Doorbusters!

Black Friday is gross and demeaning and bad for the world. I should have stayed home and Bought Nothing, but I needed a laptop and I couldn’t sleep anyway, having inhaled roughly 4,000 gravy-and-pie-related calories. So I got up just before midnight and sallied forth to Best Buy to see what might be seen. It was raining, but I figured, Hey, an adventure.

The parking lot looked like Calcutta. I got that lonely-in-a-crowd feeling, so I started talking to the woman next to me. I had an in because she was waring a University of Alberta sweatshirt.

“Canadians don’t really do this, eh?” I asked. She allowed that no, they did not, but — like most Albertans in public — she was less than effervescently friendly. Plus, she and I were looking for the same laptop, so our line-friendship was doomed.

The doors opened, whereupon the throng fell upon 50-inch plasma TVs with glad cries. I ran to the laptop aisle, grabbed a $379 miracle of Chinese construction, and got in the checkout line. The customers behind me were a group of bros* waxing poetic about their new electronic toys and their post-doorbusting plans:

Bro #1: “Bro, we’re going to IHOP, right?”

Bro #2: “Fuck yeah.”

Bro # 3: “I’ma get waffles, yo. Pancakes are fuckin’ GAY.”

Ordinarily, I’d have turned around and given a stern “watch your mouth” speech — they were teenage boys, and I can handle those — but, right at that moment, there was an unexpected occurrence.

I started my period. With cramps.

Here’s where I got a taste of Black Friday shame: I couldn’t step out of line and head for the ladies room, because I’d have lost my spot. The line was three city blocks long. So I decided to be stoic and stalwart; to stare stone-faced into the middle distance like Maxine Hong Kingston’s woman warrior, Fa Mu Lan (who was also known for letting her moon blood flow).

Except I bet Fa Mu Lan was wearing underpants.**

Anyway, I left Best Buy just in time to save my socks, and returned home like a warrior: rain-soaked, covered in blood, and victorious. Now I have the laptop I’m typing this on, some pie, and a heating pad. Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to all!

 

*A group of fish is a “school” and a group of crows is a “murder,” but we lack a name for groups of roaming frat boys. I suggest a “ram” (a “douche” being both misogynistic and politically problematic). A ram of bros.

**I just don’t feel like you need them with yoga bottoms, you know?

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Obligatory Thanksgiving post

I’m thankful for you, my radfem community, and also a few other things:

1. My vagina incense burner. I got this at MichFest; the artist modeled it on her own genitalia, and I  mean really modeled it — she encased herself in clay and let it dry. The best $10 I ever spent. You put the incense in the urethra.

 

2. Books, and a free country to read them in.

 

3. Cats and the used-tampon knit toys you can buy for them on Etsy.

 

4. Storm Lake, Iowa.

 

5. San Francisco, and being lucky enough to have friends there.

 

6. My strong calves.

 

7. The literary passion of high school seniors.

 

8. Cacti that looks like an inquisitive little face.

 

9. My stepmother, in all her incarnations.

 

10. Not ending up with the woman who left this on my doorstep. Note the pointed literary selection, softened a bit by the addition of organic granola and spare pair of athletic socks.

 

11. Imperfections.

 

12. This apology card I found in a Chicago bookstore.

 

13. Lesbians who aren’t afraid to be out in high school.

 

14. My refrigerator (blurry, but you get the idea).

 

15. iPhoto.

Women’s Studies: I do not think it means what you think it means.

My friends, Women’s Studies has morphed into “Gender Studies.” Women come in second (“Gender and Women’s Studies,”) or even third (“Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.”) Lots of trans scholarship, too.

One program is called “Women Studies” and this is why:

Women Studies is the history and future of our department. Analyses of sexism and of women’s places in the world are critical to our work. We retain the non-possessive “women” instead of the more common “Women’s Studies” to indicate that our work as a department is not owned by or solely relevant to women.

First part’s great; the second’s baffling: Why is the work not owned by women?  Would that be bad? Shouldn’t it be solely relevant to us, at least most of the time? Should I just slit my wrists with my labrys charm?

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on men, trans, or queer studies if that’s what you want, but I want Women’s Studies. I want to study the lives and experiences of lesbian feminists; even separatists. I want a program where it’s OK to be that, and I’m not finding it. I’m even afraid to include a link to this blog in an application — it’s much more likely to hurt than help me — and that says a lot.

