top of page

“YOU ARE A WOMAN WITH A MAN INSIDE WATCHING A WOMAN. YOU AREYOUR OWN VOYEUR.”- Margaret Atwood

Something splits in two when a person is assigned that label of “woman”. There is herself,

that silhouette of a living, breathing shape which is yet shapeless. There is that something,

herself before the her, and then, there is her voyeur.


From birth that shape fades into light, the edges becoming less obscure. She learns that this

figure, this outline, is inexorably tied to her. She wishes it could melt back into that something

it was before it was visible, but it just burns brighter and brighter until nobody can see

anything but that. They can’t see her nothingness anymore. Her worth, autonomy, and

authenticity eclipse. The light obscures her darkness. She is ready for consumption.


He watches her while she sleeps. He is there at dawn, laughing at her weariness and her

sprawled out body on the bed. He sneers as she puts on her clothes, her awkwardness, her

strain. He is the unrelenting scrutiny haunting her footsteps. He mocks and cuts the ridges in

her brain and the pathways of her thoughts.


She forgets what it’s like to float, to be air and water.


In the depths of our lives, the creases and the folds of our experiences, how often is it true

that functioning as a human - a human, not a woman -triumphs that adherence to our own

voyeurism?


She is scrutinised, appraised. Her value oscillates and rebounds the rays of the sun. The

light is warped, fluxing and waning. It is never on her side.

She is paradoxical. Her brightness is threatening, subversive in its form, inferior and

disposable. She herself is true and valuable and equal, yet wrong and false and wholly

ridiculous. How can all of these things be true? She has been taught to see herself in the

shadows that he casts, yet his movements are so unstable, so incessantly unpredictable,

how can she ever truly see?


Think back to that empty orb, shapeless and noiseless. Before the panic set in and all you

could see was reflection, think about the thing that had no colour or size or ends. Before she

met him, man, as they call him.


How can we get back there? She asks.


We could time travel, I answer, back to the moment we were conceived, to stop this all from

happening. Or further back to before the moment gender herself was born out of his womb.

Back to the moment he viewed her as something different, imposing on her a structure.

Before she herself was a commodity. We could stop him from sailing the seas and taking her

things, her money and her independence, and now you, your mother, and grandmother

could pulse around the world like jellyfish, seeping into nature and love and each other.

Is it possible? It’s hard to say. We can write it, but we can’t see it. We can feel it, sometimes,

if you let your form melt for a while. You have to droop and sag and ooze into the ground

beneath and the air above you and let go of that frame. Let him watch, let him laugh. Flowing

and ghostly you can’t hear him anymore. You cannot see yourself; you can only feel and

touch and savour.


Words: Isabelle Parker, she/her

55 views

Recent Posts

See All

stoned sex

They smoked heartily. Each inhale turned gloriously (and almost imperceptibly) into an exhale. Each and every muscle fibre let go. Each little facial muscle becomes utterly useless apart from (of cour

Комментарии


bottom of page