As usual I'm kind of all over the place with my reading. My dad and I need to read Brené Brown's books as research for a possible article, so I've just started I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't). Brown is a shame researcher.
A friend lent me Caitlin Moran's How to Be a Woman. She's a UK feminist who wrote this semi-memoir as a jumping point to discuss the topics she thinks women / feminists ought to be up in arms about these days.
And I'm a few chapters into Manning Marable's Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. I read the Malcolm-Haley Autobiography years ago, and own the Spike Lee movie. Dude led a really interesting life.
Reading about Malcolm tonight reminded me of my favorite schtick from him: "Who taught you to hate yourself?" I love it because I think most of us can relate to it. Do you hate anything about yourself? Who taught you that? Who had the nerve to come along and tell you that "real men do This" or "sexiness means That" or "being an adult means This Other Thing"?
Which segues nicely into both the Brown and Moran books. Moran takes on things like women waxing their pubic hair. Who taught us that this is how a vagina is supposed to look? I remember being honestly surprised the first time a friend mentioned an appointment to go get waxed. In my head I thought: Really? This is what we're doing now? I went through a period in my 20s when I didn't shave my legs and my friend's boyfriend let me know--just being friendly--that most guys don't find that attractive. Uh duh. And also--who gives a flying fuck? For decades I've had people tell me I should wear make-up, they'd love to see me in make-up, etc. I know you don't mean to be telling me my face needs improving. But in essence you are saying: Your face needs improving.
No one taught me to hate myself, but it wasn't for lack of trying.
I'm not far into Brown's book, but I think she's going to take this topic to a deeper level. Cause shame happens at this intersection between what we think of ourselves, and what others tell us we should think. I once spoke to someone about a tough decision they made for what they felt was their best, and they finished by saying: "Then once the decision was made, I had to face society, which was a whole other thing." It wasn't bad enough they had to go through personal shit--then they had to justify it to everyone else.
Lesson for the day: Leave the hating to the player haters.
"Buck Nasty, what can I say about say about your suit that hasn't already been said about Afganistan"