Also. I found out today that I’d be the oldest Gender and Women’s Studies Ph.D. candidate at my local university, should I decide to apply. I’d spend the next 6 years “investigating gender in society and culture in historical and contemporary contexts from nuanced multi-cultural and multi-racial perspectives” as well as “utilizing and interrogating existing methodologies” with a bunch of people born in 1990 who’ve never paid their own rent. No thanks.

I know I can read and learn on my own; a Ph.D. is expensive and unnecessary and no one can find a university-level teaching job anyway. But tonight, I’m sad and discouraged.

Dear Women’s Studies Ph.D program,

Please consider my doctoral application. I will bring many strengths to the department, especially  a rapacious narrative hunger    general badassery   $30,000 worth of student loan debt  a curious and well-rounded intellect, shaped by years of real-life experience as well as theory. One time I had sex with Noel Coward‘s great-granddaughter. While I haven’t earned any university-level Women’s Studies credits, I’ve read enough feminist theory to fake my way through a University of Toronto Women’s Studies party where I made out with two women in the backyard know that I’m ready to begin graduate studies.

I love women! and vaginas!  I have lived as an out lesbian in a midsize Arizona city; a small California town; a South Carolina suburb; and a Canadian metropolis. I’ve traveled to Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, and Africa, where I discovered more and more about women’s lives around the world. I’ve worked as a writer, a teacher, a nanny, a nightclub bouncer, a boutique manager, where I sold the bejesus out of tiny purses shaped like dachsund heads a Pillow Fight League referee, and a hospice worker. I applied for a job at a “queer-friendly” sex store but didn’t get it because I blanched when they told me to say “front hole” instead of “vagina” when selling dildos to transmen.

While I do not have the traditional academic background of most Ph.D. candidates, I can think creatively and critically; string together   go all Gollum on  land the mothership of funk write a coherent sentence; and commit full-time to the program. I’m cool with another $30,000 in student loan debt; what are they going to do, execute me if I default? I hope to contribute something substantive and lasting to women’s lives and to the great tradition of feminist scholarship. My areas of interest include women and weight training; feminist pedagogy at the secondary level; and the significance of online feminist communities.

Please please please,

Sincerely,

Phonaesthetica

wrinkle removal secret cows transgender

…are those not the BEST search terms in the history of Google?

The news in brief:

  • Boy students complained today that my literature assignment for the quarter “has nothing in it for us,” i.e. males. After I stopped laughing, I said, “Welcome to the girls’ world. Try to remember how it feels.”
  • Little do they know, I’m planning a poetry unit for spring. Both boys and girls will dig it. Oh, how I love you, Judy Grahn and Eileen Myles. I love you so much, it makes my eyes cry all by themselves.
  • Also, I love this cartoon by Hyperbole and a Half.
  • Yesterday, in class, I compared Chinese foot-binding to silicone breast implants, but no one agreed. “Ladies PAY for that,” they said. I wanted to go all Judith Butler on them, but then I felt really tired so I just went on to the Cultural Revolution and Mao.
  • Eileen Myles! My girlfriend says I can sleep with you if we ever, you know, end up at the same party. It would totally be cool.
  • There are only 14 full-time Women’s Studies Ph.D. programs in the U.S., so I don’t know how successful my apps will be. But I’m going ahead with them anyway.
  • The zit on the bridge of my nose is so big, it’s distorting my vision.
  • EILEEEEEEN!

Do you think Robin Morgan ever speaks at high schools?

“Pussy bite”? Someone found me by Googling “pussy bite”?* What the hell is wrong with people?

In other news, I got irritated today when a dude in fourth period snickered upon hearing that the book we’re reading in class is often taught in Women’s Studies. I asked him, politely, what exactly the fuck was so funny.

“Women’s studies?” he giggled. “Is that a real thing? Is there, like, Men’s Studies, too?”

“No,” I said, going on to explain that, because men are the default humans — like Times New Roman is the default font  — almost everything in this world is made and done with men in mind. Every day is Men’s Studies Day! Girls and women are auxiliary humans, like Century Gothic or Wingdings. Therefore, girls’ and women’s experiences of said world are radically different from his. Ergo, Women’s Studies is a valid and challenging discipline, albeit not as sparklyhip as video game design or rap producing.

*Also, “verginer.”