'Mandated Femininity', on the kinds of women, and kinds of femininity allowed (and the kinds that very much aren’t allowed) in many feminists discussions and spaces. Totally worth reading (even the comments!), especially if, like me, you’re a cis male swimming in privilege.
“Language is not a neutral medium that passes freely and easily into the private property of the speaker’s intentions; it is populated –overpopulated– with the intentions of others. Expropriating I, forcing it to submit to one’s own intentions and accents, is a difficult and complicated process… As a living, socio-ideological concrete thing, as heteroglot opinion, language, for the individual consciousness, lies on the borderline between oneself and the other… The word in language is half someone else’s. It becomes one’s “own” only when the speaker populates it with his own intentions, his own accent, when he appropriates the word, adapting it to his own semantic and expressive intention. Prior to this moment of appropriation, the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language… but rather it exists in other people’s mouths, in other people’s contexts, serving other people’s intentions; it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one’s own.”—
“A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”—from Hawking’s Brief History of Time. Seems like this anecdote may be rather famous, but it has passed me by until today. ‘It’s turtles all the way down’. What an utterly lovely phrase.