Citati iz knjige „Unspeakable Things“ autora Laurie Penny

It’s about saying no and expecting that no to be respected. It’s is about owning your own capacity to consent, and exercising it actively, again and again – not just in sexual terms but in political terms, too.
Because when we are done hating ourselves and hurting each other, we can get on with asking for what should be ours by right.
Neoliberal patriarchy gives us choice, but not freedom. No choice in an unfree society can be a truly free choice. The choice between this boss and that, the choice between marriage and penury, the choice between shame and self-denial, the choice between degrading work and debilitating poverty, all of these choices are meaningful, but they are not the same as liberty. Feminism and radical politics are about demanding more than a choice between one type of servitude and another. They are about insisting on our right to live with dignity, our right to shelter and sustenance and learning and the means to take care of one another.
cope with the intimate terrorism of neoliberal patriarchy we’ve got to work on giving fewer fucks. We’ve got to work on having no shame because we need no shame, because none of us do, unless we have hurt another person. We must be comfortable with knowing too much, but never knowing our place.
Here are the worst things you can call a woman: ugly. Slutty. Fat. Bitter. Bitch. Cunt. The worst thing anyone can say to a woman, in short, is that she doesn’t please you. We must get used to giving the answer: is that all you’ve got?
That change in consciousness is coming from below. It’s going to be led by women and queers and outsiders and their allies. It’s going to come from ugly girls. Fat girls. Girls who aren’t thin enough, rich enough, white enough. Girls with thick thighs and bellies that wobble and voices that carry – that resonate. Girls who are fucking angry. Girls who fuck for money. Old women. Trans women. Single mothers. Low-paid workers. Sex workers. There are so many ways to fall off the plinth patriarchy erects for the ideal woman. Eventually you’re going to have to decide if you’re going to wait to fall, or if you’re going to jump.
If we are to realise a greater collective humanity, we must learn to see one another as human beings first.
Gender oppression is part of a structure of social control grinding us all down, keeping us docile, making sure that men and women everywhere question power as little as possible.
Revolution begins in the human imagination. They can come for us with clubs and dogs but as long as we continue to dream of different ways to live, different ways to love and fight and grow old together, they will not win. There is power in the communities built by exiles and outcasts. There is power in the societies of broken kids growing up to change the world, and when it comes down to it we are all broken kids, fucked-up girls and lost boys just waiting to be found. We find each other in the unwatched spaces, the secret places, for as long as they last. We have the tools to build a better world in the wreck of the old one.
Beyond Happily Ever After, outside the single story of how life, work and partnership ought to be, love has always been free. When the fairy tale ends, the pages are still turning in the long, hard saga of human love, and there is always another story left to tell.
And in that running, what I found was that outside fairy tales, love happens all the time.
Women and girls in particular must summon the courage to devote the best efforts of our lives to something other than LoveTM. The idea that we have no control over who we love and what we do about it is one of the most disempowering things girls are ever told. Loneliness is a fearful thing. But a life lived grasping for another person to make you whole is just as fearful. If you see yourself as incomplete without a partner to be your ‘other half’, you will always be lonely, even in a partnership. It took me twenty-seven years to truly understand that just because you would give up every dream you ever had to see one special person smile doesn’t mean you should.
Non-monogamy is not the same as fucking around, and neither of those things are essential to freedom in love. The idea of ‘free love’ has become bastardised by post-hippy clichés, by the enduring image of 1960s counterculture chauvinists with open shirts and flowers in their hair trying to wheedle women into bed without worrying about commitment. That’s not what free love means. Free love is love that is not co-opted or coerced, love that is not mutually oppressive, love that is not another word for work, duty and conformity.
If we want love to be free, and if we want women to be free, we have to refuse to define ourselves by romantic love, by Love™, or lack of it. The power of the neoliberal notion of romantic love is such that it is almost a century since feminists routinely questioned its omnipotence, but today’s growing girls of every age might do well to recall the words of Alexandra Kollontai:
The gap between passionate, everlasting, all-consuming romance and meaningless rutting remains relatively unexplored by the publishing and film industries but, to paraphrase John Lennon, a great many people live in that gap. In real life, there is a superabundance of romance, friendship, partnership, sex and adventure to be had, and the truly terrible thing about shop-bought love in pretty packages is that it makes it seem that human feeling is a scarce resource. Which is just another reason why neoliberalism ruins everything.
In real life, human love is not a scarce resource. I don’t mean to advocate casual sex, housing collectives and late nights drinking bad vodka with bisexual activists as alternatives that necessarily work for everyone, though they’ve always done so for me. The point is that the three Ms – marriage, mortgage and monogamy – do not work for everyone, either, and there’s no reason why they should.
The people for whom Love™ works – and I really feel as if saying this might get me shot with heart-tipped Tasers by the love police – are in the minority. Now that we are not obliged to choose between celibate loneliness and yoking ourselves for ever to a person we may grow to despise, most people’s lives contain many important relationships, and sometimes those relationships fade or fizzle out. That may not fit in with the dominant ideology – that monogamous marriage is the only possible healthy way to live, love and distribute welfare benefits – but it’s a more accurate map of the human heart, which is not a cartoon symbol, but a complicated tangle of meat and blood.
The generation currently reaching adulthood in Europe and America is the first generation whose parents are as likely to have been divorced as they are to have been married or cohabiting.14 Being raised by a married couple is no longer the norm.15 No wonder increasing numbers of young people are exploring other options – polyamory, open relationships, extended circles of chosen family and fuckbuddies – and doing so in a way that’s fundamentally different to the free love experiments of the past. It’s as much about ethics as it is about drug-addled fuckfests though these are pleasant in their proper place.
