Do you remember ages ago when I posted a quote from Lindy West on here? Well, I still think of those few paragraphs a lot and wondered why I'd never looked up to see what else she'd written. So here we are! I just finished her book and it was phenomenal. Maybe the best thing I've read in the past five years or so. So many favourite parts ahead.
- "America's monomanical fixation on female thinness isn't a distant abstraction, something to be pulled apart by academics in women's studies classrooms or leveraged for traffic in shallow "body-positive" listicles - it is a constant, pervasive taint that warps every single woman's life."
- "Women matter. Women are half of us. When you raise every woman to believe that we are insignificant, we are broken, that we are sick, that the only cure is starvation and restraint and smallness, when you pit women against one another, keep us shackled by shame and hunger, obsessing over our flaws rather than our power and potential; when you leverage all of that to sap our money and our time - that moves the rudder of the world. It steers humanity towards conservatism and walls and the narrow interests of men, and it keeps us adrift in water where women's safety and humanity are secondary to men's pleasure and convenience."
- "The active ingredient in period stigma is misogyny."
- "Maybe periods wouldn't be so frightening if we didn't refer to them as "red tide" or "shark week" or any other euphemism that evokes neurotoxicity or dismemberment. Maybe if we didn't perpetuate the idea that vaginas are disgusting garbage dumps, government officials wouldn't think of vagina care as literally throwing money away. Maybe if girls felt free to talk about their periods in shouts instead of whispers, as loudly in mixed company as in libraries full of moms, boys wouldn't grow up thinking that vaginas are disgusting and mysterious either. Maybe those parts would seem like things worth taking care of. Maybe women would go to the doctor more. Maybe fewer women would die of cervical cancer and uterine cancer. Maybe everyone would have better sex. Maybe women would finally be considered fully formed human beings, instead of off-brand men with defective genitals."
- "The truth is, my discomfort with my period didn't have anything to do with the thing itself - it was just part of the lifelong, pervasive alienation from my body that every woman absorbs to some extent. Your body is never yours. Your body is your enemy. Your body is gross. Your body is wrong. Your body is broken. Your body isn't what men like. Your body is less important than a fetus. Your body should be "perfect" or it should be hidden."
- "Solidarity with other women is one of my drugs of choice."
- "Loving yourself is not antithetical to health. It is intrinsic to health. You can't take good care of a thing you hate."
- "My dad had four wives; my mom was the last. You could frame that as irresponsibility or womanizing or a fear of being alone, but to me it was a distillation of his unsinkable optimism. He always saw the best in everyone - I imagine, likewise, he stood at the beginning of every romance and saw it unspooling in front of him like a grand adventure, all fun and no pain. The idea that a relationship is a "failure" simply because it ends is a pessimist's construct anyway."
- "Without my mom, would I have the grit to keep going? Without my dad, would I have the idealism to bother?" - Such a nice way to sum up your own parents.
- "Feminists don't single out rape jokes because rape is "worse" than other crimes - we single them out because we live in a culture that actively strives to shrink the definition of sexual assault that casts stalking behaviors as romance; blames victims for wearing the wrong clothes, walking through the wrong neighborhood, or flirting with the wrong person; bends over backwards to excuse boys-will-be-boys misogyny; makes the emotional and social costs of reporting a rape prohibitively high; pretends that false accusations are a more dire problem than actual assaults; elect officials who tell rape victims that their sexual violation was "god's plan"; and convicts in less than 5 percent of rape cases that go to trial. Comedians regularly retort that no one complains when they joke about murder or other crimes in their acts, citing that as a double standard. Well, fortunately, there is no cultural narrative casting doubt on the existence and prevalence of murder and pressuring people not to report it. Maybe we'll start treating rape like other crimes when the justice system does."
- "I am a shy person at heart, and a grieving acquaintance is a shy person's nightmare. The pressure to know the "right" thing to say. Seeing a person without their shell." - Good god, I love the description of a person who's mourning someone else being "without their shell" it's so well put.
- "Other people's grief is not about you; letting self-consciousness supersede empathy is barbaric."
- Part of her husband's vows to her when they got married: "And all those times that I tried so hard to get you to hang out with me, and I just wanted to be around you so much, I've never been more right about anything in my life. The only way I can think to say it is that you are better than I thought people could be." - I mean, my god. I love hearing vows.
Is it clear how much I enjoyed reading this book? I'm pretty sure she's writing another one and I. Cannot. Wait.
What an incredible woman. Read this damn book now.