The Male Gaze of Disgust or, How to Destroy Self-Esteem

Essay submitted anonymously

At least this time I recovered more quickly than the first time; that time took an army of friends to help heal me, with curses, and pity. Sometimes their responses were short: “Leave him. Leave him now,” as if the weight of brevity was enough to signal how dangerous he was; sometimes their responses were impassioned outrage: “What the fuck? I cannot believe he told you that.  Girl, I have cellulite and stretch marks and it is his god damn privilege to worship it. You should feel the same.”

The first guy, Luca, cried. Tears. Actual Tears.  Actual tears forming in his eyes, crying and in his stupid blubbery whimpers he told me: “I wish sex wasn’t a factor …because I love you.” “I love you, but your body….” I said nothing at first, I was speechless. “My body…?” He responded: “It’s too… athletic…” Continue reading “The Male Gaze of Disgust or, How to Destroy Self-Esteem”

Man’s Coming-of-Age, For Girls

Essay written by Claudia Fernandez 

An essay on assumed universality and a brief review of Greta Gerwig’s Ladybird

We are told, as women, that Men means All people. For example when “God created Man in His image” we are supposed to pretend that Man, means Me, and I’m supposed to understand that God is sexless, that He is both She and He, that they mean the same, but they don’t. Womanhood is an afterthought. There are associations with “Woman” and “Her” that don’t FEEL or TRANSLATE in the brain the same as “Man” and “He”.

The problem: literary canon is mostly male: male authors writing about their experiences, their childhoods, their ideologies, their version of truth and value. They create characters from their understanding and write in a way that is sensible and clear, that is, sensible and clear as men define those terms. To be clear is to be “straight to the point”. This isn’t necessary for women; it isn’t necessary to be clear, coherent, rational, and emotionless. It is equally valid to be emotional and cognizant, bright-eyed and optimistic without being ignorant or naive.

The consequence: As a woman, I have to pretend and connect to the little boys and grown men that often play the protagonist in most major novels. We all pretend to be the hero, place ourselves in their shoes and live their story, but does that make me more man? Does not society punish me for behaving like a man? If we follow the virtues and values of the male protagonist, then we simulate male qualities and in turn, become “manly”, which society does not appreciate.

We know the common complaints: a direct woman is a bitch, a sexy woman is a slut, a decisive woman is bossy, a concerned woman is a nag. But a man is just direct, sexy, decisive, and a boss without any of the rest, if he didn’t want to be. There are male allies, and female trans allies, who refuse to accept masculine descriptors as the right to be. .

Continue reading “Man’s Coming-of-Age, For Girls”

Friends are not only people, but they can also be things. For a farmer, a friend is a plant. For a plant, a friend is soil. And for soil, friend is water. But for me, a friend is my community,

  1. 22 years old
  2. Studied Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics in secondary school
  3. Enjoys sports such as running and playing basketball
  4. 2nd year Kepler Scholar
  5. Graduates in 2018 and get a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Communication.
  6. Created Ivomerere (auto-irrigate), a system that detects soil moisture and automates water dissemination in relation to moisture levels
  7. Won Ms. Geek Rwanda, a competition designed to inspire Rwandan girls to consider a career in STEAM for her system
  8. Her winnings include 2 million RWF, a laptop, a Samsung smartphone, and tablet
  9. Recognized by first lady Jeannette Kagame for her achievements
  10. Twitter handle: @mwiseneza2014


Further Reading:




Joan Mitchell

You’re talking about rejection. Don’t be worried about rejection. I say that now. It’s terrible, I asked one of my dealers years ago “If I don’t sell are you going to dump me?” And he said, “Sure.” But sales don’t make a show.

This post is different. Too much of what she said in her interviews were too perfect to be paraphrased. So here are 5 facts, and 5 quotes that I love:

  1. Born in Chicago, died in France
  2. Influenced by VanGogh, especially his sunflowers
  3. one of few women of TheClub–New York exclusive group of painters including: Kline, Pollock, Kooning, and Rothko
  4. part of the birth of Abstract expressionism
  5. painting sold for a world record $11.9 million (greatest value any woman has sold)

C’mon, how do you work wet into wet for 12 hours and keep a fresh look. You don’t. You can’t. What do you get, that weathered look? (BM)

you’ll be petting [the stray cat] and all of a sudden it has a fit and starts clawing you. It’s not that it thinks you’re going to attack it or anything. It’s that it doesn’t know how to sort of bask in a kind of love or relaxation. And I think there was a longtime … (BM)

Feeling, existing, living, I think it’s all the same, except for quality. Existing is survival; it does not mean necessarily feeling. You can say good morning, good evening. Feeling is something more: it’s feeling your existence. It’s not just survival. Painting is a means of feeling “living.” YM

[A painting is finished] When it stops questioning me. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with it. Sometimes I don’t know exactly what I want. I check it out, recheck it for clays or weeks. Sometimes there is more to do on it. Sometimes I am afraid of ruining what I have. Sometimes I am lazy, I don’t finish it or I don’t push it far enough. Sometimes I think it’s a painting.


What it means? It seems very clear what it means. I can’t say it but the painting makes it clear. If I don’t know, then it’s not working. If it seems right to me, then it has a meaning, but I can’t tell you what meaning. I can’t be more specific than that. it works when it means something, when I don’t question it any more. YM

YM: Interview with Yves Michaud (1986)  (Must read!)
BM: Interview by Cora Cohen & Betsy Sussler (1985-6) Bomb Magazine (longer)


“We’ve demonstrated that women can do what men do, but not yet that men can do what women do. That’s why most women have two jobs—one inside the home and one outside it—which is impossible. The truth is that women can’t be equal outside the home until men are equal in it”

Continue reading “Gloria Steinem”

When I finally got home, I had to hug myself a little bit and say, “You know what, Tiffany? I don’t care if you did make mistakes. I’m so proud of you.” I never, ever thought I would be able to do something awesome like that.

  1. Eritrean & African-American
  2. Step-father cut the breaks to their vehicle as a child, causing her mother irreparable brain damage and related schizophrenia
  3. Became the primary care-cover for her four siblings until they were separated in orphanages
  4.  Divorced the same man twice: “I was not going to allow my dreams to shut down. I was not going to allow no man to shut down this dream 
  5. Ticket to fame: Girls Trip
  6. Wrote: The Last Black Unicorn
  7. Appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  8. Groupon spokesperson during a Super Bowl ad
  9. Says Halle Barre is her auntie at clubs to get in free
  10. Wil star in 2018 Night School with Kevin Hart

“It’s supposed to be now; it’s supposed to be now; it’s supposed to be now.”

Haddish in her 18 minute speech at the NY Film Critics Circle award show.

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