for the first time in five years, i opened up my feminist theory coursepack from first year at mcgill and started reading articles i barely understood at the time (hence my final grade of B- in the class) but now have developed much more/different insight on. this was inspired after a couple days of attending a feminist arts and culture festival organized by a couple of friends, as well as some recent conversations on gender that i’ve been having with people. this includes a recent night out with L when we got on the topic of caster semenya -the south african track superstar who was internationally outed as hermaphrodite. L referred me to this super interesting (and super long) article in the new yorker, which i highly recommend for reading!
long story short, the story of caster semenya is one of media sensationalism wherein her body was unwillingly put on display for the whole world to know and see. all of the controversy surrounding caster has been fixated on her “biology”, seemingly forgetting that she is an actual human being whose privacy has been violated in the most undignified of ways.
incidentally, today fuckyeahtoronto reposted an article from xtra, about a toronto woman who has become the first transgendered person to donate her body to the bodyworlds exhibit -purposefully putting her body on display for the world to see. i’ve never been to body worlds, but i wonder when most people walk into the exhibit, that they ever consider that these preserved corpses stripped of their superficial features were once human beings. and i wonder whether or not the humanness of the body on display is more punctuated when the body belongs to a trans woman. very interesting stuff, please see here.
J and I hopped on a bus to the mekong delta, filled with ignorant and obnoxious backpackers. despite the challenging social environment, we still had fun.
one stereotype that will forever stand true: people in the rural south are among the most hospitable people in the entire country.
The following piece is going to be part of a zine that is being put together by some friends of friends. The theme was souvenirs.
One fateful winter morning, I was stabbed. Right in the gut. The experience is fuzzy in my memory. My life did not flash before my eyes, nor do I recall it as a whirlwind of rapid-speed action. The culprit, who was supposed to be my boyfriend at the time –I’ll call him “Peter”, was twice my age. We were in the kitchen, and in an unexplained haste, he grabbed a serrated knife and shoved it in my stomach. You know that scene in The Royal Tenenbaums when Pagoda calmly stabs Royal in the side, and Royal is all like, “Pagoda, what the fuck.” Were I not in such a state of bewilderment at the time, and were I capable of forming sentences, I would have certainly taken a step back, gestured with both hands at my fresh wound, and been like, “Peter, what the FUCK.”
My family decided that it would be best that we never see each other again for fear that he’d hurt me a second and third time. He didn’t even apologize for his unsolicited attack on me, and I have never heard from him since.
This experience rests in the darkest depths of my memory, where it belongs. Because the scar I sustained is located approximately 2.5 inches northwest of my belly button, I don’t have to face it every day. Ironically, I am only ever reminded of Peter when I am lying naked in bed with someone else and they question the abnormal three-dimensional growth on my stomach. At that point, I think about Peter.
In addition to scars sustained from a drunken tumble down Mount Royal in Montreal, and a perfectly round, oreo-sized scar caused by the burning exhaust pipe of a motorbike in Vietnam, I have to say… I am most proud of this scar on my stomach.
Only those with whom I share my most intimate affairs are ever privy to seeing and knowing about this part of me.
Peter gave me something tangible and everlasting to reveal to select people.
I cannot forgive Peter for his actions because I never blamed him in the first place. After all, he was 4, and I, 2, and we were young and reckless.
Peter: If you are out there, I just wanted to say thank you. But seriously, what the fuck.
we used to spend a lot of time on top of the otto maass chemistry building at mcgill. we called it the stairs to nowhere:
a couple of teachers commissioned an architect to build them something similar, only much more sophisticated, to be their HOME. dream home, you guys.
see more here!