—Elastic Heart (ft. The Weeknd & Diplo)
you won’t see me fall apart
'cos i've got an elastic heart
I am one of the only people I’ve ever met who hates Jane Eyre. I first read it in high school when I was sixteen, and my teacher kept telling us it was feminist, but Jane’s relationships with Rochester and St John just made me uncomfortable and angry, and even though I couldn’t articulate why, it didn’t feel feminist to me. I read it again four years later for a Women Authors class in college, and this time I didn’t just parrot back the mainstream Jane-Eyre-is-feminist-novel ideas while silently hating the story. I tried to explain to my classmates why everything after Jane meets Rochester made me so uncomfortable and upset, particularly her ending up with him, but I could only get as far as arguing that Rochester and St John emotionally abuse Jane, even though I knew there was something else I hated, something I inherently understood but still couldn’t put into words, something that remained frustratingly just out of reach. I resigned myself to being the weird, angry girl with the perplexing hatred of a universally beloved feminist text.
And then last night I suddenly got it.
When you’re a woman, everything is your fault.
It’s your fault he’s in love with you. It’s your fault he doesn’t love you. It’s your fault he won’t take no for an answer. It’s your fault he lied to you. It’s your fault his ego got bruised. It’s your fault he can’t move on. It’s your fault he’s hurt. It’s your fault he hurt you.
You shouldn’t have been so friendly. You shouldn’t have been so snobby. You shouldn’t have been so beautiful. You shouldn’t have been so ugly. You shouldn’t have worn that outfit. You shouldn’t have made him angry. You shouldn’t have had the audacity to exist.
It’s your fault. You committed the ultimate crime of being born a woman. You’re automatically guilty. It’s your fault.
THE FUCK IT IS. We can’t keep doing this. We can’t keep apologizing for existing. We can’t keep apologizing for wanting to be treated with respect. This is where victim-blaming comes from: it’s the extension of a much more insidious problem.
Jane says all the right things to Rochester (the whole “I am no bird” speech everyone always quotes), even does all the right things (leaves him instead of becoming his mistress). That’s not the problem. The problem is she doesn’t feel good about it. She never thinks, “Well, he was a lying asshole, and I did the right thing for me, which he certainly wasn’t interested in doing.” No, she does the right thing for herself and she feels guilty about it the whole time. Her guilt complex isn’t even something that comes naturally to her. It’s something that was conditioned by her creepy, abusive school.
We keep doing this. Society keeps doing this. Society is Jane’s school. It does it in real life and it does it in fiction. We can tell story after story about women who say the right things and do the right things, but as long as this undercurrent of guilt is there, it’s just lip service. It’s not true liberation.
This is what I hate so much about all the love triangle, romance bullshit in The Hunger Games. Forget Gale vs. Peeta, because Katniss falls victim to this with both of them. There are whole chapters at the beginning of Catching Fire in particular that make me so uncomfortable and disgusted and angry, because it’s just page after page of Katniss feeling guilty and berating herself and making herself feel like shit (and being made to feel like shit) because she pretended to be in love with Peeta so she could keep them both alive, but while she was trying to not fucking die, poor Gale and Peeta got their delicate little feelings hurt.
Like yes, wow, it must have been super painful for Gale to watch Katniss pretend to be in love with Peeta in an effort to not fucking die.
It must have been so hard for Peeta to hear that Katniss wasn’t madly in love with him, but only pretending she was so she could, you know, keep them the fuck alive.
And after she gets home, it must be so hard for them both that she can’t sort out her feelings for them because she’s still trying to not fucking die! So sorry she’s not as interested in figuring out whether or not she’s in love with you as she is in keeping the people she cares about alive.
Gale, Katniss, Peeta, all of you listen to me: on the list of priorities after Katniss enters the Games, Gale’s and Peeta’s hurt feelings should not even make an appearance (which Peeta at least has the sense to finally realize, and I’m not sure Gale ever does).
Like what the actual fuck. It’s a plot point, sure, what Katniss wants versus what the Capitol wants to force on her, but it’s pages and pages and chapters of Katniss agonizing over what the Capitol doing this to her must make Gale feel. Like, I don’t know, man, it’s not really your problem? Especially since there is never any indication that Gale ever agonizes over what the Capitol doing this to her makes Katniss feel. It’s all about him and his feelings.
In the words of a great woman, fuck that. And fuck everyone who had anything to do with it.
ohdappledthings replied to your post “I cannot be the only person in the world who wanted the follow-up to…”
I was waiting for that too!! Then I remembered how the story works out and realised it couldn’t…
Okay, Tumblr won’t let me add your 2nd comment about getting to the Alex part to this, because Tumblr is dumb (& I’m not patient enough right now to figure it out), but I’m glad to know it wasn’t just me!
Also, I discussed it with my sister, who pointed out that unlike in the original text, it doesn’t really make sense for this Emma to turn down this Elton — really, they’re kind of perfect for each other. And while a vicar may not have been socially on par with novel!Emma, that reasoning has very little weight in this situation. (I can certainly see her refusal of Elton/shock that he would think himself suitable for her making sense as their characters (particularly hers) develop, but for different reasons than in the novel.)
And I can see this Elton coming to Emma because he wants her PR savvy in navigating the process of making his sexuality public, and then falling for Alex as he works with them. Which shocks Emma, of course, because it both messes with her plan & is entirely unexpected (& it could also be used to sprinkle the seeds of jealousy that later fully bloom when Harriet confesses her own attraction to Alex).
You don’t even have to gender-swap Augusta to make this work, because Elton could very easily be bisexual. And I think it works well enough with this adaptation that it not only makes a lot of sense to have this happen but could also be done well enough that it doesn’t come across as… a bait-and-switch (for lack of a better term; although even if it is done well, I don’t necessarily trust [any] fandom to see it as a story incorporating a bisexual character rather than a ‘lol j/k NO HOMO’ move (although to be fair, I also don’t necessarily trust this team enough to do it well).)
ANYWAY. I suddenly have all the feelings & apparently felt compelled to share them. Even though know it’s a pipe dream (especially given Bernie’s easy dismissal of this subject in his last Q&A).
I cannot be the only person in the world who wanted the follow-up to [State Senator] James Elton’s ‘what if I’m not looking for a wife?’ to be a revelation (or at least implication) that he wouldn’t mind being set up with a man. Wants, really, because that could still totally happen (I mean, in reality, I’m sure the story is fairly set in a way that would prevent that, but in my imagination: it’s still totally possible that I will be pleasantly surprised!).
i just got a friend request on facebook from my father and it was so shocking and it’s so awful;
on reflection, the question ‘what do you want to do with your life?’ is really incredibly personal, and unless ‘find the patrick stewart to my ian mckellan’ is a response that people will accept unquestioningly from me, then they seriously need to stop asking it.