On Martha and the Harm in “Perfect” Womanhood
In the etiquette class, everything had a proper place and use—even me.
no one was here
If someone doesn’t see you as fully human because you’re a woman or because you’re not white or because you’re not cis or whatever it might be, chances are that you knowing how to hold a salad fork won’t really change that.
The many etiquette books I read as a child, the seasonally appropriate greetings I draft first in pencil, then in pen, the soup spoons and dessert spoons; none of these will erase the fear, anxiety and longing I feel about my half-way-immigrant, half-way-lady self.
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Succubus, siren, gold-digger, temptress: There are so many words for a woman with money in her hands.
Esther, you are a queen not because of your physical perfection, but because of the horror and rage you transformed it into.
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You will remember, in fact, the first doctor who does ask, who says ‘is it okay if I put my hands here,’ gesturing, waiting for you to say ‘yes.’