Today we are feeling a little more serious, Author-friends, after reading this unbelievably amazing post on bullying by the superlative Neesha Meminger, whose blog you should be following RIGHT NOW WHY AREN'T YOU, and this other also amazing post on internet harassment by blogger Annaham over at Tiger Beatdown. Bullying is something we have been thinking about ourself a lot lately, since a pile of bull(y)shit is now law in Arizona, and we know it's probably going to be overturned since, you know, racial profiling is like sort of technically illegal, which is so reassuring and why it never ever happens in real life; but the fact that that bill even made into the arena of public discourse, let alone was signed into law by the governor, is hurting our heart pretty fucking hard. On a more personal level we have been thinking about bullying since it is springtime in New York, a season when the ladies tend to wear REVEALING GARMENTS (you know, like short-sleeved shirts) and the gentlemen are stirred into an understandable FRENZY OF EXCITEMENT at the UTTERLY SCANDALOUS sight of, like, NAKED ELBOWS, and make free with the street harassment (for the record, New York is in no way more egregious than other places in this department; there are just a lot more people here, so the number of advances per block increases exponentially), and there are some days getting followed down the street by a dude yelling scary shit is not really what we're in the mood for. Shocking, we know.
Both Annaham and Neesha make the point that what gets referred to as "bullying" (as in, it's just "bullying," you'll get over it) is ultimately a deliberate and pointed targeting of difference, of people (queer, disabled, female, brown) who have less power by people who have more power. Both Annaham and Neesha point out that this kind of harassment gets dismissed all the time: it's just high school, it's just "illegal" "aliens" which is clearly not the same thing as actual human beings, it's just the internet, it's just dudes on the street, what's your problem, leave the room, love it or leave it, grow up, what do you expect when you dress like that, you'll get over it, shut up. But for those of us who deal with this shit in one way or another, to greater and lesser degrees, as ladies and queer people and people of color and disabled people and people who are sometimes all of those things AT ONCE, for those of us who deal with this shit EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, it can make a day real long.
So really what we wanted to say, from the bottom of our heart, to Neesha and Annaham and the many people out there who make our own life a little more easy, knowing you all are carrying the flag of the people's revolution and saying amazing things and not shutting up, what we wanted to say is thank you, and you're awesome.
Neesha says this:
Part of empowering young people is to show them reflections of themselves as powerful, valuable, important members of their communities - no less deserving of privilege, love, wealth, dignity and respect than their peers. I know from experience that stories do that. Stories heal and mend and expand. Stories in books, stories in the news, stories in film, on television and in magazines. It's part of the reason I started writing to begin with.
And it's true, y'all, fellow standardbearers of the good fight, young people and not-so-young people alike; so let's tell OUR stories like nobody's business.