I am always afraid to listen to a new female artist. I am afraid that either she will be better than me and render my work irrelevant, or that she will be horrible, embarrass my entire gender, and make people less likely to listen to my work (thus rendering it irrelevant). I get that this feeling is fucked up and I do my best to work through it, but I cannot pretend it does not happen.

‘If I don’t want it — power — then
it won’t hurt when I can’t have it.’
But you can have it. Don’t you feel it?
Some repressed ambition stirring
nauseously inside you. The piece
of Eve’s apple that won’t digest.
The slow monstering of you
when you have to remind
yourself to smile and be nice.
The tiger hinging on its hind legs.
Don’t be grateful. Be ungrateful.
Be on your last nerve. Get ready.

What Men Want

roxanegay:

Men want what they want.

So much of our culture caters to giving men what they want. A high school student invites model Kate Upton to attend his prom, and he’s congratulated for his audacity. A male fan at a Beyoncé concert reaches up to the stage to slap her ass because her ass is there, her ass is magnificent, and he wants to feel it. The science fiction fandom community is once again having a heated discussion, across the Internet, about the ongoing problem of sexual harassment at conventions — countless women are telling all manner of stories about how, without their consent, they are groped, ogled, lured into hotel rooms under false pretenses, physically lifted off the ground, and more.

But men want what they want. We should all lighten up.

It’s hard not to feel humorless as a woman and a feminist, to recognize misogyny in so many forms, some great and some small, and know you’re not imagining things. It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away. The problem is not that one of these things is happening, it’s that they are all happening, concurrently and constantly.

These are just songs. They are just jokes. They are just movies. It’s just a hug. They’re just breasts. Smile, you’re beautiful. Can’t a man pay you a compliment? In truth, this is all a symptom of a much more virulent cultural sickness — one where women exist to satisfy the whims of men, one where a woman’s worth is consistently diminished or entirely ignored.

Read the rest at Salon.

Don't Back Me in That Fucking Corner

roxanegay:

[snip]

That’s what happens when we have a culture where men (or women for that matter) are encouraged to push and push and push. It’s a culture that encourages not getting to know someone or flirting or any of that. It treats a “yes” as a prize, a conquest. It doesn’t matter who the yes comes from. A woman’s individuality is completely erased in these scenarios. 

As a feminist, that’s mostly what I’m interested in—how women can be treated like individuals, like human beings with thoughts and feelings that matter—not precious jewels, just, human in the same way that the guys for whom these guides are being written, are being treated as human.