“Be a lady they said. Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Your pants are too tight. Don’t show so much skin. Don’t show your thighs. Don’t show your breasts. Don’t show your midriff. Don’t show your cleavage. Don’t show your underwear. Don’t show your shoulders. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination. Dress modestly. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves.
Men have needs. You look frumpy. Loosen up. Show some skin. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it. Wear black. Wear heels. You’re too dressed up. You’re too dressed down. Don’t wear those sweatpants; you look like you’ve let yourself go.
Be a lady they said. Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too thin. Don’t be too large. Don’t be too small. Eat up. Slim down. Stop eating so much. Don’t eat too fast. Order a salad. Don’t eat carbs. Skip dessert. You need to lose weight. Fit into that dress. Go on a diet. Watch what you eat. Eat celery. Chew gum. Drink lots of water. You have to fit into those jeans. God, you look like a skeleton. Why don’t you just eat? You look emaciated. You look sick. Eat a burger. Men like women with some meat on their bones. Be small. Be light. Be little. Be petite. Be feminine. Be a size zero. Be a double zero. Be nothing. Be less than nothing.
Be a lady they said. Remove your body hair. Shave your legs. Shave your armpits. Shave your bikini line. Wax your face. Wax your arms. Wax your eyebrows. Get rid of your mustache. Bleach this. Bleach that. Lighten your skin. Tan your skin. Eradicate your scars. Cover your stretch marks. Tighten your abs. Plump your lips. Botox your wrinkles. Lift your face. Tuck your tummy. Thin your thighs. Tone your calves. Perk up your boobs. Look natural. Be yourself. Be genuine. Be confident. You’re trying too hard. You look overdone. Men don’t like girls who try too hard.
Be a lady they said. Wear makeup. Prime your face. Conceal your blemishes. Contour your nose. Highlight your cheekbones. Line your lids. Fill in your brows. Lengthen your lashes. Color your lips. Powder, blush, bronze, highlight. Your hair is too short. Your hair is too long. Your ends are split. Highlight your hair. Your roots are showing. Dye your hair. Not blue, that looks unnatural. You’re going grey. You look so old. Look young. Look youthful. Look ageless. Don’t get old. Women don’t get old. Old is ugly. Men don’t like ugly.
Be a lady they said. Save yourself. Be pure. Be virginal. Don’t talk about sex. Don’t flirt. Don’t be a skank. Don’t be a whore. Don’t sleep around. Don’t lose your dignity. Don’t have sex with too many men. Don’t give yourself away. Men don’t like sluts. Don’t be a prude. Don’t be so up tight. Have a little fun. Smile more. Pleasure men. Be experienced. Be sexual. Be innocent. Be dirty. Be virginal. Be sexy. Be the cool girl. Don’t be like the other girls.
Be a lady they said. Don’t talk too loud. Don’t talk too much. Don’t take up space. Don’t sit like that. Don’t stand like that. Don’t be intimidating. Why are you so miserable? Don’t be a bitch. Don’t be so bossy. Don’t be assertive. Don’t overact. Don’t be so emotional. Don’t cry. Don’t yell. Don’t swear. Be passive. Be obedient. Endure the pain. Be pleasing. Don’t complain. Let him down easy. Boost his ego. Make him fall for you. Men want what they can’t have. Don’t give yourself away. Make him work for it. Men love the chase. Fold his clothes. Cook his dinner. Keep him happy. That’s a woman’s job. You’ll make a good wife some day. Take his last name. You hyphenated your name? Crazy feminist. Give him children. You don’t want children? You will some day. You’ll change your mind.
Be a lady they said. Don’t get raped. Protect yourself. Don’t drink too much. Don’t walk alone. Don’t go out too late. Don’t dress like that. Don’t show too much. Don’t get drunk. Don’t leave your drink. Have a buddy. Walk where it is well lit. Stay in the safe neighborhoods. Tell someone where you’re going. Bring pepper spray. Buy a rape whistle. Hold your keys like a weapon. Take a self-defense course. Check your trunk. Lock your doors. Don’t go out alone. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t bat your eyelashes. Don’t look easy. Don’t attract attention. Don’t work late. Don’t crack dirty jokes. Don’t smile at strangers. Don’t go out at night. Don’t trust anyone. Don’t say yes. Don’t say no.
