Monday, 22 September 2014

Streetside Glances

"Eye contact is also a way of expressing power. Men may stare at women and women are not supposed to stare in return but to decorously cast down their eyes."
- 'Beauty and Misogyny' by Sheila Jeffreys

Ever since reading the above quote, I've decided that it's my prerogative to stare back at any man who makes aggressive eye contact with me. I do this despite the strain it puts on me. I am making a point. Most of the time the men don't take my defiance into account in their wider paradigm on gender equality. But sometimes they do. The last time it happened, the man in question apologised wordlessly, looked down and away. As a feminist performance artist, this is the kind of reaction I'm after. It makes all the uncomfortableness of the unflinching staring back worth it, and reminds me that I am making a difference.


Heads Up

I recently made friends with a remarkable woman who helps survivors of psychiatry safely discontinue the taking of antipsychotics or antidepressants, and helps them stay healthy. I noticed that she often droops her head, as if ashamed of her mental differences. I've resolved to always look for ways that my mind is fruitful, imaginative and useful (it always in, in some way, even when that way is not obvious to the outside world). I have as much to be proud of as the next person in terms of mental capacity, if not more. I write beautiful prose and exquisite poems. I do my best to contribute to society in whatever way I can manage. I am special. Just like you. So I keep my head up, look people in the eye, and subvert the narratives which privilege non-survivors.

Psychiatrists would like it if I paid more attention to their in(s)ane theories about how to manage my mind, but I think they're the ones with the problem. It would be a gross perversion of nurture if they were the happy, secure ones, and I was not. I choose to be happy and, yes, secure, in and of my own mind. If they don't like it, that's just another of their problems.

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