WRITES

January 4, 2018

A Lot And Nothing

I’ve met the most prestigious people in college campuses, university halls, lecture days un-obligatory meetings who have never thought about death I’m nauseous when I think about sharing the same room, breathing the same particles of air, loving the oxygen in between our bodies with those who haven’t considered who haven’t even dreamed! of what it means to be dead! to swim in coldness, in question marks.

A Lot And Nothing

I’ve met the most prestigious people in college campuses, university halls, lecture days un-obligatory meetings who have never thought about death I’m nauseous when I think about sharing the same room, breathing the same particles of air, loving the oxygen in between our bodies with those who haven’t considered who haven’t even dreamed! of what it means to be dead! to swim in coldness, in question marks.

Who are you if you haven’t thought about how Unquestionable death will be? how thrilling the final chapter will be? the big bang to everyone’s downfall? don’t you love it? to find all our little bodies trembling silently, and immobilized the Fattest Cats and the smallest littlest dreams all end the same we end up cuddling in the same craddle we live in scorn, and die in a love we deem Unimaginable.

-  Savannah

Illustration by Niti Mueth

January 4, 2018

It’s a Girl

Birth: “It’s a girl” the doctor said. I am privileged that my identity today matches with this proclamation, but who would I be without such confines? I will probably always wonder.

1: My well-meaning parents dress me exclusively in frills and bows, but soon we won’t have enough money for anything but hand-me-downs.

3: My older brother gets books about dinosaurs and superheroes, and I get books about baking cupcakes and playing dress-up. My brother secretly wants my toy tiara, and I want those damn dinosaurs.

It’s a Girl 

Birth: “It’s a girl” the doctor said. I am privileged that my identity today matches with this proclamation, but who would I be without such confines? I will probably always wonder.

1: My well-meaning parents dress me exclusively in frills and bows, but soon we won’t have enough money for anything but hand-me-downs.

3: My older brother gets books about dinosaurs and superheroes, and I get books about baking cupcakes and playing dress-up. My brother secretly wants my toy tiara, and I want those damn dinosaurs.

4: At pre-school my best friend is a boy, until our classmates make fun of him for playing trucks with a girl. I wonder why this false dichotomy made him stop being my friend.

5: In my Catholic kindergarten we learn about Eve’s mistake. I’m sent to the timeout chair for wondering why Eve was blamed when Adam was just as guilty. All she wanted to do was learn, Hell, all I wanted to do was learn.

6: I start the first grade, and a boy five years older than me threatens either to kiss me or kill me on the playground. I tell no one, because they might think I provoked him.

7: A beautiful, kind boy cries alone behind the bleachers after his pet fish dies because his friends called him a pussy.

8: A boy shoves me off the snow hill, hard, for beating him in a race. This is the first of many times I’ll be called a bitch. I don’t know what stings more, the ice in my throat or the growing fire I feel in my heart.

9: I’m the only girl on my baseball team. I get a double hit and I swell with pride when I see my dad clapping from the stands, but the boy playing second base tells me that girls shouldn’t play baseball and I should just go back to ballet.

10: A bully who always pushes the girls around throws a rock at my head with no provocation, and I punch him in response, albeit with a sprained wrist. The principal tells me I should have let it go, boys will be boys after all.

11: I get my period for the first time, and I think I’m dying. I binarically learned to equate femininity with bloodshed before I was even cognisant of the violence conjured just by being a woman. I’m too scared of my own vagina to even try using a tampon; it’s like my own personal warzone.

12: I’m in junior high now, and I grow breasts, like perfect hills on the valley of my body. I hate them, I hate the way grown men stare at them, and I hate myself more than anything. I’m only twelve years old and I hate myself.

13: My parents decide the shorts I wear in the melting summer heat are too short, as if the sudden deposits of fat on my thighs brought on by puberty disqualify me from comfort.

14: There’s only one known transgender girl in my town, and everyone calls her a crossdresser and a tranny. They don’t just misgender her, but they call her an “it” as if she’s no longer deserving of human status, as if women of all intersections aren’t deserving of humanity.

15: We’ve finally reached high school, and an older boy asks me out. I don’t know him so I say no, and he calls me a slut, a dirty skank, and a whore, even though I haven’t even kissed anyone yet. My friends tell me that I should’ve said yes.

16: Some of girls in my biology class pretend to not understand how to dissect a frog so the boys will help them. These girls are smart and strong and generous, but why would that matter?

17: It’s my graduation year and I refuse to go to my prom party because it’s widely known that thirty year old men lurk in the woods outside, waiting for drunk girls to stumble out. I can’t wait to get out of this town, naively assuming that the world beyond my little island would be any safer for girls.

18: A boy forcefully grabs and gropes me during frosh week at a party. I told someone about it angrily and they wrote it off. When did my vagina stop being my own? Or was it ever really mine to begin with? Tampax owns it for 6 days a month, my doctor gets to decide whether I get birth control or not, and women in my province are still suing for the right to abortion. I want to reclaim my love for my vagina, but it’s hard to do when everyone seems to hate them so, so viciously.

