Tuesday, 15 September 2009


Living is nice when you’re spun like a kite…

Somewhere beyond the dawn, where opaline skies bite down on the tops of autumn forests, we are flying. Strapped to diamond wings, we spiral round and around, cutting our twin silhouettes into the blue. Down below, amidst the kaleidoscope of burning branches, someone must be pulling the strings, but this does not concern us. Up here, temporarily, the air gushing into our lungs and hitting the base of our spines tastes of freedom. Arms outstretched, eyes wide, our bone crosses kiss the clouds.

Holding hands, our smiles are seamless: we are locked in harmony. Up here, for once, tears are meaningless, and we can bear to look down at our distant world unveiled; ablaze: blurred and flushed by our bleary-eyed minds borne from mornings spent sleeping in and praying for release. The colours are swimming together and nothing makes sense, but we know this and somehow this makes everything alright. The breeze rippling our cut-paper wings and tickling our skin seeps through our pores and steals into our blood like a narcotic.

Carefree, lightheaded, we fly free ~
~ And I melt into you.

Life is real when you’re dreaming…

Hello, sister. I know you’ve been waiting for this, a vis-à-vis that seems as if it’s fallen out of a dream sequence, so I’ll waste no time on introductions. I think we both know who I am.

I live inside. Sometimes you can feel me stirring, lodged between your birdcage ribs and your knotted spine; a murmur on your heart. I’m the creature within that you sometimes sense waking, stretching out, breathing-in your blood. That’s when I’m not up here, of course; airborne. I’m like a ghost, you see; a lucid poltergeist in the form of a child. This whole skin and bone thing - my hand in yours - it’s just a trick of the mind.

Magic? Don’t be silly, such things don’t exist. Bringing you up here was hardly difficult, especially after you came so close to cutting yourself lose. After all, broken dolls float to the top of the bowl, and learning to fly is easy when you’re used to drowning. You weren’t putting up much of a fight – what with your turgid nightmares and your tepid screams, I almost felt sorry for you.

Believe me, I want to help you. And as I am she and you are me, helping myself means I’m helping you, right? I’m your sweet avenger, righting your wrongs by helping myself to the pieces of you that fell out of place long ago.

Sister, I strung you up to save you.

It’s not my fault that the strings are starting to fray.

Life’s a dream when you’re reeling…

And now I see you for what you really are: rapscallion smile sewn jagged across my likeness, coalstone eyes sunk into the shell of my soul. Your masquerade is obscene and you know it: built up out of all those broken pieces of me, no wonder you’re rotten to the core. I was never able to escape my shadow, and now I know why. You were clinging on, tooth and nail, the whole time.

Oh sister, my hollow-hearted double, you never taught me to fly - only to hang, limp, like a marionette with tangled strings. Sister, you helped me thread my own noose, and built me my own cross to bear. But sister (nails digging in tight, drawing blood), you’re forgetting that if I am you and you are me, then we are one together. We’re spun, spit sisters interlaced by mutual blood and memories. And some webs are stronger than string.

- With a snap we fall into the sunset
still spinning…
* * *

Another prose-poem, this time inspired by (and containing lyrics from) the song 'Spun' by Babes in Toyland. I'm not too thrilled with how this turned out (especially part iii), so this may undergo further editing post-upload. And of course, any suggestions/constructive-criticisms are more than welcome!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Things To Come...

First: an apology. Sorry there hasn’t been anything put up here recently! Since going back to school, I’ve kind of gone back to the drawing board on blogging and stuff – so all those past post-plans I’m afraid have gone out the window. I can’t seem to concentrate on anything for a substantial period of time, so writing about books or poems or abstract concepts is really beyond me at the moment! It's awful how quickly school drains me!

However, I have started work on something that hopefully should be up here in a couple of days – when I have time to finish it off! And, much to my delight, my new ‘Hideous and Perfect’ Angelspit CD arrived today (beautiful and signed – and amazing!), so after I have gotten over the sheer happiness of owning it, expect something on that too!

Anyway, hopefully I will soon get used to the rhythm of school again, and find time to write more things for here – otherwise it’ll soon get depressingly dead, which I really don’t want to happen. But even then updates won’t be as frequent as they were during holiday time, I’m afraid…

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

'I Shop, Therefore I Am' - Welcome to Generation Misogyny

Art by Barbara Kruger

Recently I read my good friend J’s article on Gender and its Complications, and it got me thinking about gender and how much ‘what you look like’ is indicative of it.

