Police your body

10 Mar

WOMAN, the year is 1984 and you are the dictator of your body. Keep it under tight surveillance, bending it to the will of culture. You mustn’t forget that society owns your body, but you are responsible for its upkeep.

Why do you sit like that, with your wicked unwieldy flesh spread out all over that chair? Don’t take up so much space: it’s unladylike. Fold your arms in. Cross your legs. Bow your head. That’s better.

Were you born in the West? Capitalism will help you to police your body. Buy make up to veil your face. Pay a diet club to weigh you in each week like cattle at the market. An obliging surgeon will mutilate you into shape for the right price. Contract another woman, preferably a migrant, to rip out your body hair and colour your nails. Buy clothes, lots of clothes. Far away, other women are destroying their bodies with 18/7 shifts to make them for you.

Your body is here for men’s enjoyment. However, don’t forget that there is a fine line between looking enticing and asking to be raped. Impose limits on your body to avoid the latter: curfews, avoidance of intoxication, flirting, wearing short skirts. Keep your demeanour well-policed. If anything happens to you it is your own fault and you will bear the consequences. 

The government owns your womb. Check with the state before using contraception, aborting or attempting reproduction. If you are poor in a Western country, you have no right to children. If you live in a colonised country, your role is a baby-assembly line. The nation needs your offspring to increase the size of its army.

Are you fat or aged? Retire from public life immediately for you are no longer useful. Are you young? Speak only when spoken to and, pray, do not be shrill.

Never forget it: you are the Chief Overseer, not the owner, of your body. 

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