We Are Visible Only to Each Other

by easilyriled

This morning I woke up to the radio, as I always do. A woman was reading the news. When i finally rolled out of bed, I called a friend who had called me the day before. We talked as I made fruit salad for a breakfast I was preparing for another woman who was coming over. I took out the garbage and called another friend about a couple of work shifts. C_ arrived for breakfast just as I put some music on my cd player.

and I realized that my morning had almost NO men in it. The host of the morning radio show was a guy, but other than him, there were no men. all of the music I played today was by women, all of the people i talked to were women, and if you look around my walls, almost all of the art is by women, the books are mostly by and about women (not all, but a big proportion)–my work is about women and our shared resistance against male domination, and our shared celebrations of each other. I sent a text to my friend, H_ to say “I had to tell someone, and you were the first i thought of to tell, I fuckin’ LOVE women. I woke up this morning, anxious, like always, but full of love and admiration for us nonetheless”.

Everywhere else, you would think there are no women. I went to a music festival this weekend, and most of the musicians were men. The headliner of the festival was a woman, kd Lang, oh and what a golden glorious voice she has, but all of the musicians in her band are (and always have been) men; another woman, whom i’ve never seen before, an Irish blues singer, Imelda May, all of her band are men as well. She was fantastic, too, though. One man, Luke Doucet, had women in his band, and he promoted them too. But two of them sang a duet, “Joelene (please don’t take my man)” — sigh. It seems that, in order to become famous, women have to be the  only woman. There is no room for more than one woman in a successful music career. there was a duet, The Secret Sisters, and I think it was only the two of them singing sweet bluegrass and country together. In general, though, if you want to be famous, you have to go it alone without your sisters. From that festival, and most of the others i’ve ever been to, the headlining women were backed by a band of boys. And male producers and male technicians and and and…

Movies? All men.

Radio?  Mostly men.

News papers, magazines, books?  by men about men. sometimes by women about men. it is still more difficult for a woman to be published as a woman.

I am sitting in the library right now. to my left are three men, to my right are three men.

I was visiting my friend H_ last night and she said that one of the men working on repairing the chimney in the building where she works (a transition house) came to the door. She said, “are you one of the workmen?” and he looked shocked. “I come here every day, you say hello to me every day”.  She said, “I’m sorry, I just don’t pay that much attention.”

he was not used to being invisible. This was not his experience at all.

It is ours. Men do not see women. They see breasts, perhaps, or glossy, shiny hair, or hips. They do not see us. In fact, we don’t see us. We are not visible in the world of business or politics or art or theatre or music. We have to look to find each other.

Do not tell me, though, that we are as invisible as this Man’s World made us. or that we are as ineffective as our invisibility would imply. We are actively in revolt and the rock will wear away. The women I know and the women i see, ALL of my friends are part of the revolution in some way or another. All of us capitulate in some way, of course. We have to in order to survive. Many of my friends are married, many have children, most work for some man or other, directly (he owns the store) or indirectly (he funds the drop-in centre). All of us have male relatives who profit in so many ways from the patriarchy and from our shared oppression. Most of us have men in our lives whom we love dearly. That doesn’t matter, though they love us, too, we are, to them, still women, and still invisible. As well as indispensable, of course. To men, and to each other.

If all the women and girls really did vanish, the whole house of  cards would collapse. I’d like to see that. No more porn theatres, no more burlesque, no prostitution, no shirts and chinos, no food picked fresh from the farm, no curried lentils, no hot milk with honey, no librarians or primary school teachers, no dresses, no traffic control women, with the stop signs at the road construction, no one in the grocery stores–

the men would probably go on as before for a while, because they don’t see us anyways, but they wouldn’t be able to manage too well for too long without us. They’d run out of clean underwear within a few days.  I’d like to be there when they finally notice; when things grind to a halt around them. Wouldn’t that be something to see?

If we do go on strike, or take off together someplace, all of us, can we have a big gym with lots of barbells and squat racks and lifting platforms and stuff? That’s all I ask. oh. and a washer, dryer and ironing board. That’s heaven, that is. A world of women, a gym and laundry facilities. with a kick-ass iron and an ironing board. and way in the distance, we could hear the murmur of confused men…then we’d just play our accordions louder.


A version of this post was previously published on Easilyriled’s Blog.

10 Comments to “We Are Visible Only to Each Other”

  1. I guess a lot of our power lies in withdrawal. Isn’t that what strike movements have meant in the past?

  2. I really enjoyed this post, definitely no men before breakfast!

    Yes, feministesvegetalien there is a lot of power in women withholding our energy from men. Not enough to solve all our problems but it is a good start. I also think we have to start complaining like mad about our underrepresentation in media and political arenas.

    One good thing about being invisible; when we are over forty, men stop seeing us as collages of breasts and hair, and usually don’t notice us at all. Middle aged women make great rebels, activists and underground resistance workers.
    I knew a woman who took up feminism after her husband died, she was sixty years old and achieved some useful things for women in her local area. She reminded me of Miss Marple, so it is never too late.

  3. Hey! I fuckin’ LOVE WOMEN, too. YES I DO! Oh, to wake up and have days devoid of any men whatsoever… to not have to listen to even ONE BLOVIATING BEPENISED BARFBAG. I seek a woman-only house, job, EVERYTHING. Please. Someday, maybe…?

  4. Ha! Beautiful. If all the women disappeared it would quickly degenerate to a Lord of the Flies situation – with most of the flies hanging around men’s dirty underwear. Boys would quickly become objects of desire and slave labour would revert to them. All interesting and meaningful conversation would grind to a halt. Suicide rates would be off the charts and finally society would implode when the penny finally dropped that their existence is essentially selfish, hate filled and meaningless.

  5. I think boys are already objects of desire, unfortunately for them.

    “All interesting and meaningful conversation would grind to a halt.” That is for sure.

  6. We could do a good moral version of atlas Shrugged- Athena Shrugged!!

  7. Thanks for your thoughts, EL,

    Things become so much more vivid when we step back into the world of women. So much of our work is done in the world of men, but it’s so refreshing to seek each other out and venture into women’s space. This reminded me of an older CBL post.


  8. Where are all the women on the internet? Every finance, investment, economics, statistics, technology, science, web apps blog or site mostly has male authors, and ALWAYS male comment writers. There are plenty of women who are interested in, have jobs or expertise in those fields (though far fewer than men). But it isn’t exactly a hospitable environment for anyone female to participate. Well, not often. It is sad, lonely.

    The example about the musicians was good. One female vocalist, although the star, doesn’t count for much. I like men, very much! But imbalance is bad. I read a news story, about populist protests in Europe. Not Occupy, prior to that. Everyone was busy protesting oppression by upper classes etc. Teenagers, students and political types were protesting, being wild, defiant, throwing stuff, breaking things. Guess who was cooking, washing clothes and dishes, putting up tents, folding them away in the morning? Middle-aged women. Even at a protest, they were working hard, unrecognized, behind the scenes. Doing the same old work as always. But the news reporter was great, because he or she had the sense to realize that, took lots of photos for emphasis. I’ll try to find and post the URL.

  9. “Taking Our Eyes off the Guys” by Sonia Johnson says it all. http://rancom.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/soniajohnson-takingoureyesofftheguys.pdf

  10. interesting article, Utopia! thanks for this–

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