Brave New World
When Miranda utters these words in The Tempest, it’s clear they are the words of a naif. She’s young and sheltered and--frankly--lusty. Her “brave” means handsome; Miranda is all about the surface.
Most who invoke these words miss Shakespeare’s irony or haven’t read Aldous Huxley’s novel by the same name—What they summon, instead, is excitement about a changing landscape.
For our new Emperor without Clothes, the phrase is clearly spin. He’s the confidence man selling American his (empty) version of the story, whether he’s talking about how God himself kept the rain from his inauguration speech or tweeting his apples to oranges comparison of TV viewership of his big event.
|Pussy Hat, Caper WY|
Yesterday, women across the world took back the phrase from the smoke and mirrors reality TV star who wants us all to be Mirandas. In our usage, brave means strong, and the new world is what is possible when we unite. Over a million worldwide marched in response to what has clearly been a hostile takeover linked unmistakably to the message that women’s lives don’t matter.
I know I am supposed to be writing about food and love and landscape, but the world seeps in—even here in my remote studio in Wyoming—where I’ve encamped to finish my book.
I come from a family of invisible women. My mother was so ghost-like I don’t have one memory of her from my childhood. She lived, for the most part, beneath the twin thumbs of alcoholism and abuse. Another woman, a great aunt whose name I know was Nina, lived and worked as a servant in nearby home at 19, but by 21 was listed as an "inmate" in the North Dakota Hospital for the Insane. The silence around who she was and what happened to her is deafening.
As of January 21, 2017, when women and, men and children joined the Women’s March in big cities and small towns—even on a boat in Antarctica--“brave” means holding ground. We will not go back.
|Women's March in Casper, WY|
Today is the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, an anniversary I mark by noting the following two items: 1) Already an avalanche of state-based legislation has been introduced to severely limit, if not deny, a woman’s right to make her own hard choices regarding her body. 2) Nina was likely institutionalize because she was raped, became sexuality promiscuous or pregnant out of wedlock, or spoke out about sexual misconduct by her employer. She spent the rest of her life institutionalized and died at the age of 87, abandoned by her family.
If you think the move to restrict abortion (and access to birth control) is about anything besides a concerted effort to control women, you are mistaken.
In this Brave New World, women will rise. We are the resistance.