More Hell, Fewer Dahlias: The Musings of a Radical Feminist.

A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer

Posted on: February 17, 2010


So who doesn’t love V-Day? Not just for the half price chocolates the next day, people, though I admit to enjoying those as well. But I’m talking about Until The Violence Stops, and the V-Day celebrations surrounding the Vagina Monologues and promoting the end of violence against women.

I’ve attended a performance of the Vagina Monologues for several years, and this year I found myself dragging my feet about going. “WTF? This is what I’m FOR!” I found myself thinking, especially since I’m big on education and support as my personal biggest parts of the feminist movement. And V-Day is all about education and supporting awesome women in bad situations. And it thinks globally, something I’m striving to do.

So, seriously, what was my issue this year? Trying to find this out, I grabbed my copy of A Memory, a Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer, and reread it, yet again. By this point, the book is sort of dirty and limp. I am not easy on my books, especially ones that make me think and challenge me. And normally MMRP challenges me: it makes me think deeper and more broadly about issues, it removes me, temporarily at least, from my comfortable pile of privileges and forces me to think of sexism and sexual violence without my privilege padding. I normally cry at least twice during a reading.

This time, all I felt was despair. I’ve recently finished I, Rigoberta Menchu, by Rigoberta herself, plodding through the last bit with, you guessed it, despair,

I was in feminist depression. I’d been focused so much on education myself, on throwing myself into these situations, on stripping my privilege and picturing how different my life could be. I was exhausted, friends. And I felt, and still do feel, like I have no right to be this tired. Especially now! This is the one week where violence against women is a talking point!! There are flyers and posters and bracelets and flags and discussion! NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BE TIRED!!!

But I am.

So where am I going with this? Do I recognize the privilege in being able to say “hold up, I’m tired of thinking and working this hard?” I totes do, don’t worry there. But I think this is a problem that few feminists (and other activists) admit: we get tired of these issues, especially the ones we see no clear end to. No matter what I do, I will not end violence against women, I will not solve sexual violence, I will not end rape. And while I can normally be happy with the progress attained and feel good about working towards the next step, sometimes it gets daunting. And I, Rigoberta Menchu and MMRP, at this particular point in my feminism, were demonstrating just how daunting these issues are.

So what’s the solution? Besides ending sexual violence, I don’t have one, really. I read a book about ebola and looked at some lolcats, then read the UN’s Convention on Ending Discrimination Against Women. And I felt better.

So to all the tired feminists out there: hang the convention on the wall. Put a Mary Oliver poem on the wall, hang up a print from Frida Khalo. Do something to remind yourself of why you’ve taken on this fight.

I’m going to see the monologues next week! Yay!

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