Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged Wyoming Monologues

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My submission to Wyoming Monologues

Wyoming Monologues was a blast. Everyone’s monologue was amazing and performed wonderfully.

As promised, here’s the text of mine:

Going Hungry
Meg Lanker-Simons 

My stomach growls, but it does not distract. I’m used to it. Sometimes, I’m hungry because I don’t have enough money to buy lunch on campus. Occasionally, my hunger is intentional.

I fear eating in front of others. I am afraid I will be judged for fulfilling a human need to consume food. I judge myself for this need. I did not used to question my body’s need to eat. Not until I became an advocate for social justice.

As an outspoken, progressive female activist, I am a warrior on the patriarchal red state battlefield dominated by Judeo-Christian concern trolling. I am continually judged for my appearance by those who disagree with my ideas. It is relentless. It is ever-present. I’m told it’s part of being female, as if I’m supposed to accept it, because it’s okay, dearie. Comes with the territory, y’know?

But why? Why should we accept this?

We’ve all doubted ourselves and been a target by bullies for something – these taunts occupy space in our heads, nagging us with whispers about our worth, whispering that if we were somehow not ourselves, it would all be okay.

Well, I refuse to acquiesce and be shamed into silence simply because I am sexually unappealing to them. My IQ does not drop because I am overweight. I would not be more right in a debate if I were a size two. I am not a non-person because I am not attractive to some segment of the population.

It’s as if the causes I champion would be legitimate if only I were thinner, quieter, prettier, something more or less than what I am.

Part of my advocacy is a website of progressive news and commentary with several thousand subscribers. It has a feature for people to send me anonymous messages. I leave this on because people can message me without signing up for an account on my site – its ideal use. However, it also provides a window into the gutter-dwellers of humanity. A sampling from just a few months:

Fat fatty fat stupid McFat pants. Too ugly to rape, too ugly to live. Kill yourself.

You wanna fuck with Texas? We’ll fuck right back, you raging bitch. Stick a dick or a shotgun in your mouth and shut your fucking mouth somehow.

Your a cunt.

Hey, if your career in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere doesn’t pay off you can always become a fat porn star.

Progressives are monsters trying to destroy the USA and you know it arrogant [sic] dyke.

We own this state bitch… you godless, bottomfeeding, scum.

Unfortunately – or fortunately, this kind of vitriol doesn’t faze me. I became used to it roughly two years ago. I learned first-hand that if a woman is willing to put herself in the public eye, her face and her body become objects to be judged. In 2010, I sued my university for violating the right to free speech by banning a speaker from setting foot on campus. I won.

Defense of the US Constitution should be a popular item – unless you’re a female progressive and the other plaintiff in William Ayers v. University of Wyoming. Then you become a target of rage. 

One of Wyoming’s homegrown right-wing, pseudo militia men surmised, “Someone should forcibly fuck some manners” into me — now that’s how we all learn manners — because I was a “piggy pig pig.”

I get it, OK?

I totally get it.

The insult of fatness is illogical. It goes like this: I make a reasoned case for a topic and they say it’s stupid because I am fat. So? I know I am overweight. It’s like saying my arguments are wrong because my eyes are brown.  

My partner, family, friends, readers, etc. praise me for taking the high road and never firing back in the same vein. This apparently shows it doesn’t get to me. It usually doesn’t. However, it does wear me down some days. It makes me question myself when I look in the mirror. Those days, I let my stomach growl.

But no more.

I want to climb to the tallest building I can find and take the loudest bullhorn in existence, and read these comments to a crowd of women important to these men. Their grandmothers, sisters, mothers, wives, girlfriends, kindergarten teachers – I want them all to know what these men think is a legitimate debate tactic. I want these women to know that if they step out of line, they too could be labeled cunts, bitches, dykes, fat ugly cows. I want those women to turn to these men and shame them for their misogyny. I want them to feel pain, not sharp, but an aching hollowness – much like a hungry stomach.

I want to scream as loud as I have to for every single one of the inhabitants of the gutter to hear me: "This is a coup d’état, motherfuckers!"  

Logically, I cannot do this, but I can continue to speak. We can continue to speak. And yes, I am angry, but we have every right to be angry when just one of us is subject to cruelty.

So to you, furiously typing away anonymously into the digital unknown, to you hoping that just the right combination of slurs will unlock such devastation in a woman’s being that you no longer have to tell her to shut the fuck up: I want you to listen.

Your opinions do not define and delegitimize us women.

In order to extinguish our humanity, you disregard your own.

And yes, I am frequently hungry. I consume every filling salvo of fiery hatred and it forges my spine, motivates me to keep fighting fiercely. It makes me unbreakable. Every word is filling. It is gratifying to know that my very existence — and the collective existence of others like me — is enough for them to make complete fools of themselves both publicly and privately. It is enough for me to occupy space in their heads.

Finally, I want to know why the go-to insult for women is that we’re fat, ugly, crazy, and lesbians. And why, by that extension, non-persons. We’re non-persons deserving of violence and rape. I have been told I am too ugly to rape. As if rape is some kind of a compliment I’m missing out on daily. What gives them the right to say the absolute worst thing in the world is to be fat, a lesbian, otherwise outside their chosen standard? 

The worst thing in the world is not to be a woman, to be a lesbian, to be fat. 

That these words are slurs is an insult itself.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Wyoming Wyoming Monologues Going Hungry Meg Lanker-Simons personal writing Monologue Vagina Monologues trolls hatred misogyny hate food gender body image feminism fatshaming sexism