One of the reasons why we end up in this fabulous world of Feminism is because… we need strength in our beliefs.
We don’t like something “in the mainstream”. We “feel” it’s wrong, or at least “wrong for us”. And so we learn to reject it on sound political and rational grounds.
What we are doing is “borrowing strength” from each other to be able to say “I do not want this”. Seeking permission from each other to “not be ok with this mainstream thing”.
It’d be wonderful if it worked… But it kinda… doesn’t.
Here’s the thing: if there’s something “in the mainstream” which you “feel” to be wrong… then it’s your Goddess given right to stay the heck away from it to the extent that you can.
As Feminists we should totally encourage this.
Often I see feminists going on and on about how this “mainstream thing” is so bad and how it makes them suffer in so many ways.
Desperately clutching at data, surveys, their own experience, their friends experience… anything that will validate their very strong feeling of “I do not like this”.
And it doesn’t work. Because it doesn’t get to the emotional “gut” core of the issue.
What we need to do is honour our pain: fully acknowledge the pain and all the “raw emotions” that this mainstream thing is bringing up for us. And we need to do this on our own.
Trying to justify “why” we think that “this mainstream thing is bad” takes us away from our experience. Because in order to justify that this thing is “bad” we need to find how it can be “bad for everyone”.
All of this comes later. First thing: YOU. And your experience.
You need to be able to shut down the “outer world” and focus on your experience. Give full validity and legitimacy to what you’ve been through and your feelings about it.
If it was painful for you, then it was painful for you. You do not need for it to be painful for everyone so you can acknowledge that it was painful for you.
If it it was painful for you then say it, think it, own it. You can stand strong when you are describing your experience: nobody can deny your experience. It’s yours. Your perspective over what happened to you is the only perspective that should matter. Nobody else has a say in that.
You don’t need to explain all the reasons why it would be bad for “women” or “for a person in your situation”. The fact that it was bad for *YOU* should be enough to make you say “you know what? I think it’s bad, because it was bad for *ME*”.
you don’t need to seek the validation of other Feminists. You don’t need to find fellow feminists who have also been through the same experience, and who also found it painful and “bad” for you to feel strong enough to say “it was bad”.
Ideally, it should be enough to you that it was bad “for you”. And “you” matter.
Give your feelings the legitimacy and validation they deserve. There are no “wrong” feelings. They are always legitimate, always. They have a reason for being there.
An example? From my life? OK!
Just about everyone who has ever come across me knows that I have nothing but contempt and loathing for pr0n.
first… person-who-wasn’t-my-boyfriend… “Arsehole #1” used it. And it fricking traumatised me.
Now, everyone in mainstream society will say that it’s “my fault” that I’ve been “traumatised” by something like that. Because pr0n is “normal”.
I have two words for them.
My butt. My foot. TO HELL!
That’s right. To Hell with the mainstream and how “normal” its “mainstream stuff” is. I’ve been traumatised by pr0n. That’s it.
My experience. Mine! I get to define what hurt me and how much.
It used to be that I’d read and read Feminist literature in order to be able to “prove” conclusively that pr0n is every form of evil and then some.
And you know what? This traumatised me further. Yeah.
I don’t do that any more. I don’t “need” to prove that pr0n is evil in order to be able to say “I’ve been fricking traumatised by it”.
Because I’ve learned to respect my feelings and my own version of the story. I’ve learned to give my feelings all the legitimacy they deserve.
In order to heal, we need to shut down the outside world and only listen to ourselves. Our pain, our experience.
And give it as much legitimacy as we can muster.
We all have “stuff”. We all have painful experiences. We are all trying to heal.
This is me trying to help you give legitimacy to your own pain by showing you how I go about giving legitimacy to mine.
What I’d love: your own feelings, ideas, challenges around this concept of “giving legitimacy to our pain”.
What I don’t want: any political debate on pr0n. This is my personal experience and it’s legitimate in its own right.