Thursday, March 31, 2016

Use Your Feminist Seal Whiskers

"Rather than rely on sight and sound," The Atlantic explains, "Seals use antenna-like whiskers --  precise instruments capable of sizing a herring down to the centimeter."

We all have seal whiskers. We call them bullshit detectors.

My whiskers are on my chin, yesbut they're also the helplessly transparent organ of my face, in the expressions that I make when I'm watching the news.

Human faces might only express four basic emotions. We need a fifth basic emotion. Feminism. Feminism face.

I make a fear-disgust face, watching Donald Trump. Reading ma blogs. Fear-sadness face watching a Beastie Boys video with my son, 11, that so shocked me that I let out a shocked mother-sheep bleat of upset. No he didn't! Did Mike D really just push that girl? 

It was Fight for Your Right To Party. And I sang along in 1986, live. The Beastie Boys opened for Madonna.

Whose party? Whose rights? is what I wonder now. Clearly, it was theirs.

I tell my son, "If you ever push a girl off the couch LIKE MIKE D and then get on top of her and kiss her even though she DOES NOT WANT IT like she's a used tissue or something you'd kick with your shoe,  I will haunt you." I will shake my chains. Son, I will be that voice in your head.

I'm haunted by my time at Smith College, when I woke up to the water that I swam in, and realized it was rapids for girls. Or grrrls. Or wymmin.  We were salmon twisting in uncomfortable leaps upstream in competing messages. Be cute. Be good. Twirl ya pearls. Are blowjobs sex? Has anyone ever hit you? Your body is a battleground. Has anyone ever pushed you or used you as a tissue?

Have you ever ----? We talked in late night sisterhood conversations that I don't have with anyone anymore, even with my wonderful amazing sister. I, who marched on Washington, haven't felt brave. Other issues -- called more important -- have dominated.

The water has gotten hotter, and like the frog in the joke that doesn't know it's being made into frog soup because the temperature has gone up imperceptibly we've gone from Free To Be You and Me to inured to bikini toddler girls, sex for social power, violence, ass breaking the internet, revenge porn, and politicians who can say she's bleeding out of her wherever and --  

I'm the one who doesn't want to be that sharpie?  That downer, the so-called shrill woman?  It's to the point that I've censored myself.

My great-grandmother was a major suffragette in Western Pennsylvania. She was baller. She stood on a soapbox. She was outspoken. My third wave feminism by contrast, has started with a funny twitch of my whiskers.

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