Just “be a lady” they said.”
Writings of a Furious Woman Blog
Painting: Goddess Kali Maa
by Nancy Lankston
This is a good morning to kiss your demons
and change them into dark angels.
Do not drive them away or they will return.
Lust is not a demon but a dark angel filled
with un-created star nectar.
Anger is not a demon but a dark angel of healing fire
dancing in your amygdala.
Grief is not a demon but a dark angel bearing
seven oceans of love in one jar.
The demon of depression who lives underground
keeps Wisdom hostage, binding
her dark angel bones in delicious mycelia.
The dark angel of addiction brings gifts
under one broken wing, and uses the other
to help you fly, for one of yours is broken too.
If you do not bow to your dark angels, they will
possess you and you will have to act them out.
So breathe them in, let them become your
shouts and sighs, pants of lust and terror
in your lungs. Now exhale and dissolve them
into the clear ocean of awakening.
They don’t possess you, you possess them.
Your dark angels have become the blue sky,
a swirl of hummingbirds, tree frogs
discussing everything. But beware
of enlightened teachers who claim no darkness.
They will lead you into a deeper darkness,
the shadow that hides from itself.
Against your beautiful demons a true teacher
will never set your heart.
A true teacher will empower you to kiss them
with that kiss which the mind gives
to its most terrible thoughts,
so that names, images, teeth marks, hieroglyphs
of veins scrawled on the cave of your liver,
neurons twisted into Sanskrit
etching ancient spells into your hippocampus,
the rippling gristle-flower of sound in your bellybutton,
all disappear into one Body, this Body,
where you taste the starless wine of night itself
and give birth to tomorrow’s sun.
I realized that in spite of the very helpful healing work I had done in the past, that as a woman, the modern Western and even ancient spiritual techniques that served me before fell short of fully addressing my physical, mental, emotional, energetic, and spiritual nature as a woman. And how could they, for they were created by (and generally made for) men?
For example, while the Vedic and Buddhist meditation techniques I learned helped me observe my pain from a place of detachment, they guided me away from delving into my pain—to feel and own it. The Goddesses, however, showed me that as a woman, it was vital for me to fully feel my pain before I could heal it. Another revelation was when I realized that instead of just talking about my feelings to process them, that unleashing them through physical movement, sound, or sacred ceremony profoundly elevated my experience of release.
And so it wasn’t until I re-discovered the buried ancient mysteries and wisdom teachings of the Goddesses that I was able to truly heal and flourish on every level as a woman. At first, embracing the Goddesses of the underworld led me to uncover the deep-seated lack of self-love, self-worth, and self-value that was mirrored back to me in my outer patterns.”
-Syma Kharal, Goddess Reclaimed:
13 Initiations to Unleash Your Sacred Feminine Power
image: Mother Goddess
by Nancy Lankston
Isn’t it odd that once upon a time in Europe a woman could be killed for making potions from the plants around her.
Isn’t it insane that once upon a time wise women were burnt or drowned for helping birth babies, knowing their herbs, gathering in groups of more than two, being outside alone, being strong, being beautiful, being ugly, being different, being sexual, being non sexual or touching a nettle, smelling a rose or drinking wild teas.
Isn’t it madness that a woman who knew her body, her mind and her heart was cast aside as evil, as a sinner and her life taken away.
Women! Do not let the ancestral memory of this that is held in your make up, in your bones and blood hold you back. Rise dear sweet sisters, rise so that our daughters and daughters daughters don’t have to wonder when we lost our tongues and denied our hearts.
Grow a new tongue, invite the wolf in, awaken the witch and dance under the moon. Embrace your heart, your womb, your gut and your wisdom.
Roar dear sister, break the silence and take back your power so the young ones won’t have to.
