We don't need no voice control
First of all, I’m sorry that the first day of middle school rite of passage (and in a new country, in a new language!) was overshadowed by the first leering catcall rite of passage. Because you are right, it is the first of many and part of the history of all women. I hope that Filha continues to play with dragons, embody dragons, and slay them when she has to. Bravo for you and the lady tribe for lifting her up and dropping the wisdom that helped her walk back through the door with her head held high.
Second of all, I have a confession to make. I saw the social media post you refer to, asking women to gift him their stories, recommend a female “theme” song (wtaf?) and stay tuned for the release of this never before conceived of, revolutionary book brought to you by….guess who?….middle aged white dude. I’ve asked myself why I decided not to say anything and why so many women and men on the thread not only didn’t seem to have a problem with it, but gleefully suggested songs. Incidentally, it’s not that hard to internet search an “author” and get an idea of the quality of their writing and a general idea of their modus operandi. This book seems to have been written (like the others) over a period of weeks (or even days!) Using a small pool of women willing to answer salacious questions as “research”. It’s a genre alright, but never one I would support or read, and honestly it feels like a grift. When he asked my opinion on a public forum, I should have given it to him. Full stop.
Thank you for reminding me that I have a voice, and that I have been powered by women’s voices before me, including the brilliant list of authors you generously included. That’s where I’ll be spending my $19.99!
I wish all the best to your young daughter. As I read your last para, I thought to myself - But it is the boy who needs to be told stories ... and warnings.
It makes me so mad that girls and women need to learn about resilience, self-protection, etc. while nothing is taught to boys and men about their offensive and potentially damaging behavior.
Oh sweet Filha, we get it. LaDonna's story of the leering man and her mom's concerns over her shorts brought back my own memories. Those experiences definitely shaped me. At first, it's like entering a battlefield where shame and pride fight one another. Shame loses. You claim victory, and move on not realizing you will fight that same battle again. Your inner warrior becomes alert, but doesn't shrink. Filha, enjoy your fabulous life and know that all wounds heal. You are brave enough to be you.
Recommending the Netflix movie Moxie. A film I wish I had when I was middle/high school ages to help give me words to the frustration I felt.
Filha, I am sorry this happened to you. And will continue to happen to you. You are strong. You are powerful. You are your own.
May I recommend (since you play with dragons still), "When Women Were Dragons" by Kelly Barnhill. You and your mum will find different nuance in it, but it is very...related to this post.
Thank you also for the list of books. I wanted to throw Invisible Women across the room several times out of sheer irritation and anger. But it was an ebook and ipads are expensive.
Powerful post! That seems like such a weak comment even as I’m feeling all kinds of feelings and remembering all manor of incidents in my life as a woman. Thank you for your list of books. Some I knew and many I didn’t.
Hi Ladonna. I would have replied sooner but I had a bad fall on my bike and am recovering, and that means my reply will be short too. But I didn't want more time to go be without saying how much I appreciate your thoughtful, kind, and beautifully written reply to my comment. I was am touched you took so much of your time to explain why you wrote your piece the way you did. I agree with everything you said, which isn't the important part, but I wanted to say it. The patriarchy runs deep and it's insidious, and all women (and some men) have experienced its harsh be effects. I think what upset me was you labeling this man as mediocre. I didn't know till yesterday that he had written any other books besides the one mentioned, and I'm not familiar with their content. Even though I like this man doesn't mean I might not dislike some of that content. Again, I appreciate you taking the time to say so you did, and so beautifully.
I don't have words, friend. Other than you are a GREAT mother and a GREAt writer. I'll sit silently now in my rage, but I'll know we're not alone.
I look forward to & enjoy each one of your posts, but this one really hit me in the gut. Excellent work!
Ugh, there is so much in here that makes me want to TYPE IN ALL CAPS. Thank you for, once again, being a righteous voice of indignation. And also for linking to that spoken word performance! 😮
Very powerful post and an excellent reminder to those of us who consider ourselves to be allies. I'm hoping for smoother sailing for Lu (not entirely smooth since we learn from the bumps in the road), and, Tracy was sooooooooooo right about how excellent of a writer you are :)
WOW! Just WOW! Thank you!!!
Another brilliant book is Woman in Berlin by an anonymous author.
I love your writing, and this post made me sad. This is an experience we women have all had to endure. But that's not what made me sad. Your attack on a man I know who is kind, loving, and generous and a great supporter of women - his wife, his daughters, his friends, local businesswomen - and their strength, power, and independence is what made me sad. I know this man. I suspect you don't. He lives in my Setubal community, just down the hill from you. He has been welcoming to me from the first time we met. I suspect you were angry and hurt by what happened to your daughter - and rightfully so - but knew you couldn't attack a young teenage boy so you redirected your anger at this man. You are a great writer, but I think this attack was a bit beneath you. It was unkind. In addition, you completely neglected to mention that that this book was equally co-written with his wife.
Different country. Same MO. I don’t know why I would’ve thought it different.