"melania says it's okay"

It's Women's History Month! It's International Women's Day! Hooray!

The meaning of sisterhood is something that is always on my mind, but it seems more appropriate to talk about it at this particular moment- not simply because it's March.  My notion of sisterhood has evolved as the balance of power in my country shifts and the forces with which we have refused to contend with are rearing their ugly fangs and threatening our progress and safety. 

I am a feminist. Feminism has saved my body and my spirit from hatred and fear.  It has empowered me with a lens through which I can deconstruct the world around me and search for what is human and recognizable to my heart.  It has illuminated the need for a commitment to love which challenges me to be a steward of my own energy, and to walk through the world as generously as I can. 

I hope that women in the United States can reflect on the notion that "sisterhood" is not guaranteed simply by the accident of gender or sex organs.  Sisterhood is earned by doing the work of challenging ourselves to learn, to show up for each other, and to let go of the cultural narratives that cause us to turn against one another. 

Sisterhood understands that we are harmed by patriarchy, that we are maimed by misogyny.  Sisterhood acknowledges that those wounds look different for all of us, that they are bound up with other traumas that not all of us will face.  Sisterhood recognizes that patriarchy is propped up by so many forces in our culture.  Sisterhood challenges us not to turn our face away from the ways in which our wounds are different, but to learn to be of service to all of our healing. Sisterhood surrenders to the fact that we cannot build our fortress of love on a foundation that excludes, that erases, or that is implicit in the harm of any one of us.

I wrote "melania says it's okay" after the video footage surfaced of her husband bragging about sexually assaulting women.  Many women saw this video and dismissed it.  Many women heard of rape and assault allegations and dismissed it. Many women heard this man speak of women who displeased him as being subhuman. Many women heard him categorize people of color, and undocumented people as dangerous and criminal and turned their gaze away.

My words in this poem are a reflection on womanhood, sisterhood, and the harm we do to one another. All of us are called to a greater commitment to protect and strengthen each other- especially now. <3



"melania says it's okay"
this is america! women are free!
free to do whatever they want-
to buy new titties and laser their labia
to wear blue jeans, clit rings, bonnets, habits or hijabs
free to do 3,000 kegels a day, free to wear strap-ons and strapless bras
free to slut it up with whomever they please, or buy a vibrator when it gets too depressing
this is america! women are free!
free to defend the pedophile priests
free to preach the gospel of misogyny
free to be sexist, racist, homophobes who fear trans people and the meaning of gnc
free to change their clothing and the route they walk home from work
free to forget about the poor teenage girl in a factory on the other side of the earth
free to go into debt for a college degree, free to eat carbs and free to eat pussy
this is america! women are so free!
free to take hormones that make them feel sad
free to bleed chunks of uterus into a cup or a pad
free to ride horses and lose their virginity
free to throw up after they eat and cry themselves to sleep
free to have their rape kits sit in the basement of a PD
to be criminalized for having a child they can’t afford to feed
to be villainized for not having a child they can’t afford to feed
to be scoffed at for apologizing and being meek
to be skewered for demanding anything


women are so free!
free to do more damage than any man could do
so grab them by the pussy, why don't you!?

"KATE SAYS IT'S NOT OKAY" photo by Emily Townsend

"KATE SAYS IT'S NOT OKAY" photo by Emily Townsend