Me, I believe in monogamy in much the same way as I believe in, say, cheese on toast. I’ll eat it, but only for very special people, and not for every meal. There are other interesting and delicious toast options out
But the relatively recent cultural narrative of The One – the idea that everyone has a soulmate whom they are destined to love for ever, and that your life will always be incomplete if you fail to meet, mate and move in with that person – that’s not just implausible, it’s cruel. It implies that those who do not find their One will somehow never be complete, that those who divorce, who live and raise children alone, or who find alternative arrangements for happiness, have somehow failed as human beings. To my mind, that’s a decidedly unromantic idea.
The reality remains that ‘Women who do it on their own bear the financial, social and emotional cost of being single in a society unwilling to truly support their lives.’13 Women learn to fear being ‘left on the shelf’, to associate it with poverty and isolation.
It chokes the impulse to freedom at the back of the throat before it is spoken. If we have to behave in order to be loved, if we cannot be fulfilled without it, of course we will do whatever it takes to make love happen – even at the cost of our personhood.
There’s another important way in which romantic love has become like work under neoliberalism: it is at once all-consuming and precarious. You are expected to pour the whole of your energy, all of your passion, time and enthusiasm into one endeavour, even though you know that it could end at any time if the magic disappears, or the economy tanks.
Our expectations of love and marriage have become ever loftier even as lifelong partnership ceases to be the norm: a recent study10 showed that where once one could at least acknowledge that a romantic life partnership was about expediency, sharing the bills and having someone on hand to put up shelves, now the things that we expect from marriage are more abstract and urgent: true kinship, decades of erotic fulfilment and a sense of spiritual completeness.
Even as our expectations of LoveTM become more frantic, the pressure is on for this ideal bond to replace the human kindness confiscated by the world of work. The purpose of dating, as far as the market is concerned, is to produce households. We are sectioned off into couples in order to make the production and reproduction of ‘human capital’ easier – self-reproducing family units isolated in their own struggle. Romantic love is both the consolation and respite from the privations of work and the means of making that work sustainable.
Women, in and out of romantic relationships, carry the burden of emotional labour. We do the work of healing and mending that we have always done.
Under late capitalism almost all of us are damaged goods, but it is women who end up trying to fix that damage, or at least keep the gears greased so the machine carries on functioning. I see so many bright, brilliant women pouring their energy into salving the hurt of men who cannot turn to each other for comfort. We do it as sisters, as mothers, as friends, and especially as lovers and wives, because of the sheer number of men and boys who are socialised out of intimacy with anyone they’re not fucking.
We pay with our time, with our emotional energy, with our attention and care, because that’s what women do, and that’s what love is: trying to carry another person’s pain and stress, even if they resent you for it, which they frequently do. As I said earlier, you can’t save the world one man at a time. That doesn’t stop many of us trying.
Thirty years ago, it was common for women to be expected to do the washing up after any gathering as a matter of course. Now we’re stuck cleaning up the emotional messes of modern life – and late capitalism has
Love is supposed to be what makes us human. Why, then, is what we so commonly think of as love so easy for machines to imitate? Valentine-bots are programmed to stalk online dating sites scamming desperate people – often but not exclusively women – by going through the motions of passion. Romance is many things, but it is not a Turing test: its language and rituals are so well understood that a simple computer programme can imitate them quite easily.
If love is becoming more like a job, with schedules, interviews and promotion grades, then it is certainly the case that work is becoming much more like romance. Social scientists now speak seriously of ‘emotional labour’ – the elements of customer service, people-pleasing and ritual soothing of egos that are now part of the daily routine of most bullshit jobs. Bosses don’t just want a job of work done: they want you to smile while you’re doing it.
The weary narrative of the ‘male provider’ or ‘breadwinner’ continues to be a source of anxiety for a great many men despite having little historical basis in fact, there having been very few historical moments when women’s work has been confined solely to the home. Nonetheless, for men the boundaries between love and work are clearly drawn. For men, love is supposed to be the reward you get in return for work; for women, love is work in itself.
The insistence that Love Always Comes Free – that Love™ cannot ever be related to money or value exchange – is remarkably convenient. Because it turns out that Love™ is also the theoretical basis for most of the work done for free, largely by women, so that the mechanisms of profit and production can be maintained. Most of the work of childcare, cooking, cleaning, personal care, helpmeeting and mopping up your husband’s ego after a hard day’s wage labour is not recognised as ‘real work’ because it is done out of ‘love’ – and if love workers ever questioned their conditions, their love would automatically be less worthwhile, less genuine, than the love of all those girlfriends, wives, mothers and daughters who do their duty with a silent smile and a bottle of Valium in the bottom drawer.
Love can also be work. Love is, in fact, difficult and challenging as well as rewarding, and even at its most exciting is deeply involved with money. I’m not trying to argue that childcare, housework and the work of supporting partners through waged labour should necessarily be paid, although if I did, I wouldn’t be the first to do so. It is important, however, to recognise that a lot of the work that women do remains unpaid or underpaid because we think of it as ‘love’, as a moral expression of feeling rather than a practical task of immense and tangible value. A lot of that ‘second shift’ of caretaking that is worth untold billions every year and is still performed largely by women, is exempted from consideration and left undiscussed precisely because it is understood as ‘love’, and ‘love’ always comes for free.9 A good job it does, because if it didn’t there’d be a hell of a bill to pay.
But I refuse to burn my energy adding extra magic and sparkle to other people’s lives to get them to love me. I’m busy casting spells for myself. Everyone who was ever told a fairy tale knows what happens to women who do their own magic.
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