Lives of girls and women

little insurgent monument

little insurgent monument (Photo credit: _gee_)

Today is All Souls Day. Nearly everything is closed. The hostel dining loft is painted orange, but I think green would have been a better choice.

This morning, when I wrenched myself away from women’s issue blogs (celebrities, body image, sex exposes), the streets were chill and silent.

My first contention towards these blogs is, Stop talking about other women’s bodies. Just stop. (To borrow the style of the website that I’ve been reading).

The more we, the community, talk, the more it reinforces a weird norm that other women’s bodies are common property that should live out community expectations. Whether this is to alert us to a celebrity’s flat stomached ‘post-baby-bikini-body’, or to denounce this as an unrealistic ideal (which, of course, it probably is). The personal is political. And politically, it’s none of our casual business what a woman does with her body.

Contrast coverage of women’s bodies to coverage of men’s bodies.  Weight is medical, age is inevitable, brains are of-course (unless proven otherwise), and ugly isn’t news.

And my second contention is, if you do write about women’s bodies, especially to critique other coverage, don’t write to fill column inches or to keep people like me with nothing better to do clicking around your website, to make money.

Well, apparently the city was virtually razed during the war, but it’s been rebuilt in period style, so you wouldn’t know. It’s even UNESCO listed, because it has been rebuilt on such a large scale. Initially, there were plans to exit the pile of rubble, leave it as a monument, and move the city somewhere else. But people started returning and living in the rubble, and due to their will, the location wasn’t moved.

In W—, the tour guide told us a slogan. Bearing in mind that the words for freedom and room in Polish are the same, something like: Socialism is freedom, but democracy is two rooms and a kitchen.

The western side of the river Wisła is unregulated, has a sand bank and floods in season. The east bank is levied. On the west side, a sand track runs through willows, used by cyclists and dog walkers. Anglers ply the water from the scrubby banks.

In the evening I went to the cemetery, which was buzzing. Crowd control supervised a relaxed crowd into the gates, past lantern and wreath vendors. Family and others placed candles on their loved ones’ graves, and pots of blooming chrysanthemums. Some graves had single lanterns in plastic or glass lamps, nestling in dead leaves, others were a carpet of multicoloured lamps, especially before graves of poets or writers. A guide explained that the day commemorates the dead, in general. All the trees had lost their leaves, the place had a naked, bare bones look, the candles looked up to the sky.

(Lives of women and girls is a short story cycle by Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro).

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