I will shamelessly admit that when I read this in public I did a little crying, I did soft snort chuckles and I did dramatic gasp sounds. I did all of these on loop. Lisa Taddeo said men were basic. Too basic to write about. My jaw dropped.
These stories go through what it is to be a woman at risk of assault, harm, an unfair relationship dynamic. To feel powerless and trapped in your role or the monotony of life, to feel lost to it. To lose yourself. To feel helpless. To feel lust, arousal, sexual empowerment, liberation. To feel yearning in all it’s forms. To feel angry, to not know how to feel when what you want is less than what you deserve. To know what you deserve. To feel guilt to ask for it.
I love women. I love us all much more after this reminder, of the everyday details we graze past and are bruised by but stop noticing, stop announcing. This read furthered my love for my own identity. It made me want to be kinder.
Against the restrictions the world places on how we are to be, the criticisms and unfair judgements that happen passively and continuously, the laws that govern our bodies, the statistics that prove we still are being held at arms length from what we are entitled to….
Against this I developed a coldness, a sharpness.
This sharpness just is not there Taddeo’s open tone, in her clever layering of objective retelling of events over the subjects’ personal perspectives. It feels honest and vulnerable, exposed.
Here are the words we rephrase when we speak to others because we cannot accept the jarring distance between what we feel and what we think we should be striving for.
Three real women. I related to each of their stories in pieces, as I think anyone with the experience of being a woman in this world would.
It does not shame or minimise or re-frame their experiences in a palatable service of a discourse to guide or represent a patriarchy-free, unaffected woman. A woman who can say “boy bye”, who leaves, who rises above all perceived trauma having gained the agency and enlightenment to endure and not need the abusive world to change for her.
I have pushed it into the hands of the women I love already. I am impatient to gush over how it moved us, recognised us and made us feel loved by ourselves and each other. The queue for turns has been made, I can’t wait.