Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Book cover

Situated at the intersection of prose and poetry, Hume’s essay collection explores patriarchy’s ongoing war against girls and women. The author divides the book into two sections, the first of which deals with female physical and sexual vulnerability. In the opening essay, Hume muses on what it has meant to live in the city of, Ypsilanti, Michigan, where the weekend she moved in, “a stranger raped our neighbor in her home” and where “one in twenty-six men… are registered sex offenders.” Within a mile radius of her house, she notes, there are nearly 100 offenders. Her “horror” stems not just from the relative normalization of sexual violence, but also the way race perverts the situation even more, transforming her Whiteness into what she knows will “save” her in ways unavailable to women of color. At the same time, Hume also understands the predicament of registered sex offenders who, “treated as enemies rather than criminals,” lose the possibility of ever finding a way to be treated like community members. In the second section, the author meditates on how the male gaze has reduced the female body to a fetishized—and ultimately disposable—spectacle of body parts. Living under patriarchy transforms women into dolls like the Frozen Charlotte figurines she discusses in “Icy Girls, Frigid Bitches, Frozen Dolls.” Hemmed in by social expectations, they instead find themselves “perfected” in the many “deaths”—for example, of subjectivity, self-confidence, and self-worth—they are forced to endure from girlhood on. Provocative and intelligent, this book, which concludes with impressionistic, mordantly ironic prose-poems that capture the experiences of individual women who have lived through abortion and sexual assault, gives voice to the many ways females (and other marginalized people) are stripped of their power by (White) male misogyny.

By cb2gp