthy and messy and chaotic and mad and so, so, so powerful that it did make my knees shake during my undergrad.
Take Luce Irigaray’s beautiful words that read like the poetry of my soul:
Each sex has a relation to madness. Every desire has a relation to madness. But it would seem that one desire has been taken as wisdom, moderation, truth, leaving to the other sex the weight of a madness that cannot be acknowledged or accommodated.
All these years later, after having experienced both the madness of what my body can produce – literally, human life – and the madness of my own mind, I relate to these 1970s musings differently.
I once was at a party during my doctoral degree full of hippie women and graduate students like me. The hippies started talking about their cycles and the cycles of the moon and the power of their bodies and I couldn’t hide my disdain. I engaged one in a battle around what I may or may no have referred to as “1970s Earth Mother bullshit” which I told her essentialized us and took all of our power away by bestowing it to our bodies, our sex. She couldn’t deal with me. I get that. Now.
I’m not saying that all the goddessy, we are only born of flesh and bone and vagina and that’s what determines us stuff is now for me. What I am realizing is that we are still perceived as the weaker sex, we continue to be discriminated against based on our ability to bear children. We still often take primary responsibility for our children. We do all this, and we do it goddamn well, while being pressured to be perfect mothers who spend all of our time breastfeeding and cuddling not to mention working full-time and doing everything else. I’m saying that we can’t see the forest for the trees because the trees are always convincing us of our lack and if that’s all you’ve ever been encouraged to focus on, than that is what you will inevitably see.
I guess what I’m saying is that we should let them have it.
I gave this advice the other day (totally inspired by RuPaul btw), because I was speaking to someone who is literally brilliant and she is living smaller than her amazingness can contain. She NEEDS to let them have it. To let them see all of her. To live as big a life as she can muster without kowtowing to their insecurities, their fragile hold on power. We all do. Instead of turning on ourselves and buying into the notion that we need to be better mothers, better lovers, better workers – we need to instead turn outward and be better – that is, MORE – ourselves. We need to be more than they can handle. We need to be TOO MUCH. We need to be fabulous in the face of our own oppression.
We need to LET THEM HAVE IT.