Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes
It’s about time, really. Not a surprise in any way. Finally, enough women came forth to state that yes, the pockmarked corpulent swine in a suit, Harvey Weinstein, is a jerk. A lecherous, abusive, power-hungry, disgusting jerk. Even before I read Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures, Harvey seems like a bag of human misery mixed with swamp juice (and, apparently Diet Coke). After I read the book (a mediocre follow up to Easy Riders, Raging Bulls - not that the writing was poor, as usual Biskind did a fantastic job, the subject material didn’t excite me as much) I wondered why people would stand to be abused and swindled by this ugly man. It boiled down to power. He could ruin careers (in front or behind the camera) in the snap of a finger. He bilked so many people of their hard earned money all the while making millions himself. And now, thankfully, that his power is weakened, the truth comes to light. The sexual abuses don’t surprise me because of the way he’s treated other people. He has no respect for anyone. So, in honor of all sexual and emotional abusers everywhere, I dedicate this post to your dying breed of insecure bullshit.
The first time I was treated à la Weinstein, was at church camp, of all places. (Hypocrisy and Christianity, who knew?) There was a male counselor, Mickey, whose attentions were focused on the fairer sex. He was 29 but looked older, probably due to his early balding and beer paunch. He had a round face and deep-set blue eyes with expressive eyebrows. I’ll never forget his face. After the first morning church service, I wandered out towards the main building with several other campers for breakfast and as we waited to eat, he engaged me in conversation. I wore my favorite dress at the time, a lined, white cotton summer dress. It was long and pretty, loose and comfortable and embroidered with small flowers on the bodice. He pointed to each of my nipples and asked, “What kind of flowers are those?” with a creepy ass smile on his face. I immediately crossed my arms and didn’t say a word. I was fifteen. I just got my boobs. I was so insecure as it was and felt like a deer in headlights. Heat rushed to my head and then my whole body. I was speechless and mortified. During the meal, he tried to come around and give me a neck rub and I shook him off. He didn’t take too well to my rejection. “Oh, I see how you are,” he said in disgust and walked back to his seat.
Afterwards, I went to the main office to tell the camp organizer about it. She nodded her head while I spoke and said she would speak to him. Well, that made things worse. He confronted me, like it was MY fault, like I was trying to ruin HIS camp experience, and then he taunted me. He’d rub another YOUNG FEMALE CAMPER’S shoulders in front of me and say, “See, so-and-so doesn’t mind if I rub her back.” Actually, it would be in groups of people, as if to socially shame me. It was awful. Friends of mine at the time actually got frustrated with me. The logic was ‘this older guy is paying attention to you, chill out’ or ‘stop making a big deal about it.’ The only thing I said to anyone was to the person in charge and the few friends around me that asked what was wrong. HE MADE IT WEIRD. A healthy support system of peers, let me tell you! He finally did cross the line. He brought beer into the campgrounds. Alcohol was a big no-no, and he was kicked out. It was bittersweet that he was kicked out for something other than à la Weinstein, but at least the last few days I could breathe and not be afraid of his presence.
Alas, here I am, recounting the story (one of several I have) and describing what I wore (as if it matters), my age (as if it matters), my looks (as if it matters), the time and date and setting (as if it matters) to make the reader of this BELIEVE ME. Because, let’s face it, society sees it that way. “What were you wearing, how were you acting, what time was it, were you sober, well maybe you wanted it, well you are a pretty girl so guys will hit on you” and on and on and on and on. The bullshit never ends. We have to justify everything, EVERY SINGLE THING, there is no slack afforded to a female, not one centimeter of empathy or understanding. I learned early that my face and body are public property unless I dress and act like a nun. And then if I'm nunned up, maybe I need to RELAX and TAKE A JOKE and BE COOL. I am sick of misogynistic backward assholes that have to coerce women into having a sexual experience with their limp, fragile, empty selves. I am sick of the culture that enables them! Wake up, people. Stop making women the faulted. Stop enabling these jerks. Boys, this is nothing to aspire to. Wake up, women who protect men like this. This is not the ‘positive’ male attention you want. It is not positive to be looked upon as an object worthy of mental manipulation and physical assault. You don’t need it. You can do better. Collectively, we deserve better.
Every now and then I take a photograph of the kiddo’s bedroom as a reminder of where he was at a moment in time. Of course, there are ten gazillion pictures of HIM on my hard drive but his room reflects his interests, his evolution, his current state of mind. The photo doesn’t show all the dirty laundry on the floor of his closet. It doesn’t show the look on the painter’s face when I said “stripes, please”. (We also went from a dark brick red color to this. I like to challenge painters. Remind me to tell you about my hot pink bathroom) It doesn’t show the tiny step ladder that gave way as I was drilling holes into studs to hang the curtain rods. It doesn’t show the many nights of bedtime stories, giggles, hugs, and Hot Wheels car competitions. It is a moment in (really cleaned up) time, late fall of last year. His tastes have changed, we’ve moved, but I will always love this room and this arc of time in his young sweet life.
Ti Ja = You and I.
Abandoned school in the former Yugoslavia.
Every day that I work in the field of anesthesia, I drive in, bleary-eyed and semi-caffeinated, the sun not even up with me to participate in my morning jam session. I listen to upbeat music on the way in, something that will sustain me for the endless slog of sick people headed my way. Today is a Physical Graffiti kind of day. Not just a Zeppelin album, a double Zeppelin album. The kind of album that makes you want to punch, fuck, and drink (in no particular order). The kind of album that can buttress a Robert Johnson cover next to a song about Morrocco that's got an Indian title. An album that has booty shaking piano boogie-woogie with honorary member Ian Stewart on the keys. An album that opens with what is quite possibly the most lovely 1970's rock and roll ode to the magical mysterious vagina. There's so much in here and so much to write but it's best to just let the music teach you. So, today, on your travels and travails, play this gem in the background, or turned way the fuck up if you can. I will be humming along in the miserable cold of a sterile operating room.