Try to force your negative thoughts on me
As if I haven’t spent hours
Spitting poisonous words
Until they splatter across my mirror
Staining each inch of my reflection
As if I haven’t learned to take my
Love handles into my hands
Squeezing them until purple finger marks emerge
As if I haven’t read the magazines
Displaying skinny arm after skinny arm
Until I began to look down at my own with
Disgust and shame
As if I’ve never passed a mirror
Stopping to shout at myself
I don’t deserve to live I don’t deserve to laugh I don’t deserve to be happy I deserve to have breakdowns I deserve to become immobile in my cage of depression I deserve to cry I deserve to not have friends I deserve to break glass I deserve to dig myself into my negative thoughts I deserve to sit in the corner of my room for hours upon hours I deserve to radiate isolation I deserve to be alone alone alone
I’ve faced my own disgust my own negativity my own self hatred
So when I say I love myself
That I am beautiful
That I have everything to offer
Know that it took years of stripping off tainted skin
That has been crusted over with forced negativity
To find clean positivity to grow in it’s place
Know that ever since the day I was told
To shave my legs and be nice to mean boys
I was also told to argue with people who call me pretty
To smile when people call me ‘skinny’
I grew up weaving the pattern of self hatred into daily activities
Wake up. Brush teeth. Make sure you give no indication you think you are beautiful.
I wore my lack of confidence as clothing
Until it wore on my skin and the tight restraints left indents
Slowly I shed my chains
I grew sick of holding others opinions
Over my own
Sick of laughing at boys fat jokes because
If boys were mean to me it meant they liked me
Except I was 15 and insecure
And one boys insult felt like the whole world’s hatred
I grew sick of being told that I should value what other people said about me
More than what I said about myself
I am beautiful and intelligent and passionate
And I shouldn’t have to laugh after I exclaim my own self love
To make people feel more comfortable in their own self hatred
Words don’t hurt me
I overcame the worst insults that fell from my own mouth
I can retrace over and over the scars that have been left on my body my mind and my emotions
From harsh words
And let hatred boil into my skin
But I’d rather trace my scars
As a reminder of all the nights I stayed up
Till 3 A.M. chanting anthems of self hatred
And a year later I turned those chants into
I have big thighs and they’re beautiful
I have big arms and they’re beautiful
I have a big forehead and thin lips
And they’re beautiful
I don’t deserve to hate myself
I deserve to see myself and call myself beautiful beautiful beautiful
I can’t fault brands for keeping the spotlight on these important cultural issues, but many ads employing female-empowering messages, especially the beauty brands, seem to be simply couching their backward-thinking messages in new packaging. For example, Pantene’s “Not Sorry” ad, which has over 13 million views on YouTube, tells women to stop apologizing, assert their strength, and refuse to downplay their opinions and expertise—a meaningful and important message. But it all comes back to beauty, as the description of the ad explains, “When you’re strong on the inside, you shine on the outside. And that’s a beautiful thing.” Along the same lines, Dove’s “Movement for Self-Esteem” seemed to be singularly based on helping young girls boost confidence by making them “feel beautiful”: the brand supported its program with a survey concluding that only 4 percent of women worldwide considered themselves beautiful and, of the 1,200 girls ages 10-17 in the survey, about 11 percent of girls felt comfortable using the word beautiful to describe their appearances. I’m inclined to say “So what? What percent of those girls would use the word smart, fierce, talented, etc, to describe themselves? That seems like a more important measurement of their confidence.”
My point is this: Dove and Pantene continue to equate the pursuit of beauty with the pursuit of happiness and confidence, making a direct connection with exterior appearances and interior fulfillment. According to their ads, “looking confident” and “feeling beautiful” are really half the battle. A woman’s appearance is still a critical component of her strength and authority, and there’s nothing empowering about that message.What to Make of “Female Empowerment” Marketing | Women’s Media Center (via becauseiamawoman)
Privacy is a privilege. It is rarely enjoyed by women or transgender men and women, queer people or people of color. When you are an Other, you are always in danger of having your body or some other intimate part of yourself exposed in one way or another. A stranger reaches out and touches a pregnant woman’s belly. A man walking down the street offers an opinion on a woman’s appearance or implores her to smile. A group of teenagers driving by as a person of color walks on a sidewalk shout racial slurs, interrupting their quiet.
