When I was 10 years old, my family and I were taken to Auschwitz. My twin sister Miriam and I were separated from my mother, father, and two older sis…
An interview with a Holocaust survivor on Reddit is simply amazing, if you have time to read it’s worth it. Here’s a question and answer I particular was moved by:
Q: I have anger. I wish I could learn to forgive and let it go. My experience is nothing compared to what you endured, and yet you are able to find forgiveness in your heart. How do you get to a point where you truly let it go? I’ve tried and it always resurfaces. I’m so tired of being angry, I feel it is making me old before my time.
Take a piece of paper and start writing a letter to the person or people who caused you all that pain and anger. It took me four months to write mine. Don’t stop until you finish, and at the bottom write “I forgive you” when you feel it in your heart. You have to feel the physical freedom from that pain and anger.
When my museum was firebombed in 2003, I asked myself, “Why would anyone want to do that to me?” First is shock, second is disbelief, and then you ask yourself, “Am I going to hate these people?” If I let anger take over, I am going to become a victim again. And even as the flames were still burning the building, I could see it was an easy way of slipping back into that victim mentality. Now I said I was very sad, and I was. But I would not let them win by becoming a victim.
As part of a panel on the “State of Female Justice,” the actress told a fascinating — and very telling — story about doing a gender-swapped reading of the script for American Pie. The swap resulted in the women getting “all the good lines” and laughs, while the men were sidelined to the roles of supporting props.
"The men who joined us to sit on stage started squirming rather uncomfortably and got really bored because they weren’t used to being the supporting cast," Wilde said. "It was fascinating to feel their discomfort [and] to discuss it with them afterwards, when they said, ‘It’s boring to play the girl role!’ And I said, ‘Yeah. Yeah. You think?! Welcome to our world!’"
I have heard comments like those referred to in this article SO MUCH in the last few months since I cut my hair, mostly on YouTube, the home of 12-18 year olds.
The ones that confuse and hurt me the most are like this one I got last week:
“Love your videos, will be back when you grow your hair out.”
Uh, ok? My hair doesn’t affect what words come out of my mouth, dude? But he can’t see me as anything else, I guess. Guys like him tune in because I’m attractive to them. Without long hair, I’m not attractive to them. Ergo…goodbye. The substance of my work doesn’t matter because my looks are the only context they have for me in their lives. And that makes me sad, because I’ve always tried to be more than that, without screaming it in people’s faces.
And it makes me sad for THEM actually. Because with that attitude towards women, they might be missing out on meeting an awesome girl/woman for themselves in their real lives. But we exist in a culture that only treats women as paper doll cutouts we can get aroused/attracted to. Our media does that to us, men do it to women, women do it to other women. I mean, how many animated GIFS of women are reblogged on Tumblr for their WORK rather than a dress they wear or a pretty pose? It’s an interesting question, one that even I might have a bad record with.
So part of me doesn’t even blame those YouTube guys. But it does make me want to show them that there are other ways to be, even if they cut me out of their online video lives, I still exist as who I am, out of their very rigidly defined parameters of “female-dom”. And maybe that’s enough. Just to BE.
Think I’ll be keeping my hair short for a long time.
Ambition is demanded of us because we know mediocrity is not an option. When society tells women that if we are just averagely good-looking, or averagely smart, or reasonably high-achieving, we will never be loved and safe, perfectionism is an adaptive strategy. We learn that if we want love and security, we have to be perfect, and if it doesn’t work out, well, that means we just weren’t good enough. And we know it probably won’t work out well. Girls aren’t fools. They know what is being done to them. They know what means for their futures in terms of money and power.
Girls get it. An under-reported, crucial facet of the study is the extent and cynicism of girls’ concerns about economic equality and unpaid work. A full 65% of girls aged 11-21 are worried about the cost of childcare, and while 58% say they “would like to become a leader in their chosen profession, 46% of them worry that having children will negatively affect their career.
Girls know perfectly well that structural sexism means they can’t have everything they’re being told they must have. They are striving to have it all everyway, striving to have everything and be everything like good girls are supposed to, and it hasn’t broken them yet, for good or ill. That’s is one reason young women still do so well in school and at college despite our good grades not translating to real-world success. It’s one reason we’re so good at getting those entry-level service jobs: we are not burdened by the excess of ego, the desire to be treated like a human being first, that prevents many young men from engaging proactively with an economy that just wants self-effacing drones trained to smile till it hurts.
The press just loves to act concerned about half-naked young ladies, preferably with illustrations to facilitate the concern. Somehow nothing changes. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe part of the function of the constant stream of news about young girls hurting and hating themselves isn’t to raise awareness. Maybe part of it is designed to be reassuring.
It must be comforting, if you’re invested in the status quo, to hear that young women are punished and made miserable when they misbehave.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat it: for all those knuckle-clutching articles about how girls everywhere are about to pirouette into twerking, puking, self-hating whorishness, we do not actually care about young women - not, that is, about female people who happen to be young. Instead, we care about Young Women (TM), fantasy Young Women as a semiotic skip for all our cultural anxieties. We value girls as commodities without paying them the respect that both their youth and their personhood deserves. Being fifteen is fucked up enough already without having the expectations, moral neuroses and guilty lusts of an entire culture projected onto this perfect empty shell you’re somehow supposed to be. Hollow yourself out and starve yourself down until you can swallow the shame of the world.
We care about young women as symbols, not as people.
“We have these brief lives, and our only real choice is how we will fill them. Your attention is precious. Don’t squander it. Don’t throw it away. Don’t let companies and products steal it from you. Don’t let advertisers trick you into lusting after things you don’t need. Don’t let the media convince you to covet the lives of celebrities. Own your attention — it’s all you really have.”—Transom » Jonathan Harris
Great article on “getting unstuck”.
I recently saw that Carey Mulligan married the lead singer of Mumford and Sons (late to party, I know). Now all I can think about when I hear one of their songs is Carey Mulligan and her husband curled up on their couch, listening to the song together. Appreciating it. And each other.
Sometimes it becomes a montage, of Carey and her husband fighting, throwing a wine glass, fighting over bills, and then they’re sitting in a field, separately, gazing in to the sunset with plaintive eyes. During the chorus they make up. Of course. Oh, and she always has a glimmer of a tear in her right eye. And the montages are mostly in black and white. Sometimes sepia.
I don’t think this is typical? By the way, Happy New Year.