05 March 2008

"what is it i send to auction?"

more thoughts, now that i've been away from the poem (below) for a little bit:

the phrase "bad girl" comes up more than once in the poem, and it's because the horse is the speaker's "bad girl" that she's sent away. and because the speaker is hesitating over sending her away, and because i'm always suspicious of the words "bad girl" (because of the several stereotypes that they conjure, and because they're oft applied to "keep her in line"), i started thinking: the horse is a bad girl because... she's untamed? because she refuses to be tamed? refuses to be tethered, tied down, reined in? because she refuses to give up the wildness -- the "temper," the anger, the -- let's be frank, those last few lines ask us to be -- sexuality? while the speaker does not explain what made her a "bad girl," it does seem quite possible that the wildness, the anger, the sexuality that she sees in the horse is what she also saw in herself, and perhaps her mother saw in her. after all, the speaker compares herself to -- and conflates herself with, in some lines -- the horse, after being beaten: they were both indomitable, undefeated, resilient, or at least defiant.

and so i'm thinking, again, of resistance, but this time, i'm thinking more of resistance against the general and oft-used definitions of "good girl" -- not angry, not loud, not boisterous, not opinionated. and i'm thinking especially of feminist theology and feminist thinking in general, which works to explain that our anger can be our push to work for change -- much of our best work is done when we're livid about the state of things. of course, you can't stay angry all the time.

but some of the time: it ain't all bad. and some of the time, it shouldn't be auctioned off.

and enough from me on this one. i'm fairly certain it's best just to read the poem. :)


Charmi said...

Great posts, Sally, both of them.

sallylynn said...

thanks, charmi -- it's our good, good class that's bringing them up and out of me!

Charmi said...

There is a very good synthesis going on, good material, good teacher, good students. It's amazing when it all comes together!

George said...

Instead of celebrating the idea of the "bad girl" as a good thing, perhaps it's time to change the meaning of "good girl". Certainly confidence, strength, and passion are good qualities, right?

I've known a few women who take ownership over "bad girl" by engaging in behaviors that are, in fact, bad. It's taken too far by putting their confidence, strength, and passion above others. It's turned into selfishness, callousness, and other words I could find if I had more coffee. :)