March 23, 2008

Women: Assembly Instructions?

H/T to Donna Darko for pointing me to this essay. Below is just a fragment. Read it all

Women, they say above, should travel through life begging pardon and asking permission for being, and in order to be, women.

And traveling a path full of barbed wire.

A path which must be traveled by crawling, with head and heart against the ground.

And, even so, despite following the assembly instructions, gathering scrapes, wounds, scars, blows, amputations, death.

And seeking the one responsible for those sorrows in oneself, because condemnation is also included in the crime of being women.

In the assembly instructions for the merchandise known as "Woman," it explains that the model should always have her head bowed. That her most productive position is on her knees. That the brain is optional, and its inclusion is often counterproductive. That her heart should be nourished with trivialities. That her spirit should be maintained by competition with others of her same gender in order to attract the buyer, that always unsatisfied customer who is the male. That her ignorance should be fed in order to guarantee better functioning. That the product is capable of self-maintenance and improvement (and there is a wide range of products for that, in addition to salons and metal and painting workshops). That she should not only learn to reduce her vocabulary to "yes" and "no," but, above all, she should learn when she should speak these words.

There is a warranty included in the assembly instructions for the product called "Woman" that she will always have her head lowered.

And that, if for some involuntary or premeditated manufacturing defect, one should lift her gaze, then the implacable scythe of Power will chop off the place of thought, and condemn her to walking as if being a woman were something for which one must ask forgiveness and for which one must ask permission.

[...]

At home, in the fields, the street, the school, work, transportation, culture, art, entertainment, science, government. Twenty-four hours a day and 365 days a year. From when they are born until they die, women confront this assembly process.

But there are women who confront it with rebellion.

Women who, instead of asking permission, command their own existence.

Women who, instead of begging pardon, demand justice.

Because the assembly instructions say that women should be submissive and walk on their knees.

And, nonetheless, some women are naughty and walk upright.

There are women who tear up the assembly instructions and stand up on their feet.

There are women without fear.

They say that when a woman moves forward, no men move back.

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