Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On the "Torture" of Invisibility

This is an excerpt from Toni Morrison's latest offering, A Mercy, which had me standing up and saying "AMEN". I get like that when I come across a moment of commonality between my and the author's expression of a certain issue. It happens often and this is perhaps why reading is one of the most pleasurable things in life. It makes me know that beside the barriers that place us up against one another, there are aspects very very similar about each one of our experiences and this is not revealed more lucidly than through literature. I believe.

"But then Job was a man. Invisibility was intolerable to men. What complaint would a female Job dare to put forth? And if, having done so, and He deigned to remind her of how weak and ignorant she was, where was the news in that? What shocked Job into humility and renewed fidelity was the message a female Job would have known and heard everu minute of her life."

My immediate response to this was:

What those of us observant enough to witness and acknowledge will see is how much alike men and children are. Yet it seems that in an attempt to forge an antithesis to this truth, the myth of the emotionally discordant "babygirl" was forged. That somehow, it is the other way around and therefore it is necessary to monitor and infantilize the ones who held the original power. The keepers of life, the passers-down of the gene. And in spite of all this, complaints are few and far between - the humiliation is this cliche. Yet if the men who want dominion so hungrily were to experience firsthand the treatment women themselves have been accustomed to, what frustration. Each and every time. They throw their toys out of the cot like the infants they truly are and complain about the pain and suffering that we women know too well already.

In all my days of being made invisible by those who for on reason other that to express megalomania and insecurity, I have taught myself steadily to adapt to the weather. Same too of being viewed as a thing of ornamental rather than human worth. Of by default appreciated as ignorant, foolish and uncultured. Of depending wholeheartedly on external validation for my self-worth and them having to deal with some juvenile wrath owed to my dismissiveness (an obvious repurcussion). Of being spoken of in my very own presence as if I were a mere pedigree perched in some corner of the room flapping my tongue. All this to have to endure yet if I choose to make you invisible in my mind's eye, petition against you attempting to "privilege" me by granting me attention or worse yet begin to elevate my status in the heirarchy and strengthen my powers against yours then, then your "entitlement" must act. For it is unacceptable, you believe, that nobody is not to bear witness to you and yours and that a woman achieves higher playing rank. All because you are a man and the world around you has groomed you with the notion that you deserve, you deserve, you deserve. Therefore to be seen not as I have been on more occasions than I can even recall and you could not possibly fathom is quite simply and justly on intolerable hell to you. It is true what Soyinke once said, "Men are just like children. They really cannot bear much pain."

 Note: I may be making harsh generalizations, this is not a sign of hatred - I am just playing observer. That's all. 

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