words of wisdom* from my enlightened* uncle (via trenchantashell)
He brought this up again this evening, just a few minutes ago. I gave him the finger while he had his head turned away, talking to my father, but mum grabbed my hand and gave me a long-suffering look.
A woman from the audience asks: ‘Why were there so few women among the Beat writers?’ and [Gregory] Corso, suddenly utterly serious, leans forward and says: “There were women, they were there, I knew them, their families put them in institutions, they were given electric shock. In the ’50s if you were male you could be a rebel, but if you were female your families had you locked up.
Stephen Scobie, on the Naropa Institute’s 1994 tribute to Allen Ginsberg
Yes yes YES. Psychiatry has a terrible history of being used to silence subversive figures: particularly outspoken women.
BNR: Meanwhile, Anaïs Nin is just writing ‘journals.’
JW: Journals, right, journals! If I want to use myself as a fictional character, why can’t I? Over the years, it’s been one of the most frustrating things. If you call yourself ‘Jeanette’ in the novel, then it’s all about you. And I’m thinking, No. This is a person I’ve invented. Why shouldn’t I? That’s what I mean by an asymmetrical judgment because Paul Auster, Henry Miller, Milan Kundera, any of those writers who quote themselves directly, Philip Roth, for God’s sake! We all say, ‘That’s so great! That’s so interesting!’ But if you do that as a woman, it becomes confessional and autobiographical…
This isn’t exactly a sex thing but God does it plague some geek circles. I know because I’ve been the cool chick. I’ve played the “don’t worry, I’m not like those other girls, I’m not into gossip and drama” card; I’ve played the “well, you have my permission to objectify me, because I take it as a compliment” card; I’ve even played the “that mean lady was such an uptight no-funster for having boundaries” card.
Those cards are the fuck out of my deck now. And I’ve paid the social price for that. There’s definitely some people in my circles who’ve put me in their “uptight no-funster” mental box since then, or who deliberately bait me about “watch out, Holly, I’m going to patriarchally oppress you!” because ahahaha she’s an angry little lady isn’t that cute.
I don’t blame a woman who sees this go on, decides she wants friends more than she wants to start fights about some abstract problem that doesn’t seem to affect her personally, and starts telling her male friends not to worry, they can be sexist around her, she’s cool. The problem isn’t her. The problem is all the people who made it so much easier and more pleasant for her to be a “cool chick” than a woman who gives a damn how people think of her gender.