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The Terrible Bargain

August 30, 2009

If you’ve been anywhere in the feminist blogosphere lately, you’ve probably seen at least five million links to this post by Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck, about the little heartbreaks of everyday life as a woman, of sexist jokes and men who refuse to “get it”. You need to read it if you haven’t.

Like the hundreds of people who have commented on that post and the subsequent discussion threads, it hit me. Hard. I’ve read it a few dozen times now, maybe twice or three times a day since she wrote it. I’ve followed the comments, a mix of personal stories, thank yous, and men at varying levels of seeing the point. This is an important piece of writing.

The sentiments of Melissa’s post are a big part of why we started Happy Bodies (both in its online form, and the live discussions that occur on campus each week), and why it’s been such a meaningful community for me. We are able to have that conversation, vent our frustrations about that guy in class who is usually so cool but totally discounted comments women were making about the text, about that male friend who won’t understand the fears we associate with being drunk at parties or out alone at night, about seeing our friends hang out with someone who assaulted someone close to us, because He’s a good guy who made a mistake. We get to say these things and be heard. We can be mistrustful, as Melissa says, and feel safe. We are reassured that we are not crazy, are not wrong, and are not alone. That’s a big deal.

We’re coming up on five months since the beginning of Happy Bodies. Maybe 20 or so campus meetings, almost 200 blog posts, close to 20,000 views, a completely badass banquet, and, for me at least, countless reassuring voices, challenges to my beliefs, and places for growth. Thanks to you for being part of it.

Now, go read Melissa’s post.

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