On reading books and discovering powerful women

Why did you teach me such a specific form of womanhood? One that rewarded me for my passivity and obedience? Why was I granted respect for letting people walk all over me? Why did you not teach me about powerful women?

I mean, when I was 15, what if I had been handed Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, or Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own? The stories of women’s lives in these books could have provided an…


There was a meeting of the school board tonight that I was suddenly unable to attend, where I was going to read this statement; from what I can follow on Twitter it turned into a huge clusterfuck and so I’m sharing my statement here.

History is not just a series of winners and losers; it is also about power. It is about who holds the power to oppress and violate.

Confederate imagery is rooted in the explicit desire and ability of white people to subjugate, torture, murder, rape, and enchain black people. …


Women are catching a disease that makes them invisible. They don’t die………they just fade away to translucency. This is the plot of one of the short stories in the collection, Her Body and Other Parties, by Carmen Maria Machado. This transformation happens slowly to the women, and they live with the awareness of their vulnerability in catching the disease. Once they have it, they are aware of how their bodies are changing, and they live in dread of the day when no one can see them anymore.

Real Women Have Bodies is a powerful story, because at its core, we…


Of course, women so empowered are dangerous. — Audre Lorde

When I turned 13, my mother took me aside and told me that just because society expects teenagers to rebel doesn’t mean that I will be allowed to. She said that the same kind of obedience as always was still expected of me, which of course, meant first-time obedience and no room for disagreement, because what the parents said was law (and when my daughter turned 13, my mother tried to give her that same exact speech!). …


but the woman is the glory

What would you die for? They told me this, the christians. They said to picture it, prepare for it, because this is the test of your devotion. The strength of your faith rests on if you are willing to be a martyr. When the time comes, will you be willing to speak up, to say yes, I believe. Even if someone is holding a gun to your head, a knife to your throat, a bomb in his hand, will you say yes I believe, will you be willing to sacrifice your life for this god who will be ashamed of…


Make a merry gathering/On the bank/Where thousands perished/For brave hurt words/They said.

Be nobody’s darling;/Be an outcast./Qualified to live/Among your dead.

— Alice Walker

The girl is in the box. Look down at it through the clear lid. You can see her there, inside it, sitting on a velvet seat, as if she were a jewelry box marionette. Lift the lid and listen to the music. See how she stands and twirls in the only way she is allowed to do. Look at how well she knows her place. This girl knows her role. …


An Experience in 5 Parts

“Last night at the torch walk, there were hundreds and hundreds of us. People realized they are not itemized individuals, they are part of a larger whole…and now as you can see today, we greatly outnumbered the anti-white, anti-American filth. And at some point we will have enough power that we will clear them from the streets forever.” — Robert ‘Azzmador’ Ray, Neo-Nazi

Photo Credit: Jordy Yager

1. Whiteness.

I saw so much white supremacy in action this weekend, and I’m not just talking about David Duke and Richard Spencer. The white supremacy I saw was in the absence of so many white protestors.

White people love to be safe. We love safety so much that we created an entire country around it. For the vast majority of America’s history, the laws and movements of people were designed to privilege white people’s safety and success. Whiteness instinctively preserves its own safety. It doesn’t want to go where things might be dangerous. But it is a privilege of whiteness to…


We romanticize suffering because we know the weight of looking at it honestly will crush us. It’s why we have best-selling books about the London Blitz whilst barely taking in the sight of the dusty 3-year-old Syrian toddler covered in blood and dust. Eyes close to reality, lids pulled down by the gravity of the pain.

Is art a form of resistance to suffering, and if so, what an epic failure that is. What has art ever done to stop the onslaught of pain? When you are staring at the train bearing down on you, what does it matter if…


“Without light I am not only invisible, but formless as well; and to be unaware of one’s form is to live a death.” — Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

What does it mean to be formless? To exist in the world without a shape? Were they born this way or did history twist in on itself, changing them as it went? The earth was formless and void in the beginning, so the story goes. Were people the same? Can their forms be made, and if they can be made, can they be removed? …


They want us to be quiet. Peaceful. Gentle. They want us to be Ruth in all things. Where you go, I will go, and your god will be my god, whether it is anti-Semitism, anti-blackness, anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, anti-Asian, anti-lgbtq, or anti-healthcare.

Where you go, I will go and your god will be my god, the conservative Christians say to the Republican party. They do this peacefully, quietly, especially the women, as if the lack of anger is proof of moral character.

They hold most of their beliefs loosely, convinced that they are merely opinions, and therefore inconsequential.

But they aren’t…

Caris Adel

american & religious studies. liberal episcopalian. studies whiteness in evangelical pop culture. older than I look. infj. 5w4. UVA BA ‘20/MA ‘22

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