For most people, privacy is little more than an illusion, one we create so we can feel less vulnerable as we move through the world, so we can believe some parts of ourselves are sacred and free from uninvited scrutiny. The further away you are from living as a white, heterosexual, middle-class man, the less privacy you enjoy – the more likely your illusions of privacy will be shattered when you least expect it.The Great Naked Celebrity Photo Leak of 2014 is just the beginning | Roxane Gay | theguardian.com (via becauseiamawoman)
I asked seven anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians if they would rather have been a typical Indian or a typical European in 1491. None was delighted by the question, because it required judging the past by the standards of today—a fallacy disparaged as “presentism” by social scientists. But every one chose to be an Indian. Some early colonists gave the same answer. Horrifying the leaders of Jamestown and Plymouth, scores of English ran off to live with the Indians. My ancestor shared their desire, which is what led to the trumped-up murder charges against him—or that’s what my grandfather told me, anyway.
As for the Indians, evidence suggests that they often viewed Europeans with disdain. The Hurons, a chagrined missionary reported, thought the French possessed “little intelligence in comparison to themselves.” Europeans, Indians said, were physically weak, sexually untrustworthy, atrociously ugly, and just plain dirty. (Spaniards, who seldom if ever bathed, were amazed by the Aztec desire for personal cleanliness.) A Jesuit reported that the “Savages” were disgusted by handkerchiefs: “They say, we place what is unclean in a fine white piece of linen, and put it away in our pockets as something very precious, while they throw it upon the ground.” The Micmac scoffed at the notion of French superiority. If Christian civilization was so wonderful, why were its inhabitants leaving?
Like people everywhere, Indians survived by cleverly exploiting their environment. Europeans tended to manage land by breaking it into fragments for farmers and herders. Indians often worked on such a grand scale that the scope of their ambition can be hard to grasp. They created small plots, as Europeans did (about 1.5 million acres of terraces still exist in the Peruvian Andes), but they also reshaped entire landscapes to suit their purposes. A principal tool was fire, used to keep down underbrush and create the open, grassy conditions favorable for game. Rather than domesticating animals for meat, Indians retooled whole ecosystems to grow bumper crops of elk, deer, and bison. The first white settlers in Ohio found forests as open as English parks—they could drive carriages through the woods. Along the Hudson River the annual fall burning lit up the banks for miles on end; so flashy was the show that the Dutch in New Amsterdam boated upriver to goggle at the blaze like children at fireworks. In North America, Indian torches had their biggest impact on the Midwestern prairie, much or most of which was created and maintained by fire. Millennia of exuberant burning shaped the plains into vast buffalo farms. When Indian societies disintegrated, forest invaded savannah in Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Texas Hill Country. Is it possible that the Indians changed the Americas more than the invading Europeans did? “The answer is probably yes for most regions for the next 250 years or so” after Columbus, William Denevan wrote, “and for some regions right up to the present time.”
Quoted from the essay "1941" written by Charles C. Mann, about the major impact that Native Americans had on the Americas (ecologically and culturally) before white people invaded, bringing their diseases and shoving Christianity down the Indians’ throats and murdering them and banning their cultures.
