SEE THE THING IS, he said, BIG GIRLS LEAVE MORE SPACE FOR ME TO GRAB AHOLD OF
i’m not your handlebars
SEE THE THING IS, she said, BIG GIRLS ARE BETTER THAN SKINNY ONES BECAUSE MEN DON’T LIKE BONES
other girls are not graveyards
SEE THE THING IS
a baby girl isn’t beautiful because somebody is gonna hold her
i mean we all wanna be loved but i want her to
a baby girl isn’t beautiful because a man’s fingertips can dig
bruises into her hips, she’s beautiful because
she just is
in nature we don’t say a flower is beautiful
when somebody wants to pick it
in fact we say that nature’s beauty is at the height of purity
when it would destroy you to even touch it
SEE THE THING IS
i would rather be an ocean of danger and deep black and
thick mermaid thighs rather than
a body you want to cruise across
i would rather be the night sky and crush ribs with a suffocating sense that we are all small and purposeless
rather than a landscape of freckles someone happens to think
are akin to constellations
i would rather be storms and lightning and a bright sun rising, i
would rather make you quake in your boots than get your heart
i would rather be beautiful like a cold spring stream:
not beautiful because you said so
but beautiful because
i am me.
- Day 18: Protests continue (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) Police are still present on W. Florissant.
- How police have treated residents of Canfield Green Apartments
- Tweets from Town Hall meeting at Harris Stowe State University (live stream): (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) “Taser is not 100% effective”
it was really disappointing when i found out helen keller was a eugenicist, because, as a disabled woman, there was so much that i looked up to her for, one of them being her brilliant eloquence when discussing such vitally important issues such as women’s rights and laborer’s rights, as well as her part in helping found the ACLU, and her advocacy for socialism.
but, it doesn’t change the fact that she was a eugenicist, and the fact that she publicly supported the euthanasia of a disabled child.
while her writings on the abolishment of horrific institutions like capitalism and poverty do seem invaluable, i think people need to take into consideration, before they post quotes of hers, or pictures of her [and so on], that there’s nothing more capitalistic and corrupt than systematically wiping out ”defectives” such as the poor, disabled people, people of color, sex workers, lgbtq people, &etc. by sterilizing them, forcibly institutionalizing them, and murdering them, because they did not ”contribute” to the maintaining of the ”right” kind of society.
People who struggle interpersonally, who seem unhappy, or who get into a lot of conflicts are often advised to adopt the approach of Nonviolent Communication.
This is often not a good idea. Nonviolent Communication is an approach based on refraining from seeming to judge others, and instead expressing everything in terms of your own feelings. For instance, instead of “Don’t be such an inconsiderate jerk about leaving your clothes around”, you’d say “When you leave your clothing around, I feel disrespected.”. That approach is useful in situations in which people basically want to treat each other well but have trouble doing so because they don’t understand one another’s needs and feelings. In every other type of situation, the ideology and methodology of Nonviolent Communication can make things much worse.
Nonviolent Communication can be particularly harmful to marginalized people or abuse survivors. It can also teach powerful people to abuse their power more than they had previously, and to feel good about doing so. Non-Violent Communication has strategies that can be helpful in some situations, but it also teaches a lot of anti-skills that can undermine the ability to survive and fight injustice and abuse.
For marginalized or abused people, being judgmental is a necessary survival skill. Sometimes it’s not enough to say “when you call me slurs, I feel humiliated” - particularly if the other person doesn’t care about hurting you or actually wants to hurt you. Sometimes you have to say “The word you called me is a slur. It’s not ok to call me slurs. Stop.” Or “If you call me that again, I’m leaving.” Sometimes you have to say to yourself “I’m ok, they’re mean.” All of those things are judgments, and it’s important to be judgmental in those ways.
You can’t protect yourself from people who mean you harm without judging them. Nonviolent Communication works when people are hurting each other by accident; it only works when everyone means well. It doesn’t have responses that work when people are hurting others on purpose or without caring about damage they do. Which, if you’re marginalized or abused, happens several times a day. NVC does not have a framework for acknowledging this or responding to it.
In order to protect yourself from people who mean you harm, you have to see yourself as having the right to judge that someone is hurting you. You also have to be able to unilaterally set boundaries, even when your boundaries are upsetting to other people. Nonviolent Communication culture can teach you that whenever others are upset with you, you’re doing something wrong and should change what you do in order to meet the needs of others better. That’s a major anti-skill. People need to be able to decide things for themselves even when others are upset.
Further, NVC places a dangerous degree of emphasis on using a very specific kind of language and tone. NVC culture often judges people less on the content of what they’re saying than how they are saying it. Abusers and cluelessly powerful people are usually much better at using NVC language than people who are actively being hurt. When you’re just messing with someone’s head or protecting your own right to mess with their head, it’s easy to phrase things correctly. When someone is abusing you and you’re trying to explain what’s wrong, and you’re actively terrified, it’s much, much harder to phrase things in I-statements that take an acceptable tone.
Further, there is *always* a way to take issue with the way someone phrased something. It’s really easy to make something that’s really about shutting someone up look like a concern about the way they’re using language, or advice on how to communicate better. Every group I’ve seen that valued this type of language highly ended up nitpicking the language of the least popular person in the group as a way of shutting them up.
tl;dr Be careful with Nonviolent Communication. It has some merits, but it is not the complete solution to conflict or communication that it presents itself as. If you have certain common problems, NVC is dangerous.
Thank you so much for writing this. NVC was really helpful for me in learning to communicate better with my darling partners and most trusted friends, with whom I did sometimes need help in phrasing so that we wouldn’t hurt each other accidentally. I do still suggest NVC for that to people who are interested. But all these critiques are so valid and are issues I’ve been thinking about without being able to frame/verbalize/find words for until now. I really appreciate this.