No pink ribbons for Twisty.
I did not catch on to the sheer brilliance that is I Blame the Patriarchy until my dear friend Janeen Armstrong of destinations journey of a restless mind spent a half hour last year at BlogHer singing the praises of I Blame the Patriarchy's anonymous blogger, "Twisty Faster...a spinster aunt eating dinner in Austin, Texas." I try my utmost best to keep up with the hip and cool and certainly with any righteous institution dedicated to fighting patriarchy, so I hastened to Twisty's famed blog.
Indeed, I Blame the Patriarchy does not disappoint. To describe Twisty's superior wielding and mastery of the language is an impossible task. Nobody I know can do her justice. Far better to provide a sample of the Twisty craft.
Her message of welcome to readers:
Congratulations! Your interest in blaming the patriarchy places you among some of the most elite blamers of our time. The most popular ideology in the world, patriarchy provides blamers, both amateurs and professionals, with a rich and virtually endless supply of hideous source material.
And a treatise on the Twisty mission:
I Blame The Patriarchy exists to exacerbate the radical feminist views of Twisty Faster. These views are centered on the belief that patriarchy is a tyrannical but nearly invisible social order based on an oppressive paradigm of dominance and submission fetishizing class and status. Patriarchy's benefits are accrued according to a rigid hierarchy at the top of which are rich honky males and at the bottom of which are poor women of color. The Twisty Revolution envisions a post-patriarchal order free of theocracy, gender, race, marriage, reproduction, caste, pornography, rape, and government interference in private uteruses, suicides, domestic arrangements, and drug habits.
Yes! Makes you want to stand up and pound the table!
Last September, I Blame the Patriarchy fans were diverted from the usual stimulating fare of Patriarchy Blaming to discover that Twisty was called off to an emergency:
Dammit, wouldn't you knowurgent stupid crap requires that I temporarily abandon my post. I'll try to wedge in the odd post here or there, but I may be away from my desk through the weekend. In the meantime, keep blaming, and feel free to use this space for the blowing off of steam, or the drawing of attention to the vile current event, or the making of the impertinent remark, or what have you.
Upon her return, Twisty made this startling announcement:
Although some would question the sanity of publishing the following personal detail on the World Wide Web, there are several reasons I now confide to thousands of total strangers that yesterday I came down with a nasty case of breast cancerThe urgent stupid crap to which I alluded yesterday is the requisite battery of tests to which one reluctantly submits when one inadvertently discovers boobal lumpage. I've got'em today. I've got'em tomorrow. I've got'em next week.
But don't worry; dudely research suggests there's an 85% survival rate, and dudes are never wrong! I just wanted yall to know that if my posting becomes somewhat erratic and I fail to effervesce with my usual vim, it's nothing personal.
And, no, I'm not gonna put a fucking pink ribbon on my car.
The last sentence is where it all comes home for me.
I had a frightening brush with breast cancer three years ago. My daughter's soccer coach and Girl Scout leader had, at the ridiculously young age of 39, just passed away from metastatic breast cancer. Directly after this good woman's funeral, I underwent a routine mammogram. A mass was detected in my right breast. Multiple radiological images and two unbelievably painful biopsies later, the mass was excised. With that surgery, I can say in all the gratitude my heart can muster, end of story.
When I informed my friends and family about the tests and procedures, a segment of my well wishers offered gifts of stuffed animals and child-like accessories, all pink, and all affixed with a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon. As much as I love those well intentioned gift givers, the perky little bears, make up bags and charm bracelets made me feel like I was 11 years old and very, very helpless.
Such is the infanitilization of women breast cancer patients, an attitude adopted by certain advocacy groups and health care providers. The pink and cuddly motif serves a clear purpose - to swaddle women in fluff thus preventing them from exploding in fury and rage. It is, of course, much easier to deal with a coddled child than an angry grown woman.
Twisty further defied the pink ribbon brigade by committing the ultimate taboo: She showed us what breast cancer looks like:
Please be warned, honest, truthful images of breast cancer are brutal.
Give me these truths any day. Give me this reality. Give me these and all data so I will know what I can expect and how to make my decisions. For I am a woman who has known breast cancer, not a scared child wanting to hide behind a toy.
For these reminders, and all the valuable lessons from I Blame the Patriarchy, I thank you, Twisty.