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we are visible only to each other.

This morning I woke up to the radio, as I always do. A woman was reading the news. When i finally rolled out of bed, I called a friend who had called me the day before. We talked as I made fruit salad for a breakfast I was preparing for another woman who was coming over. I took out the garbage and called another friend about a couple of work shifts. C_ arrived for breakfast just as I put some music on my cd player.

and I realized that my morning had almost NO men in it. The host of the morning radio show was a guy, but other than him, there were no men. all of the music I played today was by women, all of the people i talked to were women, and if you look around my walls, almost all of the art is by women, the books are mostly by and about women (not all, but a big proportion)–my work is about women and our shared resistance against male domination, and our shared celebrations of each other. I sent a text to my friend, H_ to say “I had to tell someone, and you were the first i thought of to tell, I fuckin’ LOVE women. I woke up this morning, anxious, like always, but full of love and admiration for us nonetheless”.

Everywhere else, you would think there are no women. I went to a music festival this weekend, and most of the musicians were men. The headliner of the festival was a woman, kd Lang, oh and what a golden glorious voice she has, but all of the musicians in her band are (and always have been) men; another woman, whom i’ve never seen before, an Irish blues singer, Imelda May, all of her band are men as well. She was fantastic, too, though. One man, Luke Doucet, had women in his band, and he promoted them too. But two of them sang a duet, “Joelene (please don’t take my man)” — sigh. It seems that, in order to become famous, women have to be the  only woman. There is no room for more than one woman in a successful music career. there was a duet, The Secret Sisters, and I think it was only the two of them singing sweet bluegrass and country together. In general, though, if you want to be famous, you have to go it alone without your sisters. From that festival, and most of the others i’ve ever been to, the headlining women were backed by a band of boys. And male producers and male technicians and and and…

Movies? All men.

Radio?  Mostly men.

News papers, magazines, books?  by men about men. sometimes by women about men. it is still more difficult for a woman to be published as a woman.

I am sitting in the library right now. to my left are three men, to my right are three men.

I was visiting my friend H_ last night and she said that one of the men working on repairing the chimney in the building where she works (a transition house) came to the door. She said, “are you one of the workmen?” and he looked shocked. “I come here every day, you say hello to me every day”.  She said, “I’m sorry, I just don’t pay that much attention.”

he was not used to being invisible. This was not his experience at all.

It is ours. Men do not see women. They see breasts, perhaps, or glossy, shiny hair, or hips. They do not see us. In fact, we don’t see us. We are not visible in the world of business or politics or art or theatre or music. We have to look to find each other.

Do not tell me, though, that we are as invisible as this Man’s World made us. or that we are as ineffective as our invisibility would imply. We are actively in revolt and the rock will wear away. The women I know and the women i see, ALL of my friends are part of the revolution in some way or another. All of us capitulate in some way, of course. We have to in order to survive. Many of my friends are married, many have children, most work for some man or other, directly (he owns the store) or indirectly (he funds the drop-in centre). All of us have male relatives who profit in so many ways from the patriarchy and from our shared oppression. Most of us have men in our lives whom we love dearly. That doesn’t matter, though they love us, too, we are, to them, still women, and still invisible. As well as indispensable, of course. To men, and to each other.

If all the women and girls really did vanish, the whole house of  cards would collapse. I’d like to see that. No more porn theatres, no more burlesque, no prostitution, no shirts and chinos, no food picked fresh from the farm, no curried lentils, no hot milk with honey, no librarians or primary school teachers, no dresses, no traffic control women, with the stop signs at the road construction, no one in the grocery stores–

the men would probably go on as before for a while, because they don’t see us anyways, but they wouldn’t be able to manage too well for too long without us. They’d run out of clean underwear within a few days.  I’d like to be there when they finally notice; when things grind to a halt around them. Wouldn’t that be something to see?

If we do go on strike, or take off together someplace, all of us, can we have a big gym with lots of barbells and squat racks and lifting platforms and stuff? That’s all I ask. oh. and a washer, dryer and ironing board. That’s heaven, that is. A world of women, a gym and laundry facilities. with a kick-ass iron and an ironing board. and way in the distance, we could hear the murmur of confused men…then we’d just play our accordions louder.