Everyone is aware of what feminine stereotypes exist. Germaine Greer personifies ‘The Stereotype’ wonderfully in ‘The Female Eunuch’. The Feminine Woman is, essentially, the girl in the magazine or on the TV smiling with pearly white teeth, decked out in the latest fashions, trying to sell you the latest type of lip gloss so-and-so designer has created. She is thin, beautiful, and infinitely happy because she has bought this particular product, and it has solved all her problems. Never more will she have to worry about a bad hair day, her nail-polish becoming chipped or unwanted body odour – life is perfect thanks to this product! And there she stands, an immovable idol, not a hair out of place, no unsightly flab, not a blemish in sight.

Greer describes her thus:

‘Her glossy lips and matt complexion, her unfocused eyes and flawless fingers, her extraordinary hair all floating and shining, curling and gleaming, reveal the inhuman triumph of cosmetics, lighting, focusing and printing, cropping and composition.’
This is what you must look like to be the feminine ideal. You must hide behind a painted smile, wear what’s ‘in fashion’, and look, smell, feel and even taste like unruffled perfection. This is what little girls spend years dreaming, wishing to look like – ‘inhuman’. Like Barbie, with perfect plastic proportions (this means big boobs and a tiny waist), flawless symmetrical features and an expression of permanent ecstasy (this is where that DIY Botox that J mentioned would come in handy!), girls want to become dolls:

‘For she [The Stereotype] is a doll: weeping, pouting or smiling, running or reclining, she is a doll. She is an idol, formed of the concatenation of lines and masses, signifying the lineaments of satisfied impotence.’
Impotence? But hang on – isn’t this picture-perfect face what’s meant to be defining womanhood? For surely that is what ‘feminine’ should mean; what defines us as women, our femaleness? Surely The Stereotype should portray our sex properly, including our lusts, our restless imagination and our brilliant intelligence? Is that what we are – weak, powerless, lacking in sexual desire? Or is this what ‘they’ want us to be?

We must think of how the modern concept of ‘femininity’ is defined.

In the Victorian era, the Feminine Woman would be meek and mild, with delicate features and health. She would have no ideas of her own, be totally subservient to her husband, and was devoted to the care of her children. No self-respecting middle-class woman would wear makeup, because this show of vanity was considered to be a sign of a prostitute. This ‘angel in the house’, as she was later to become known, was basically the personification of men’s desire for the perfect subservient wife. ‘Feminine’ came to mean the opposite of ‘masculine’ because women must accommodate to men’s needs and not desire to be like him in any way – for that is not her place. As Virginia Woolf says in ‘A Room of One’s Own’:

For man wants to see something attractive when he looks in this looking-glass, doesn’t he? Something weak, delicate and beautiful that reaffirms his superiority over it. Because he can only be superior if something is inferior to him – and that is women’s role.
‘Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing
the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.’

So men and our patriarchal culture define what ‘feminine’ is, as they define what ‘masculine’ is. These two ‘labels’ (as they do not, in reality, stand for ‘femaleness’ or ‘maleness’ at all) have become the ideals that both sexes respectively aim for. And who doesn’t want to fit into the ‘popular’ concept of the ‘ideal’, to be accepted, to be loved? For these wishes are human nature – we are, after all, dependent on love.

But luckily, society has made becoming the feminine ideal attainable for all womankind. You can now spend, spend, spend and become just like her! Because if you buy all the right products, dress yourself in the latest fashions and hide your face behind a load of slap, you too can be happy. With an eternal pearl-white smile, you too can be the Feminine Stereotype!

You shop, therefore you are, darling!

‘Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to
body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.’

Mary Wollstonecraft, ‘A Vindication of the Right of Women’, 1792

And what effect is this having on our society? Surely by now, in this affluent age, we should all be happy? Teenage girls are afflicted with eating disorders, anxiety and depression because they don’t fit into the popular definition of ‘perfect’ – but everyone’s happy, right?

Recently, I came across a series of photographs by dA artist, Maryana. Her whole Statistic Series is great, and you should definitely check out her gallery, but a couple of facts from two of the pictures really stuck-out for me. Firstly:

And secondly:
Girls see over 400 advertisements per day telling them how they should look
I don’t think you need me to tell you that these two facts are linked.
50% of girls between the ages of 8 and 14 are dieting

I don’t want the Feminine Stereotype to equate to Girl Poison any more. I want femininity to be what I make it. What it means to be female is different for every girl and woman out there, dependent on their class, race, personality, etc. and no one should be told how to be themselves. Being feminine should be about embracing your womanhood, warts and all, and loving yourself for who you are - not lusting after the plastic-fantastic face of some photoshopped doll in a magazine. Let’s take back our own identities, and be who we really want to be.

Because we think, therefore we are.

* * *

For more on this, see this article from Feministing.com with a short film on ‘Generation Misogyny, which puts my point across far more eloquently than my article!