The Sunday Post for February 17, 2019

Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.

Make Me a Cold and Pitiless Goddess

If you haven’t read Sharma Shields' absolutely delightful The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac, make it the next thing you read after the short essay linked here. Mesmerized by d’Aulaires' Greek myths as a child (my own copy was so well-read it crumbled), a grown-up Shields reads them to her children — and considers the fierce Artemisian steel that shapes her perspective on her own rape, and that of others, today.

What will it take for us to toss the water onto the rapists’ heads, to watch assured as they flee, the blood-mouthed hounds — guilt, say, or responsibility — snapping behind them? It is not the violence of such a scene that attracts me, but the righteousness. Artemis was a cold and pitiless goddess. She knew — or learned — where to place the blame.
White Witchery

Another exceptional piece by a Washington writer (though residing in Ohio now): Elissa Washuta. This is an essay about witchcraft, about appropriation, about rape, about despair. But I most love what it has to say about claiming the right to define where power lies. Washuta walks through the world — a white world, a male world — like a woman walking through a hostile wood. In this essay, her fiery, defiant voice burns out a space where she is, finally, untouchable.

When I choose, anoint, and burn a candle with my prayers scratched into the wax, when I make my prayers material, I convince myself that I can grab onto a power that will carry me through this life. I know how to show the spirits that I am here through the light of my fire, because we have always used fire to smoke fish, conduct ceremony, burn cedar boughs, turn prairie brush to ash so the camas or huckleberries can grow stronger.

I choose witchcraft; I choose to cast spells.

Because I have given up my ability to touch a Western red cedar on a daily basis. Because I have seen my binding work on a dangerous man. Because I am alone and low on hope sometimes.

Shelf policing: how books (and cacti) make women too 'spiky' for men

Marie Le Conte is shooting fish in a barrel here, but sometimes, don’t you just want to take the easy shot? She takes many, and they land, hard, in her takedown of some ridiculous man-catching advice that outlines where, and what kind, of books are appropriate to a woman seeking to catch the right kind of man.

As a beloved and badass scientist friend of mine said, “this makes me want to wear a suit of cacti to repel men everywhere in my life.” If only it were that easy!

Perhaps we should try to go further. If you are a single woman and would like a man to come to your flat and not run away weeping and screaming, why not let your book collection do the talking for you? Buy 35 copies of Chris Kraus’s I Love Dick and leave them lying around every corner of your house, in places where he will least expect it, so he is constantly reminded of the fact that you’re up for it. It doesn’t matter that the book is about a bit more than that; as we’ve established, men only ever look at the covers.