About easilyriled

My mom was Edith, my dad was John. I have a brother, who is Shawn. I have many friends and allies and mentors in my life. I'm white, over-educated, working in a field for which I am not yet trained, messy, funny, smart, lesbian, feminist "Not the fun kind", as Andrea Dworkin said. But I, like the feminists I hang with, ARE fun. Radical feminism will be the roots of our shared liberation. Rejection of sex-stereotypes (gender) and male domination will give us wings.

16 responses »

  1. I love your vision of just leaving them, disappearing overnight and coming together in an all-woman place. The barbells, etc., are great. Washer and dryers, ok. But I haven’t ironed in decades. Not sure about that part 😉

  2. I’ll do the ironing, Katie. I LOVE ironing. so meditative…

  3. I had to iron a lot in hot weather. No AC back then. :(. I do like cooking quite a lot. I just make it up from what I have on hand and it usually turns out well. I’m not a great cook, but I’m often lucky. I like growing food, too. I think food is beautiful. Meditative, yes. . .

    When I grew up ironing was a big deal for women. Some men wanted their undershorts ironed. But with no men, maybe it would be ok. . .

    Hanging clothes on a line, I love that. They smell so good. Memories of childhood, I guess.

  4. Yeah, it’s funny you like ironing, Erin. I associate it with women stoned out on valium just to make the drudgery of boring housework palatable.
    Wasn’t there a reality show called the Week the Women Went or Left or something? I never saw the show, probably terrible. I like the sound of Iceland’s women’s strike in 1975, though. With gyms and hot springs.

  5. Hey Easily,
    Look! I found you again. Found more of you.
    Yes. What a joy it is when we are Visible to each other.
    Sometimes I even wonder if that might be enough…but no.
    I have been chipping away at that other, important writing which pointed me here, and here I have stayed.
    With the passion and honesty that feels closer when the restraints of academia are removed and learning is central. You are a skillful educator.
    I am new to Blog commentary and as usual I find some stress in not knowing the rules, but again your words inspire me.
    What you wrote about books, and especially art, made me pause to look around and want to shout “me too!” (oh…and the deal was sealed when you mentioned the Secret Sisters.)
    Recently I have been drawn to images of faceless women. Faceless reads dismissive…perhaps it is more lacking definition, ambiguous – not quite right either but you get it. I sit with images of quiet reflection, creative effort and joyful movement. I have been surprised by those who found this faceless quality to be negative or lacking, when I find such inspiration in what feels universal. I love these images of women who are anyone and everyone. Both known and unknown. Yes, I consider how the unknown can also be invisible, but this is not that.
    How privileged we are to share the wisdom of good words, and the powerful messages revealed by those who communicate with their art.
    Recently I was gifted an image of quiet determination, stillness by the river. Peaceful vision in colours that are both soft and strong. A beautiful, uncertain face that is at once present and seeking.
    She is named The Watcher.
    I love that women share the gift of seeing ourselves in each other, and in this we become Visible.
    Thank you for this E.
    And thank you for a couple more posts that are especially … special.
    It is such a blessing – miraculous really – how we become more visible to each other when we must see through our tears.
    Your words are beautiful inspiration. I hope you see that too.

    • Thanks, S. I love your comment here. I love that you found me, too, in this and that world and way. i’m in the middle of work right now, but will write you again in a bit. thank you again. I’m so glad for you in my life now.

  6. I’ll do all the personal training in our women’s world (or you and I can share)… 🙂

    I hate ironing, though. So does my partner. I asked her to iron my work outfit one day last week and she quit in the middle, she got so frustrated. She’s a butch who’d never ironed a dress before, lol, and all the pleats and skirty stuff stopped her in her tracks.

  7. ooh, no nurses, either, in the world without women. See how they like that!

    I too love ironing; I love the smell of it.

    LOVE reading your stuff, btw; I can hear your voice 🙂

    • Oh Laura! thank you you’re right,t here will be no nurses for them. are you teaching again this semester? want to do a team-teach thing with your class? maybe you can come to mine, too? I will call you…love

  8. I fuckin’ LOVE women! <<I love it when you say that. It makes me happy.

    I also LIVE for women. Because…

    If all the women and girls really did vanish

    …there would be no reason to live. The very thought of it is horrifying. Men could disappear and I would hardly notice. But women, oh WOMEN, I need them.

  9. Pingback: We Are Visible Only to Each Other | Radfem Hub

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