19: Intersectionality underlines itself in my word processor, refusing to acknowledge the axes of oppression and privilege that I and every other woman face daily. A woman in a hijab is pushed into train tracks in Toronto, Sandra Bland, a black woman is murdered by the police, and we discuss the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous women on unceded Mi’kmaq land without acknowledgement. And yet intersectionality, apparently, is not a valid word.

Now: After a three hour Vagina Monologues rehearsal, I learn that the school I chose, the school that chose me, has fundamentally betrayed my existence and the existence of every woman of every intersection who has ever fought to make her voice heard. Our school is now not only implicitly but explicitly contributing to the patriarchal culture that creates the need for WGST “It’s a girl”, the doctor said. “Congratulations.”

19: I watch Grease for the first time and am annoyed and frustrated by the consistent pop culture tendency to mould women into whatever their male counterparts would find sexually desirable. Damnit Sandy your poodle skirts were cute! I sarcastically tweet something about how men are not worth compromising ourselves, and a group of meninist-y men from my residence launch an online witch hunt to smear my name and get me fired from an on-campus position. Via an anonymous app, I am called the standard “dumb bitch” insult that gets tossed at any woman in any position of “power”, and they equate my feminism to ISIS. I am angry and now understand the phrase “seeing red” because I think I’m about to pop a fucking blood vessel, but I’m also incredibly sad. Sad that in 2016 men still think it’s okay to talk about women in a disparaging, deeply misogynistic manner, and know there will be next to no repercussion for it.

20: I have what begins as a light-hearted conversation about self-defence techniques with one of my best friends. She jokes about kicking someone in the balls if they try to attack her and I’m reminded of an article I read that describes a technique of predators to wear cups while looking for victims, and I tell her to gouge his eyes instead. What human being should know that information? Why should I have to know to gouge another human’s eyeballs because he would have accommodated for his most vulnerable area? Why should I have to tell my best friend through teary eyes that no matter what we do or how we dress we will never, never be safe in this world.

- Jill

Illustration by Niti Mueth 

January 4, 2018

10 Things Not to Say to a Bisexual Woman

1. “Oh you’re bi? You must be into threesomes then.” I don’t even know where to start with this particular brand of ignorance. Bisexuality means that I am attracted to my own gender and to other genders, it doesn’t mean I want to have sex with multiple people of multiple genders at the same time. My sexuality is not for anyone else but me, and I decide when, where, and who I have sex with.

2. “Can you make out with another chick? That’s so hot!” Let me be incredibly clear: my sexuality does not exist for your pleasure, desire, fetishization, or to get you off.

10 Things Not to Say to a Bisexual Woman

1. “Oh you’re bi? You must be into threesomes then.” I don’t even know where to start with this particular brand of ignorance. Bisexuality means that I am attracted to my own gender and to other genders, it doesn’t mean I want to have sex with multiple people of multiple genders at the same time. My sexuality is not for anyone else but me, and I decide when, where, and who I have sex with.

2. “Can you make out with another chick? That’s so hot!” Let me be incredibly clear: my sexuality does not exist for your pleasure, desire, fetishization, or to get you off.

3. “You’re just experimenting, it’s just a phase.” I love who I love regardless of gender. Maybe your heterosexuality is just a phase?

4. “Just go full lesbian already!” If I was a lesbian I would identify as such. But I’m not. Say it with me folks, bisexuality is real.

5. “You’re just a straight girl looking for attention.” I pretended to be straight for 19 years because of people like this. The attention bisexuality garners from straight people (and sometimes other queers) is mostly negative, so why would anyone want that? We identify as bi not because it’s trendy or cool but because it is who we are. We shouldn’t have to reject our bisexuality anymore that you have had to reject your straightness.

6. “Wow *insert female celebrity here* is so hot! I guess I’m going bi or going gay for her.” Stop, stop, stop and re-evaluate this statement. Of course you think Laverne Cox or Ashley Graham are attractive (who doesn’t?). But do you have genuine sexual and/or romantic feelings for them? If you do, then that is definitely a feeling worth exploring. If you don’t, you’re making it seem like our sexuality is a light and airy choice that we made on a whim and acting like our struggle for justice in a hetero and cisnormative society isn’t valid.

7. “How do you date? Aren’t your partners scared that you’ll cheat on them?” Just because I’m attracted to more genders than a hetero does not mean I will cheat on them. Can someone point me to this major study saying that we’re all a bunch of cheaters that all straight people must have read? Oh wait there isn’t one? Hmm.

8. *From an ex-boyfriend* “I don’t care if you sleep with other girls while we’re together but don’t sleep with another guy.” You can see why he’s an ex instead of a current boyfriend. Cis men that don’t consider sex with other women cheating obviously do not see homosexual sex as real or valid. Fellow queer ladies: run when you hear this.

9. “But you don’t look queer?” I have long hair, present as a femme, as wear clothes that show off my curves. None of this excludes me from the LGBTQ+ community. There is no one universal look for queer women (though I do love me a good flannel shirt).

10. “Being LGBTQ+ isn’t a big deal anymore. I mean you can get married now and have the parade, what more do you want.” People globally are systemically oppressed for their queer identities. We still face violence, homelessness, and even murder for who we are. Our struggle is not over, so either support us or at least be quiet about your ignorance.

- Jill

Illustration by Niti Mueth