Susanna, where were your sisters? Where was your mother?
Where were the women who would rip your accusers to shreds?
Your reputation was sound, Susanna.
You were virtuous. It is written so! Susanna, a virtuous young wife!
How come it took so little to tear it down?
How come your words meant so much less?
Why is it always a man who saves you—a kind man, a well-meaning man, and yes, we are grateful, but—why can’t you save yourself?
Why must it always be the men?
Why can’t it be us?
Brother, stop telling me to silence my anger.
Stop telling me to be quiet.
Stop telling me to fashion my words so they are palatable to your ears.
Stop telling me that I am too noisy, too brash, too furious, that no one will listen if I am angry and raging.
I am done being quiet!
I have been quiet my whole life!
STOP TELLING ME TO SILENCE MY ANGER, BROTHER!
Stop telling me that no one will listen to my rage. Stop telling me to make myself softer, easier to swallow—
You don’t live in a world that tells you that you are lesser
That you exist to serve men because they are man (no other reason, just the dick, just the extra bit that pokes out, that’s it, that’s it)
That you are for them first, but not for yourself
That if you wear a short skirt you’re asking for it—
STOP TELLING ME TO BE QUIET
My world is one where a girl can be accused of ruining her rapists’ lives by taking them to court.
My world is one where if a man rapes a women who is HIV positive, the media says, “She should have warned him, poor man, poor man—”
My world is one where if a woman is born into a man’s body and tries to change this body to better fit her soul, she is seen as becoming lesser
How dare you
My world is one where women are paid less for the same jobs
Where I am less likely to be hired simply for my gender
Where I have to fit a certain image, talk a certain way, look like this, don’t say that, be gentle and kind and quiet quiet all the time
And just as you tell your boys that there is nothing worse than being a girl, I have to stay away from being seen at all masculine (because that’s encroaching on your territory, isn’t it? and that’s being a threat—an adult—what am I thinking, trying to get into the boy’s club?)
Where I am told to keep my legs open and my mouth closed and I am nothing nothing nothing but for a man’s wants and needs I am nothing
and you tell me to be quieter about my anger?
BROTHER SHUT UP.
Some days I will have the patience to give compassion. The patience to give gentle rebukes, to shape, to guide.
Other days I will not.
Other days I will try to slam the world to how it should be through sheer force of will.
I am tired of being afraid.
Fuck you. If I don’t swear, it is because I choose to, not because “ladylike” is cramming the words back in my throat.
I will take a man who can listen to my anger, and I will take a man who will apologize, and I will take a man who will see me as his equal and love it.
(If you are not that, then you are an idiot boy, and I do not want to waste my time with you.)
I will take a man who teaches his daughters to be strong, to stand up for themselves—
I am proud of my father and my grandfathers who told me, “You are precious but not weak, never weak in my eyes,” I am proud of my friends who say, “Yes, be angry, and I will be angry with you.”
And I will be my mother, and my grandmothers, who said, “You are woman and you are human and you are powerful, and the only time you belong to a man is when both of you claim each other
(and if you choose a woman to be with instead, we love you still, and you are our beautiful daughter and we are proud of you)
And you are the equal and worth of any man, daughter, so stand tall and let them feel your fury if anyone tries to tell you otherwise.”