Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fuck off with your "non-invasive procedures" - I'm a poet-warrior!

I have been reading through the Rhexis archives and it strikes me that this site has been rather loaded in the direction of Angry Young Man ranting. Clearly things need to be evened up a little. So here's a vaguely kinky feminist offering, and yes, it's slightly arsey and fluffy and poetic and I wrote it at eleven o'clock this morning after eating a packet of Pro-Plus. Commentbots, shoot me down. I am terribly unrepentant.

Poet-warriors need regular disinfecting. So here I am in the shower late at night, thinking too much again, trying to clean my mind, clear my head, hot solving water running in blessed rivulets over my shoulders.

Stepping out into an in-between-planes world of steam, scrubbing away at the other side of the mirror, is an Angry Young Woman in a dirty pink towel. Maybe a new breed. I clutch at my own flesh with writers' hands; spattered with little constellations of inky stars, scrawled with doctors' appointments. I buckle myself into a suit and tie, slick back an unruly crop of dark hair. Still-clammy skin breathing girl-perfumes into boys' clothes, stolen or borrowed. Scent of kink and confrontation. Armour and actuality.

I could pretend that this female body I inhabit is extraneous to the cause, I really could. After all, I am shocked regularly enough by the sudden strangeness of form of this irregular little frame I'm living in to know that my body is not my mind is not my heart and soul. But why the necessary discrepancy?

Poet-warrior-girls, girls who are born poets and academics and writers and truthsayers, we don't need to make the choice between sexuality and credibility, do we? No, we don't. Fuck that. And yet, in this city, that's what the frantic majority of us do; the bluestockings button up their blouses, the barbie dolls dumb down when they're out drinking with the boys. Not even the lesbians get off so easily, although apparently they do if they're at Hilda's.

It doesn't have to be so clean-cut.

Oh yes, dears, I'm a feminist. I've read my Wolf, my Woolfe, my Wollestonecraft; Daley and Offenbach, the big-gunning big sisters of the women's movement who seemed like they would tear down cities of pain and dirty power and claim the female body back for us, and who managed in the end only to set it, gemlike, in a new cast of clawlike socio-academic discourse. The fairy godmothers of feminism who, in the end, were fatally unable to take a joke. Thank you, ladies, all the same.

Younger, I burned, I raved for the revolution I was born too late to save; having already digested The Female Eunuch and taken its polemic suggestions as gospel, when my first period appeared I put a finger between my legs and tasted, a challenge to my own disgust. Wasn't bad, really. Bit salty.

I'm sorry, does that shock you?

It's funny in here, chaps. Nakedness like alcohol makes me feel horrible and sexy. I am addicted to this form. I dance in it, I fuck with it, I write out of it, I dress it up with my various confrontational makeups to assault the unenlightened with sudden savage beauty. I sit with my legs apart and laugh with my head thrown back and sometimes I dress like a girl and sometimes I sleep with girls and sometimes I sleep with boys and sometimes I dress like a boy. But I'm not a boy.

I'm an Angry Young Woman with my softskinned idiosyncracies, my poetry and my politics and my pink lipstick.

I am NOT a poet in the body of a girl.

I'm a poet warrior, so you can fuck off with your Women's Studies, your sterile intimate wipes, your waiting rooms and your non-invasive investigative procedures.
And sex is as much a part of my armour as my fineliners, my whisky, my books of Blakeian dystopia -I enjoy it far too much; it keeps me firing on all cylinders; and it gives me this vague notion to mangle people's minds. Tell me that being a poet-warrior is extraneous to my being a young lady who likes sex and sedition, you may as well tell James Dean that the leathers and the huge motorcycle had nothing to do with it.

They had EVERYTHING to do with it.

So, sometimes I'm a boy, and really I'm a girl. Gender is a fuzzy area that's slicker and sexier when it's removed from dry academia. I live in my body, but I am not my body, but I am fast and fuckable and in your face and still haven't learned to sit with my knees together.