Check out the whole piece (which is rather long). (P.S thanks to @cazalis for sending me this great link)
Human history, in Crosby’s interpretation, is marked by two world-altering centers of invention: the Middle East and central Mexico, where Indian groups independently created nearly all of the Neolithic innovations, writing included. The Neolithic Revolution began in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago. In the next few millennia humankind invented the wheel, the metal tool, and agriculture. The Sumerians eventually put these inventions together, added writing, and became the world’s first civilization. Afterward Sumeria’s heirs in Europe and Asia frantically copied one another’s happiest discoveries; innovations ricocheted from one corner of Eurasia to another, stimulating technological progress. Native Americans, who had crossed to Alaska before Sumeria, missed out on the bounty. “They had to do everything on their own,” Crosby says. Remarkably, they succeeded.
When Columbus appeared in the Caribbean, the descendants of the world’s two Neolithic civilizations collided, with overwhelming consequences for both. American Neolithic development occurred later than that of the Middle East, possibly because the Indians needed more time to build up the requisite population density. Without beasts of burden they could not capitalize on the wheel (for individual workers on uneven terrain skids are nearly as effective as carts for hauling), and they never developed steel. But in agriculture they handily outstripped the children of Sumeria. Every tomato in Italy, every potato in Ireland, and every hot pepper in Thailand came from this hemisphere. Worldwide, more than half the crops grown today were initially developed in the Americas.
Maize, as corn is called in the rest of the world, was a triumph with global implications. Indians developed an extraordinary number of maize varieties for different growing conditions, which meant that the crop could and did spread throughout the planet. Central and Southern Europeans became particularly dependent on it; maize was the staple of Serbia, Romania, and Moldavia by the nineteenth century. Indian crops dramatically reduced hunger, Crosby says, which led to an Old World population boom.
Along with peanuts and manioc, maize came to Africa and transformed agriculture there, too. “The probability is that the population of Africa was greatly increased because of maize and other American Indian crops,” Crosby says. “Those extra people helped make the slave trade possible.” Maize conquered Africa at the time when introduced diseases were leveling Indian societies. The Spanish, the Portuguese, and the British were alarmed by the death rate among Indians, because they wanted to exploit them as workers. Faced with a labor shortage, the Europeans turned their eyes to Africa. The continent’s quarrelsome societies helped slave traders to siphon off millions of people. The maize-fed population boom, Crosby believes, let the awful trade continue without pumping the well dry.
Back home in the Americas, Indian agriculture long sustained some of the world’s largest cities. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán dazzled Hernán Cortés in 1519; it was bigger than Paris, Europe’s greatest metropolis. The Spaniards gawped like hayseeds at the wide streets, ornately carved buildings, and markets bright with goods from hundreds of miles away. They had never before seen a city with botanical gardens, for the excellent reason that none existed in Europe. The same novelty attended the force of a thousand men that kept the crowded streets immaculate. (Streets that weren’t ankle-deep in sewage! The conquistadors had never heard of such a thing.) Central America was not the only locus of prosperity. Thousands of miles north, John Smith, of Pocahontas fame, visited Massachusetts in 1614, before it was emptied by disease, and declared that the land was “so planted with Gardens and Corne fields, and so well inhabited with a goodly, strong and well proportioned people … [that] I would rather live here than any where.”
and another excerpt:
In as yet unpublished research the archaeologists Eduardo Neves, of the University of São Paulo; Michael Heckenberger, of the University of Florida; and their colleagues examined terra preta in the upper Xingu, a huge southern tributary of the Amazon. Not all Xingu cultures left behind this living earth, they discovered. But the ones that did generated it rapidly—suggesting to Woods that terra preta was created deliberately. In a process reminiscent of dropping microorganism-rich starter into plain dough to create sourdough bread, Amazonian peoples, he believes, inoculated bad soil with a transforming bacterial charge. Not every group of Indians there did this, but quite a few did, and over an extended period of time.
When Woods told me this, I was so amazed that I almost dropped the phone. I ceased to be articulate for a moment and said things like “wow” and “gosh.” Woods chuckled at my reaction, probably because he understood what was passing through my mind. Faced with an ecological problem, I was thinking, the Indians fixed it. They were in the process of terraforming the Amazon when Columbus showed up and ruined everything.