The Human Zoo - Ms #Feminist

Miss #Feminist woke up angry. This was in part due to the trauma of white supremacist patriarchal injustice, but it was mostly because sleep has been hard to come by since she checked her own privilege and started sleeping on the wooden floor of her bedroom. She looked around the sparsely furnished expanse, at grey walls once adorned with posters of bands, and Kardashians. Sometimes she missed music; but she knew that listening to the music of people from other cultures was appropriation, and that music made by white men was problematic, and that the objectification of white female performers directly contributed to patriarchy, so that left her with few options. Burning those posters and CDs was the right thing to do. Besides, it wasn’t like she had to sit in silence – she had Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble on audiobook, which she felt she was really coming to understand after the 47th listen.

She reached for the glass of water and the two small white pills that she had thoughtfully placed next to her sleeping space the night before. It used to be one pill, but her doctor had increased the dose of her anti-anxiety medication a month earlier, after she scored a humiliating 94% on an English exam and had a panic attack. The Oppressor had found her in the corner of her room, shaking and saying “people who don’t score perfect marks can’t create a perfect world” over and over again. She still had not forgiven him for entering her safe space without knocking; there was just no end to male entitlement. 
Remembering that today was free dress day at the private school she attended, her mood brightened. She skipped across the room to her wardrobe and threw open the doors, eagerly hunting for the pair of white capris that she had bought especially for this occasion. She was due to get her period today, and with any luck she would have an opportunity to raise awareness about menstruation all over the crotch of her pants. If she was doubly lucky it would happen while she was sitting in The Oppressor’s car on the drive to school. She resented having to rely on a man to take her to her school, which was six blocks away from her palatial Mt. Lawley home, but statistics clearly showed that there was a 9/10 chance that she would be assaulted if she walked herself there. 

As she entered the dining room, where her family were already seated for breakfast, a hush fell on the table when they noticed her arrival. 

“Good morning…erm…Ollen,” her mother nervously stammered. Ollen was the gender-neutral first name that she now went by. After what had happened the last time her mother had forgotten, and called her Meg by mistake, the family had learned to be more careful.
“Good morning, family,” Ollen beamed. “What were you all talking about before I entered,” she asked, with a hint of threat in her eye.

“Tony Abbot!” said her mother, The Oppressor, and Oppressor Jr., in unison. 

“Yes, he is a cretinous pig, isn’t he,” said Ollen. “And what are we all eating this morning?” 

“Toast,” said Oppressor Jr. Ollen shot her mother a glare.

“The bread?”

“Gluten free, dear.”

“Good. What of the milk?”

“Organic Soy, dear.”

“Excellent,” said Ollen, and began to take a seat at the table. However, before she had sat down fully, she noticed the mug in the hand of The Oppressor, and a thought troubled her. 

“What of the coffee?”

Her father and mother exchanged a worried look.

“Sorry, dear?” The Oppressor said, his voice trembling.

“I said: What. Of. The. Coffee,” Ollen repeated, emphasizing each word. 

“I’m sorry, dear, but we ran out of the fair-trade stuff, and I thought it would be ok if I just had the Nescafe this one time.”

“I see,” said Ollen. She paused for a moment, looking ponderous. Then with terrifying speed she grabbed the knife that was laying nearby, with avocado flesh smeared across the blade, and stabbed it through the resting hand of The Oppressor, pinning him to the table. She ignored his scream of agony; people who perpetuated injustice had no right to feelings. One day he would thank her for checking his privilege and calling him out so thoroughly. 

“Well, it looks like I don’t have time for breakfast after all,” she said loudly, so as to be heard over the shrieking Oppressor.

 She picked up her bag and sauntered around the table until she was standing behind the Oppressor’s chair. She bent forward, so that the right side of her face was almost touching the left cheek of The Oppressor, who cowered at her approach, and lowered his howling to a whimper. She reached into the pocket of his jacket, which was hanging from the back of his chair, and groped around until she felt the keys to his car. Slipping her finger through the loop of the keyring, she gently lifted them from the pocket, and as her hand brushed near his right leg, she gave him a playful squeeze on his upper thigh. She then brought her mouth close to his ear, so close that her lips dared to kiss the downy little hairs that were now standing to attention on his outer lobe. Removing her hand from his leg, she brought it up to the side of his face, jangled the keys in his ear, and whispered into the other, “I think I’ll drive myself to school from now on, Daddy.”

With that she walked out of the room, leaving the bloody mess behind her. As she entered the garage, pointed the keys at her dad’s BMW, and pressed the button to unlock the doors, she knew that today was going to be an incredibly empowering day.

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