~ Brigit Anna McNeill
Image: Edward Kimmel, Wikimedia Commons
“The woman who takes the time to grow herself in darkness becomes familiar — perhaps for the first time — with the real source and containment of her psychic strength. No longer is her strength dissipated in obeying an idealized father figure, in pleasing a lover, in trying to satisfy a perpetually unsatisfied mother figure, in accommodating to a patriarchal organization or culture, in appeasing the inner witch who tells her she is worthless. No longer is her strength lost to obeying compulsions, drives, and obsessions that can slip in during the dark night of the soul and substitute for the real thing.
“And what is the real thing, the thing for which she longs? The love affair with her own spirit, the inner marriage that commits her to her destiny, the rituals of soul that feed her deepest hunger, and the sense of being pregnant with her Self, her creative essence.”
A poem for our times from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes:
–When someone says, “We’re saying the same thing.”
Say, “We are not saying the same thing.”
–When someone says, “Don’t question, just have faith.”
Say, “I am questioning, vato, and I have supreme faith in what I think.”
–When someone says, “Don’t defy my authority.”
Say, “There is a higher authority that I follow.”
–When someone says, “Your ideas are seductive.”
Say, “No, my ideas are not seductive, they are substantial.”
–When someone says, “Your ideas are dangerous.”
Say, “Yes, my ideas are dangerous, and
why are you so afraid hombre o mujer? ”
–When it is said, “It’s just not done.”
Say, “It will be done.”
–When it is said, “It is immature.”
Say, “All life begins small and must be allowed to grow.”
–When it is said, “It’s not thought out.”
Say, “It is well thought out.”
–When they say, “You’re over-reacting.”
Say, “You’re under-reacting, vato.”
–When they say, “You’re being emotional.”
Say, “Of course I have well placed emotions, and by the way, what happened to yours?”
–When they say, “You’re not making any sense.”
Say, “I don’t make sense, I am the sense.”
–When they say, “I can’t understand you when you’re crying.”
Say, “Make no mistake, I can weep and be fierce at the same time.”
–When they say, “I cant understand you when you’re being so angry.”
Say. “You couldn’t hear me when I was being nice, or sweet or silent, either.”
–When someone says, “You’re missing the point.”
Say, “I’m not missing the point, but you seem to be missing my point — What are you so afraid of?”
–When someone says, “You are breaking the rules.”
Say, “Yes, I am breaking the rules.”
–When someone says, “That’s not practical.”
Say, “It’s practically a done deal, thank you very much.”
–When it is said, “No one will do it, believe you, or follow it.”
Say, “I will do it, I will believe in it, and in time, the world may well follow it.”
— When it is said, “No one wants to listen to that.”
Say, “I know you have a hard time listening to that.”
–When it is said, “It’s a closed system, you cant change it.”
Say, “I’m going to knock twice and if there is no answer, then I am going to blow the doors off that system and it will change.”
–When it is said, “They’ll ignore you.”
Say, “They won’t ignore me and the hundreds of thousands who stand with me.”
–When they say, “It’s already been done.”
Say, “It’s not been done well enough.”
— When they say, “It’s not yet time.”
Say, “It’s way past time.”
–When they say, “It’s not the right day, right month, right year.”
Tell them, “The right year was last year,
and the right month was last month,
and the right day was yesterday,
and you’re running behind schedule, vato,
and what in the name of God and all that is holy are you going to do about it?”
–When they say, “Who do you think you are?” —
tell them …
tell them who you are,
and don’t hold back.
–When they say, “I put up with it, you’ll have to put up with it too.”
Say, “No, no, no, no.”
–When they say, “I’ve suffered a long time and you’ll have to suffer too.”
Say, “No, no, no, no.”
–When they say, “You’re an incorrigible, defiant, hard to get along with, unreasonable woman … ”
Say, “Yes, yes, yes, yes …
and I have worse news for you yet —
we are teaching our daughters,
and our mothers,
and our sisters …
we are teaching our sons,
and our fathers,
and our brothers,