unwomanly

They call us witches. 
They call us other things too,
we women who will not smile for them,
will not bow and scrape for the smallest scraps of respect and dignity.


They call us witches.
They force us to the fringes with knives and pitchforks and torches.
We are not welcome among them, 
we loud, brash, unwomanly women.


They call us witches,
and speak of us in hushed whispers.
We were supposed to come crawling back to them,
but we never returned.


They call us witches,
but it is they who gave us power. 
Not magic, we’ve always had that,
but the power to wield it in the weird little world that is wholly ours.


They call us witches,
and we are.


We are witches,
and our doors are always open.

—  to be a woman is to have magic - c.k

“My model of womanhood, that my model of femininity is very much a hard-working, immigrant model, which has actually been really interesting in terms of transition. There were a lot of ways that I felt like I was failing the expectations of womanhood and of femininity. People were projecting that onto me, and I realized that what I wasn’t doing was white femininity. I was following the model of the women in my family who get things done and lift heavy stuff and protect their families. The image of woman as something delicate and in need of protecting was not a kind of womanhood that I had access to as a kid, and was not a kind of womanhood that I aspired to. A lot of people saw that as ‘unwomanly’, especially in terms of professional gatekeepers who were there to determine transition care for me.” - Elena Rose

Photo by Martin Bustamante.

Listen to the interview here or in iTunes. Read the transcript here.

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It was Russia in 1934 and my beauty was all that was keeping me fed. You found me shivering in that artist’s studio, naked as the graces and posturing like a boy playing at soldiers. I do not think you expected to find a new bride among the wax fruit and fake marble, nor for him to be an unwomanly and half-starved silhouette for hire, but I have never once seen you show your surprise, solnyshko. You are the very splendor of Ancient Greece, you said, marveling at the way the pale light streaming in through the attic window hit my skin. I should call you Ganymede.

I was raised by the aesthetic degenerates of Leningrad, actors and artists who loved me for my long lashes and white shoulders and golden hair. In a lifetime populated with the dregs of society, you stood out so starkly, like black blood on new snow. And your women! As cold and fair as lost tsarinas, the one with her regal crown of jet hair and the other with eyes like loss. They tell me your name is Alexi, you said when you caught me looking. That you have no kin, no family name. Tell me, did you ever wish for sisters? How my stomach trembled when you touched me! You draped me in your black coat and Magdalena gave me her mink, Constanta her winter gloves. You paid the painter twice my fee and led me towards your sable horses stamping and steaming in the snow. I promise you bread and roe, pheasant and mackerel, vodka and pomegranates from here until eternity, you said, so soft the ice of your breath stirred my hair. Ballerinas and chairmen will dine at our table and you will know nothing but bounty. The girls complain that the undying life is too cold, but I say cold is winter snuffling at your door and no money for the grocer, I say I have never been warmer.

Thirdborn from The Dracula Suites by S.T.Gibson

From Sappho to myself, consider the fate of women.
How unwomanly to discuss it! Like a noose or an albatross necktie
The clinical sobriquet hangs us: codpiece coveters.
Never mind these epithets; I myself have collected some honeys.
Juvenal set us apart in denouncing our vices
Which had grown, in part, from having been set apart:
Women abused their spouses, cuckolded them, even plotted
To poison them. Sensing, behind the violence of his manner—
‘Think I’m crazy or drunk?'—his emotional stake in us,
As we forgive Strindberg and Nietzsche, we forgive all those
Who cannot forget us. We are hyenas. Yes, we admit it.
—  Carolyn Kizer, winner of the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, has died at 89. This is the opening stanza of her famous poem cycle “Pro Femina." 

The Song of a Shirt. Charles Rossiter (British, 1827-1890). Oil on canvas.

The woman reads a letter, perhaps found in the shirt. Title may reference “The Song of the Shirt” by Thomas Hood, first published in 1843.

“With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread —
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
She sang the ‘Song of the Shirt.’ “

Yo, can we just talk about what a cool villain Jasper is? So often female villains are those wicked seductress types but Jasper is buillt lile a truck and looks like David Bowie and King Spirals hate child. And neither is she shamed for being so unwomanly, but because she is and hateful warmonger.
Man, Steven Universe. What a show!

“I consider this episode one of Trek’s finest, but it does get bogged down a bit in its attempt to make Miranda acknowledge her own ‘unwomanliness,’ in a scene in which Kirk shakes her into her apparent submission. Yet, despite this scene, one is chiefly left with the impression of a shockingly, intransigently modern woman bruising her head against the enforced limitations of her sex…

“When Miranda departs, she and Spock exchange compliments, this exchange has a philosophical character, Spock invoking the Vulcan credo IDIC: infinite diversity in infinite combinations. This episode allows a woman to join in the historically male tradition of rational discourse. A woman who rejects compulsory heterosexuality, ambitiously fights for her career, and participates in philosophical discourse, Miranda is a bracingly non-standard character.”

- David Greven in Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television Series and Films (2009).

That reminds me, I was casually swearing on the bus and the bus driver told me she “doesn’t like that kind of language from ladies” and while yes I should respect the fact she doesn’t want to hear swears, I objected and said “well, good thing I’m not a lady then”
and none of the people I was talking with knew I was nonbinary or anything I kinda looked like an ass but my point remains that saying you don’t like swearing from people you assume are women because it’s unwomanly is not only a bad presumption but kind of a misogynistic request as it falls under the “women need to control every aspect of their life tighter than a man should” category