Alias Grace

Imagine, if you will, that you are a woman and your position in life is already compromised. Your body indicated for servitude both for vocation and male sexual desire. Your voice is silent before you speak. If you dare speak you are hysterical, or worse a whore not worth given credence. Your mind is easily susceptible to bad spirits and incomprehensible thoughts simply because you are born of a sex religiously deemed devious.

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That is Grace Marks, a woman determined so by natural devices, at the age of 15 or 16 years old. An Irish immigrant already expected poverty. Already, so early she is to be told by society what her body is good and useful for and that is servitude.

Every order given to her is expected of utmost obedience. Every action by her own is acted as innocence.

If she ever denies any order she is suddenly ‘filthy’, a ‘whore’, or ‘untrustworthy’.

What stood out to me in this miniseries is the ‘doctor of the mind’. A psychiatrist named Simon, given permission to have sessions with Grace in order to stir her memory of the events again. Then again, what memories are there to stir if the events of murder were never seen or properly recollected? Regardless he was curious, always on the edge, sleepless even to know more about Grace and her story. Simon had supposed that Grace was either somewhere along the lines of insanity or a woman who had found a means to break away from the suppression of her body.

She had become clever, he thought even. To express what one may think is rage against what was done to her and any other woman; or to express her anger of suppression. Suppression- that is to clean and to care at so young of an age. Suppression- that also means to give her body to any man’s will with a command for her consent. She had then created an audience with her hysterics. An audience composed of wealthy gossipers and then potential romantic partners, including Simon. He then supposed that that was her intention, even one that cost nearly her life.

It’s definitely a curious subject here. If you were a woman of that time period-and had to witness what that meant exactly, would you become a fiend to speak on it?

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Mud Bound

Movie story lines usually leave the story that I find more interesting. Here in MudBound (2017) the story about the woman leaves me interested for more.

The story begins with a woman describing the mud surrounding the home, really a shack-like place on a farm. The year is near the end of World War II. Men are being sent back home to where they no longer belong; one other sent to their grave. It’s another story about familiarity and the effects of a changing environment. You know where you have gone out to experience that there is more than the world you first knew at any age. So you’ll find any means to escape, or to find someone else to relate. In the end you may or may not find that place where you belong, but in this film the men will do.

The woman.

She is already nearing her middle ages and not yet married. A woman from a family middle class meets a man assumed to be similar in social status. By no means is she a farmer, nor does he mention his background to her. But as women are expected to be told at a later time, whenever it’ll suite him to reveal that there is a farm he wants to plow and a nice farmhouse he wants his family to reside in. ‘You’ll like, you’ll see’. She must hush her initial fuss about this news of moving on from what and where she is familiar.

Through some scheme and false transaction, the dream home for his family is just that-imagined. Instead he moves them to the shack, among the ‘blacks’ but we know in this time another word was stated. At this point, she looks about a house with a leaking roof, mud all around ruining one of her best dress heels. She can only tolerate so much, and so she tells him she can only tolerate so much up to this point.

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Outside of her element she did learn a few things. She knows her way around a shotgun. She’s not too squeamish about the initial acts of providing protein for her children. She even became accustomed to not bathing for most days of the week. However, once the children became sick her ability to care for both her children and home became too overwhelming. In fact, help turned into ‘I can’t do this (alone)’. In the slightest, the black tenant farmer on down the road somewhere must lend his wife for paid assistance.

At first the woman is strong, allowing her new environment to teach her a lesson about survival. However, in an instance does she give away her power ‘to know’ to someone who knows more by traditional upbringing.  I want to know more about her story, as it turns to love instead. I want to know how did she manage to cope once the black tenants packed and moved away.

How did she come to find where she belongs?

Well some people are fortunate to find where they belong, soon as the men do. However, not the woman. In any indication where her story ends her life is that of a farmer’s (sharecropper) wife, still outside of her element. Inside her home is a piano and books, fine China and whatever else the white tenants down the road somewhere are not familiar. In any other case she proves to be unfaithful, once again to marry the first man that saw her. But now no longer sheltered she knows her desires, still she assumes a voice whenever in objection to her husband. Where does she go or does she simply comply in slight misery til death?

In those times, back then I’ll assume she remains in slight misery.

Woes of Womanhood

Woes of Womanhood
In the news today was yesterday news, about another country. Today BBC re-reported about at 10-year-old girl raped and now pregnant. The parents unknowing of the cause, and unknowing of their child’s term. They instead pacified her dark reality that her belly is growing due to a stone.
I sit here to read through the comments of concerned people, male and female, around the world. Those in defense of their country and others condemning the savagery of an act- not tolerated within more developed nations. Though this fact does gloss over that rape and forced pregnancy are a common occurrence around the world. Yes, rape and forced pregnancies are more likely to occur in some places more than others, but the point remains that it is occurs. And for it to happen to someone so young and innocent, though it is a matter of concern regardless of age and sex as well, is truly devastating.
The woes of being a woman.
She is told to be the backbone of the family dynamic. She is the house wife, the care giver, the cook and the mother treated as the same-a domestic animal; if not respected in some countries, and different cultural places. In some countries and places, around the world, this demand to become a domestic animal is introduced so young. At the age of 12 years-old she is a ‘woman’ without reaching womanhood. She is expected to be a mother though she is just a child herself. At the age of 9 years old she is told that her place is not outside, unless her culture demands all hands in the fields. Her place is in the kitchen or at the dinner table, mat or floor, her place is here. Her purpose is to serve and to be selfless while doing so. She is then taught to be the voiceless, compliant, master of her husband’s home.
Regarding sex she is not given any power or consideration that she too may enjoy pleasure, not pain. In some counties and places the power of sex is given to a male, who is taught to allow his desires to roam and to partake in several trials. She, then, is only allowed to be nonresistant. This too is true in more developed nations. Where the fault of her not consenting is within question of what she had worn that night or how much she had had to drink. In other cultures it is how tempting she may have been, so passively, to reveal her wrist. By this way women are taught that sex is power and that is what is given to the other sex. Then must we forget that women may enjoy sex too! She may be labeled a slut, a hoe in the process of her demanding attention as men demand attention. Or she simply enjoys the act of pleasure with her mate, preferably one that is respectful of her consent. In all what is forgotten through critic and debate, is that women enjoy pleasure.
These are a couple of vague explanations of some negative occurrences in life that impact a woman. No, as it impacts one it also impacts all. Whether we are to experience the negatives or not as individuals, we too understand the demands and dangers of it all becoming a possibility. And for others it is a significant chance of reality as they skirt through life in their environment always cautious of their surroundings.
And what is difficult to fathom here is how a child must forget being a child to experience these woes of womanhood. At 10 years old to experience a traumatic event, then to bring new life into this cycle of hurt. No, a ‘stone’ sits within her belly. What a curious way to explain the rape-as it cannot be described any other way-into her body, her mind as she carries this ‘stone’. For how long or how much longer she may think. How will this ‘stone’ may be removed? A natural cause, one by surgery or medicine? One could only imagine the difficult situation of either depending on the health resources available to her.
I can only imagine how she must feel, as her awareness of the world outside of child’s play is now stark. I’m not imaging her as herself, since a picture will never be provided. Instead I’m imaging her in different faces and facial features. Where her skin is brown, dark or white. Whether she has shoes on her feet or scrapes of cloth wrapped around, or even a sandal. The country where the rape occurred and where this child may live is not the concern so much, though only for her access to health resources. The skin color, genetic makeup of the predator, the rapist is not a concern here. The concern lies with innocence. The concern lies with a direct violation of a body. As it is something all too common in all places.