interested in feminism?
A version of this post originally appeared on the KatyKatiKate Facebook page on April 27, 2018.
TO THE GUY WHO MESSAGED ME
The message read,
“It’s cool that you’re interested in feminism.”
I had to close the computer and laugh.
But it’s time to clear a few things up,
I’m not interested in feminism.
I am not an equality connoisseur.
Are you interested in dental cleanings
or prostate cancer screenings?
Of course you’re not.
Of course you’re not tickled
by the hooks in your mouth
and the memories of the hands that invaded your private body
while you were comfortably numb.
Of course you’re not fascinated by the steps you must take to stay alive.
You just do them.
You just keep going.
I’m not interested in feminism.
But I am interested in joining whatever force is interested in me.
I am committed, as all beasts are,
to understanding the mechanisms that threaten my life
and those that protect it.
I just do it.
I just keep going.
I’m not interested in seat belts;
I need them to be interested in me.
I pay attention to them
because I believe they will hold me and the people I love
in the event our world rolls over and shatters.
I do not sit in the sun with a glass of iced tea
and a good book about carbon monoxide detectors.
I am not interested in them.
I am not even interested in breathing good air
so I can sing to my sons
and they can sing to me.
I am interested in singing.
I need those carbon monoxide detectors to be interested in the air we breathe.
That's why I retrieve the little screwdriver
to change their batteries at night
after I've put the boys to bed,
just one more job for me to do
while you're reading a presidential biography
Are you interested in your Costco card?
Of course not.
But you remember what you have bring
to get through the door, don’t you?
Not because it’s interesting,
but because it’s necessary.
You’re lucky if cards and seatbelts are the things you have to remember to fasten in place before you can feel sure that you’ve done what you need to do to be okay today.
Cards and seatbelts can be held in your hand.
Cards can be set on the counter.
Your car dings to remind you to clip in.
Other people believe in them because they can see them at work:
Seatbelt? Clipped. You’re safe. I can see that.
Teeth? Cleaned. You’re healthy. I can see that.
Card? In your hand. I can see that you’re a member.
Come right on in, sir, and may I offer you a free sample of chili?
You’re lucky if you don’t have to join a group.
You’re lucky if the whole world is your group.
You’re lucky if you get to spend your free thoughts on fishing
or Presidential biographies
or Reddit, or container-gardening
instead of changing the batteries in your detectors,
or doing other work that is at its core
fundamental maintenance of the mechanisms
that protect your right to breathe.
“It’s cool that you’re interested in feminism,”
he said, and I’m not even mad about it.
In fact, I’m happy to have the chance to clarify my position.
I am interested in having sex with my husband,
who is also interested in sex
but will never be forced to have a baby
because his organs are his business,
and he has so much potential.
I am interested in living my life without having to stop and explain
for the ten-thousandth tooth-grinding time,
why my internal organs are my business.
(because I’m a person too, asshole. Because I am, too.)
I am interested in going to the movies
and seeing someone on screen who is interesting,
compelling, brave, confusing, funny, awful,
I am interested in sharing a bottle of wine with my friends
and walking safely to my door.
I am interested in writing well
and telling stories about motherhood
without needing to arm them with feminism
to defend their right to take up their own space.
Stories about women should not have to be feminist.
They should just be really, really good
and everyone should want to read them.
I am interested in a life that is perhaps sometimes possible
but only if we fight for it.
Are you interested in your allergy medicine?
Or do you remember it because of how it makes you feel:
like you can breathe and see and feel calm?
Just normal again.
If you didn’t have to take it to feel great, would you?
Or would you rather get rid of the fucking allergies?
I am not interested in feminism.
I am not an equality enthusiast.
I am interested in becoming a part of any force that is interested in me
(there are so few)
and I am interested
in being interested—
in you, too.
Thanks for reading KatyKatiKate!
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