Here’s Roxane Gay’s cell-phone view of her audience last Friday at the Union LIttle Theatre. John Petterson is waving from the front row, far right.
By John Petterson
All right, here we go, truth time: I’m an insomniac. I’m not ashamed to admit it. For a couple of nights each month, I…
How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.
Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.
If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:
“You look so healthy!” is a great one.
Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”
“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”
Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.
Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.
Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.
Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.
Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.
Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.
Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.
Teach your daughter how to cook kale.
Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.
Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.
Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.
Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.
‘You’re the real thing,you feel me? Everything we’re playin’ at, everything we holdin’, you can have it for real. You wanna fuck that up, that’s on you.’
One of the things I’ve appreciated about watching OITNB has been the fact that all of the stories of the women of color/Black women on the show that we’ve seen so far are so fucking multi-layered. And every single one is so fucking crushing.
I love this show.
|society:||oh you have your period? well you have two options.|
|person with uterus:||okay.|
|society:||you can use sanitary pads, which make you feel like you are wearing a diaper, and have the added fun benefit of being extremely uncomfortable and give you the extreme paranoia that they will not be enough coverage and at any moment with any movement or sudden sneeze you'll bleed over onto your clothes and walk around all day with blood stained trousers while everyone points and laughs at you.|
|person with uterus:||sounds awful. what's my second option.|
|society:||a penis shaped wad of cotton that you shove uncomfortably inside yourself and it catches the blood before it leaves your body.|
|person with uterus:||still seems pretty awful.|
|society:||wait! it gets better! there's the outside chance that using those will kill you!|
|person with uterus:||well, are they at least free? like how men can have access to free condoms? i mean, it's not like i'm choosing for this to happen.|
|society:||HAHAHA! that's funny. no, you have to pay for them. and they're really fucking expensive.|
|person with uterus:|
|society:||oh, and if you tell anyone that you ARE on your period, your judgement, opinions, and reactions are going to be dismissed as the crazy ramblings of a lunatic.|
|person with uterus:|
|person with uterus:||i think i'll go with my third option.|
|person with uterus:|
|society:||what third option?|
|person with uterus:||i think i'll bleed on everything you love.|