“Badger, what’s so bad about being a feminist?”
Come with me, to a walk in the world you thought to be true.
There was a woman who grew up in a town – a town filled with women and surrounded by woods filled with wolves.The woods would provide children.It was said if a woman wanted a babe she would go to the woods and pray to the wolves to send her a child. Sometimes the woman would return with a baby girl, sometimes she would return with a baby wolf.
If she were to return with a wolf, it was said as the wolf grew it would soon leave the town of women and go to live with the wolves. The women said it was because the wolf tainted her and she could no longer be a proper woman and adhere to the laws of the town. The woman had the option to return the wolf when it was grown and stay in the town with the proper women or to leave with the wolf child and never return.
There was one woman who tried to stay with her baby wolf. The proper women told her that it needed to be cut, left alone to cry and held sparingly. This is how wolves are and how wolves must be raised, for their only purpose is to provide the children needed and otherwise wolves must be avoided.
The one woman was devastated to hear the proper women speak this way about her baby. It may be a wolf, but it was still her child. She refused to cut her baby wolf and never left him to suffer. She held him as much as he desired and sang to him when no one was around to hear.
One day the woman went mad. She came running out of the house with her baby wolf and was telling everyone that it was human. It was a human baby. The proper women tried to grab the woman and restrain her and grab her baby wolf, but she ran deep into the woods with the baby wolf and was never seen again. From that point, only women who returned from the woods with a baby girl in their arms were allowed to return. The mothers of wolves were no longer welcome in the town.
One woman found this very harsh. She was the daughter of one of the most proper elders of the town. She obeyed all that she was told to obey and to all she seemed to became a proper woman herself. But in the quiet of her thoughts she wondered about the wolves and why they never came to town and stayed in the forest.
The forest is in season, deep greens align with dark wood drenched with rainwater. The air is thick and perfectly warm, the distant song of birds answers a soft buzz of insects. The woman feels alive and at ease. She wishes to run and leap and gather the berries and play in the grass and let down her proper woman hair.
But there are wolves in the woods, and all the women have been very clear to tell her ‘Do not have fun, do not enjoy the woods, it is dangerous there. There are wolves everywhere. They can smell your joy and they will surely eat you.’ She was to go gather food and then return for the festival, where they would dance in silence, for laughter was forbidden. But the girl enjoyed laughing and laughed in her room when the proper women were not around. She laughed now thinking about how silly the silent dance was.
A twig snapped behind her and the woman froze, her breath caught in her throat. She had laughed, and that was forbidden, especially in the woods. Surely behind her was a wolf.
She dared not move, nor did she need to. The wolf circled to face her. The wolf sat and cocked its head to the side. The woman was unnerved. What is this? The wolf does not attack me? It does not growl?
The wolf sneezes. This catches the girl off guard and she then laughs. As she laughs the wolves stands on its hind legs. Its body morphs into a human shape she had not seen before. He is dressed in all black and his arms cross his chest, his head cocked to the side.
‘What are you?’, the woman asks in awe.
The man before her laughs, ‘I’m a human, what do you think I am?’
‘No, you can’t be, you were just a wolf.’
He squints his eyes at her, ‘Are you well?’
‘But I saw you, I saw you, you were a wolf!’
He smiles gently, ‘No, you did not see me at all. Or you would have always seen me as the man who I am.’
Her head is dizzy, how can this be? Was she losing her mind?
He holds out his hand to her, ‘You are not the first to be blind and see only ‘wolves’. Come, it seems you’re finally ready to open your eyes. Let me show you what is truly real and you will see what you have never seen before.’
He held out his hand and she gingerly takes it. He guides her deep into the wilderness and into a clearing. There is a village of men, women and children – laughing and working. She takes it all in – warm fireplaces, music, dancing. The most amazing smells coming from everywhere. The scene, the delicious smells, are almost overwhelming.
He lets go of her hand and faces her with a wide grin, ‘Enjoy.’
With that he walks through a group of people and disappears. The fresh aliveness of everyone around her brings her a deep joy and tears all at once.
She gets a sudden pang of panic. She has left the proper women behind in total bland darkness. She races back through the woods laughing as she does, her hair wild about her, and she breaks through the opening to the proper women with her smile as wide as life. Her eyes bright, she runs to her mother who is in the square dancing without a beat with the rest of the proper women. The festivities have started without her. But they are somber like nothing she’s ever seen.
As she grabs her mother’s hand and gestures towards the woods, the already muted women become still and even more quiet . Only the woman who experienced the woods and the fire is alive and bursting with sound.
The proper women look at her gravely. Once the woman is done talking her mother releases her hand from her grip. She backs away from the awakened woman with rage in her eyes.
‘You felt joy, didn’t you? That is strictly forbidden. You have been consumed by the wolves.’
The woman who was awake kept talking of the community deep within the woods, with humans that were called men and children called boys and how alive and happy everyone was being with each other and there were really no wolves, how that was just a lie.
She told them she was returning to that haven and those who wished to come with her would live a vibrant and awake life. A few women hesitated but then joined her side. The proper women stood and stared at the women. Suddenly the proper women began to scream and run, ‘Wolves, Wolves! Our daughters are gone, the wolves are here! Chase them out, out! You don’t belong here!’
The proper women grabbed sticks from the fire and chased the now awakened women into the woods, but the proper women would not enter the woods themselves. The awakened women stopped running and turned to face the proper women. And then, they began to laugh. Laugh so hard and so deeply they fell onto the earth kicking their feet in the air. A deep and joyous laugh that sent the ‘proper’ women running and screaming back to their bland little huts.
And the women followed the sound of the new human community and left their lives of fear and silence behind.
So, what’s wrong with being a feminist? Oh, nothing. Just the complete inability to recognize boys and men as human beings as well as be a part of a healthy human community in harmony with them.
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