Women’s bodies are often compared to the earth. Buzzwords for this comparison (usually found in “love” poems by men) are: “fertile,” ‘porous,’ “lush,” “fruitful,” and “wet.” On a recent trip to the desert, I reclaimed the vast terrain as a vehicle for intersectional feminism to thrive. Sure, call my body “earthly,” if that earth is a stretch of barren-looking land with little rain and much scorch.
Now, the desert is a fragile ecosystem where much life does in fact happen. There are amazing plants and animals in that dusty wonderland with special talents and really poignant personal narratives. But when you’re driving for four hours and all you see is the tanned hip of the sand meeting the blue jean mini-skirt of the sky, your first thought isn’t always, “There’s so much life here but I’m used to more overt ecosystems, so I’m not able to see it. What a unique landscape for specimens to experience the world!” You think, “I’m fucking hot.” “I want a cold beer.” And “Fuck, there is nothing out here. This is amazing,” in varying orders, (depending on how bad you want a beer and how badly you needed to get away from all your friends).
The desert isn’t dead but it challenges our understanding of what life looks like. It’s not barren, but it’s not overflowing with growth in the way we have been conditioned to understand it. In a Western, capitalist, sexist society where life, earth, and women’s bodies are idealized as fertile, porous, lush, fruitful, and wet, landscapes like the desert—that harbor existences that thrive in direct opposition to these standards—subvert the whole notion of what life, earth, and women’s bodies are supposed to look like and supposed to do. The desert doesn’t follow the patriarchy’s rules. And neither do militant intersectional queer feminists.
May you find your space of release from societal pressures and may you be your best self to all those who deserve it.
PS “Women’’ Rights” underwear is from Seattle band Childbirth, https://childbirth.bandcamp.com/merch/childbirth-limited-edition-undies 😉
Girlpool, “American Beauty” Self-titled EP (Wichita)
Feels, “Close My Eyes” Self-titled LP (Castle Face)
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Jawbreaker Reunion, “Tearing Down Posters” Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club (Miscreant)
Chastity Belt, “James Dean” No Regerts (Help Yourself)
Alex G, “Adam (Bonus Track)” Trick (Lucky Number)
Slothrust, “Juice” Of Course You Do (Ba Da Bing!)
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Perfect Pussy, “Interference Fits” Say Yes To Love (Captured Tracks)
Peach Kelli Pop, “Doo Wah Diddy” Peach Kelli Pop I (Going Gaga)
Screaming Females, “Wrecking Ball” Chalk Tape (Don Giovanni)
Childbirth, “Since When Are You Gay?” Women’s Rights (Suicide Squeeze)
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Diet Cig, “Dinner Date” Dinner Date Single (Father/Daughter)
The Coathangers, “Watch Your Back” Nosebleed Weekend (Suicide Squeeze)
Mitski, “Square (Solo Piano Version)” Retired from Sad New Career in Business (Self-released)
Slutever, “White Flag” White Flag Single (Quiet Year Records, Say-10, Earthbound Records, Songs From The Road)
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Benny The Jet Rodriguez, “In Love” Split 7” Martha and Benny The Jet Rodriguez (Drunken Sailor)