politics of the hap


Certain women.
March 23, 2017, 2:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
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Birthday gifts to myself.

Recently I have been finding immense comfort in the stories of women. I am drawn to reading only books written by women. Essays written by women. Films about women. Films directed by women. Talks by women. Even stories about men written by women. It’s as though the difference is so palpable to me at the moment.

Maggie Nelson, Rachel Cusk, Rebecca Solnit, Olivia Lang, Katherine Angel join chorus with my staple favourites: Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler and Sara Ahmed. Perhaps it is simply needing a refuge, when macho patriarchy looms so large in the socio-political landscape. I remember on the Women’s March after Trump’s inauguration, I felt emboldened and inspired. I felt that often over-used word: solidarity.

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Some of my favourite women.

Recently I went to see Kelly Reichardt’s film ‘Certain Women’. There are some subtle and well crafted scenes. Among other things the film shows the female characters not being heard by the male characters. Lawyer Laura’s male client only finally accepts advice when it comes from a male lawyer – the same advice she had been repeatedly telling him. In another scene, Michelle William’s character Gina, tries to address a male acquaintance, but he only looks at her husband when he responds or simply ignores what she says.

It’s done in such a way that feels so recognisable. It’s subtle and sometimes silent. Not directly ‘mansplaining’, but an undercurrent of not being taken seriously that gets reinforced in strategic silencing.

I’m not sure what it is at the moment that draws me so much to women’s writing and women’s stories. It’s a sort of comfort in the unspoken – we get it – feeling. A comfort in proximity, and distance at the same time.