I am what the best and most terrible of us are, a new breed of young and luscious meta-evolved bloody mental mongrel, and if it bothers you, you can be one too. Buy my drugs. Make my meals.

Suck my sticky strap-on.

I'm being straight with you.

Drop me a bitter kiss. I'm sitting still for this. We are broken and brilliant creatures and ecstasy and enlightenment are our birthright.


At 11:44 pm, Blogger Sable X. Veins said...

Well, you score points for a) first feminist rant on The Rhexis, and b) most poetic mission-rant. I am tempted to comapre use of language to Conrad.

At 12:35 am, Blogger Withiel said...

That is, in a word, fantastic. I'm fairly sure that's probably the most daring piece we've seen here yet, to be honest. In that there's a degree of self-revelation without (too much) self-fictionalising. Also, lots of subtle (but daring) refiguring of feminism there. Also, the point about traditional roles being Options rather than Paths is Very Important, and may need to go into some sort of official mission-statement. On the Angry Young Man issue, I'd suggest that firstly it's because Veins, Glands and myself are, in fact, Angry Young Men, and secondly because I, for one, feel very uncomfortable about discussing such matters. To a degree, I feel that to do so would be to speak for women, and also, that as a man, to engage with feminism in any way than uncritical appraisal is to be unhelpful. HOWEVER, there's also a part of me that thinks to separate things by gender is as insane as separating things by hair colour, and the PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE, and if we're not all going to fuck each other to death we need to start having non-exclusive discourses. Thoughts, please?

At 12:40 am, Blogger Sable X. Veins said...

Well, yes.

At 9:46 am, Blogger kedazzle said...

'As a man, to engage with feminism in any way than uncritical appraisal is to be unhelpful.'

Ah, you see, now that's one of the places where feminism stumbled; the fantasism of 'the movement' as hardly less of a mysterious female univers than, say, the birthing room or a tupperware party, partly a deliberate effort on the part of the 'sisterhood' feminists, served to terrify even those members of the opposite sex (distinguished from opposite gender) who were/are most sympathetic out of proper and necessary engagement purely out of the fear that they might say something wrong, or not understand.

If feminism is to WORK at all, anymore, it needs to be a discourse in which all strata of society are invoved. If it's restricted to (in practice today, mostly educated, middle-class) women, it becomes defunct. The equivalent of members of the white establishment saying 'racism? well, that's a black person's issue, isn't it?'

If the reasoning is that we're all people, then everyone should have an equal right to the discourse. Sure, you've never had a baby; but neither have I! As a middle-class, southern, oxford-educated, white, gendernonconformative female, I'm excluded too from a lot of 'women's experience' - but at the end of the day, I'm enlightened, well-read and a writer; if I don't engage, who will?

At 10:40 am, Blogger Garth Wintergreen said...

"The equivalent of members of the white establishment saying 'racism? well, that's a black person's issue, isn't it?'"
It is problematic to equate gender and skin colour. Being 'black' as opposed to 'white' is a difference of skin colour alone (although cultural differences frequently result). Being 'female' as opposed to being 'male' is a much larger issue, something that is not only a physiological difference (as with skin colour), but also an emotional, hormonal, sexual, etc. difference as well. Whilst I agree that feminism should be an issue debated and criticised by both men and women and disagree with Withiel that 'a man... engag[ing] with feminism in any way than uncritical appraisal is to be unhelpful', I do feel that a male approach is certainly less knowledgeable and perhaps less 'helpful' due to the biological differences inherent.
Regardless, I thought the article was excellent and I think we should address feminism as an issue on the Rhexis more frequently. I think I'll start with Wollestonecraft...

At 3:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across this post on the Rhexis forums, and I have to say that this is fantastic.

As someone who keeps on trying to pass on her dog-eared Greer to her little sister and failing, this article gives me hope, you know?

~Jenni~ (you know, chains_of_irony ;) )


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