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Erasure of Women's Lives, Exile, Feminist Politics, Gender, Identity Politics, Internalized Misogyny, It's all connected, Loss, Outposts in Our Heads, Trashing

Between Girls

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“Grace and Carol look at each other’s scrapbook pages and say, “Oh, yours is so good.  Mine’s no good.  Mine’s awful.”  They say this  every time we play the scrapbook game.  Their voices are wheedling and false; I can tell they don’t mean it, each one thinks her own lady on her own page is good.  But it’s the thing you have to say, so I begin to say it too.

“I find this game tiring– it’s the weight, the accumulation of all these objects, these possessions that would have to be taken care of, packed, stuffed into cars, unpacked.  I know a lot about moving house.  But Carol and Grace have never moved anywhere.  Their ladies live in a single house each and have always lived there.  They can add more and more, stuff the pages of their scrapbooks with dining room suites, beds, stacks of towels, one set of dishes after another, and think nothing of it.

“I begin to want things I’ve never wanted before:  braids, a dressing gown, a purse of my own.  Something is unfolding, being revealed to me.  I see that there’s a whole world of girls and their doings that has been unknown to me, and that I can be part of it without making any effort at all.  I don’t have to keep up with anyone, run as fast, aim as well, make loud explosive noises, decode messages, die on cue.  I don’t have to think about whether I’ve done these things well, as well as a boy.  All I have to do is sit on the floor and cut frying pans out of the Eaton’s Catalogue with embroidery scissors, and say I’ve done it badly.  Partly this is a relief.”  — Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

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