feminism and borderline personality disorder

This is another quote from I’m not even going to say his name, because I say it so often lately, but I read this today and it completely floored me. Especially the part about borderline personality disorder – I was diagnosed with it this year and am always struggling to explain it to myself or anyone else – but what he says about it is so unfailingly true that when you look at it, just like that, in its unaltered proportions, it’s hard to look away. In the same way that a train wreck or a natural disaster or a suicide or a drug overdose is hard to look away from. It’s beautiful and it’s ugly.

“When you open up your mouth to speak / Could you be a little weak?”

Like it’s a fucking favor you’re doing the world. “Be strong, yet not assertive.” The reasons for this are obvious… Most societal constructs are built to control women’s sexuality because women’s sexuality is what makes for people. You can’t have sons without that. But by the same token, other men can’t either, so you have to lock it down. Marriage, dowries, body shaming, slut shaming, the nonsensical abortion debate: All of this exists, passed down from generation to generation, ultimately to keep women from having babies willy-nilly, without men’s say-so.

Alongside cultural development there’s always going to be some junk DNA: Some stuff we keep doing because our parents and our peers showed us, a million times a day in very small incremental ways, that this is how it’s done. But a lot of that stuff is pointless, vestigial, or just a mutation that got in there for no reason in the first place. I remember a story in Reader’s Digest or something when I was a kid, about this couple where the husband would always cut the ends off the ham, and the wife was like, “That’s wasteful, why do you do this.” Eventually she went to his mom, and the mom was like, “I guess I do it because my mom did it.” And they follow it up the line to the person who started it and she’s like, “Uh, because my pan was too small.”

Follow it another way, and you could start thinking that your revulsion at homosexuality, or strongly held and never voiced belief that women tend to talk too much, is perfectly natural. That it’s the natural state of things. Which is bullshit, but it’s all around you. And so you have this perfectly balanced apple cart of things, where men are men and gays and women are men-but-less, and the only way to keep that going is to request, politely, that gay men and all women shut the polite fuck up. Infantilize, feminize, anything to negate their power, not because “power” is important — not because men are evil, or women are victims — but simply because it fucks everything else up. Gums up the works.

But anybody on the bottom can figure out ways to be on top. There are male cases of borderline personality disorder, and disordered eating, but the vast majority are women: Why do you think that is? Nobody’s born manipulative, and nobody’s born hurting themselves. It comes from somewhere. It comes from your inner person being confused, and your shadow outraged, by the person you’ve agreed to be. And for those that don’t agree, we’ve already got a plan in place.

“When you’re trying hard to be your best / Could you be a little less?”

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2 Responses to feminism and borderline personality disorder

  1. Ms. Ex says:

    I needed to see this. Such an overlap between the causes of BPD and our bizarre, cultural idealization of girls (it starts so young) as ornamental sex objects. It’s hard to dig out from under all that. I often find myself excusing my mouthiness when I’m hitting my stride, feeling confident and strong. Like it’s shameful.

    It’s not.

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