I have a cupboard of clothes, but all I wear is this boring lycra! I need to feel like a girl for a bit! Look at my pimped out version of lycra. More photoshoot time!
Becoming a leak
My disgusting body, at a critical point in the day, failed me, by leaking. During a student conference and get to know tête-à-tête, the humoral ‘shame’ seeped red roses onto my crotch. When wearing as little as I do – pink lycra – uncontrollable liquids is a scandal that threatens my self-control over my stable bounded body. As a woman, I am already cursed with the weaker biological vessel and have to fight twice as hard to prove my virtue. I must instil order in the world! I am no second class citizen – I’m equal to any man.
During the 17th century in England, men menstruated—or, at least, they thought they did…“Male menstruation” took multiple forms, whether blood spewed monthly from the tip of the finger or from the “genital parts,” as one man reported in 1706…Menstruation seems to have been understood by both medical experts and the public as an un-sexed and un-gendered event…Aristocratic men even saw periodic bleeding as a religious experience, a way of being closer to the image of the suffering Christ…Menstrual cycles, then, were seen as purifying for both sexes.
But the 18th century ushered in mechanical language that described the body as a machine with inputs and outputs and erased the more fluid humoral model of gender by drawing categorical distinctions between men and women and escalating the adoption of the two-sex model. Men were better poised to tame their bodies.
It also funnelled powered power to authorities and imbued them with the … to tighten the rule on our lives.
“On the one hand, conceptions of the stable body have served medical and legal ideas of identity well; the named and trackable self anchors birth certificates, passports, and other documents and acts as the primary marker of self and selfhood. On the other hand, our leaks can be manipulated by courts, labs, and other institutions that might want to control us. Because the legal protocols around ownership of biological data are often unclear, the biological information that leaks out of our supposedly bounded bodies is not necessarily ours to keep”.
“This leaked information helps institutions make claims about us. Parents who adopt, find surrogates or receive mitochondrial or sperm donations find themselves in a precarious legal relationship to their children; without a genetic link, the legal system can bind or unbind them according to outdated and unrepresentative conceptions of kinship”.
There is also violence against the ones unable to control their leaks, basically, anyone who is not a cis-gendered white male.
“Medical and legal systems exploit their bodily tissues and liquids to make claims on their autonomy: People of colour are wrongfully accused of a crime through dodgy biological evidence, indigenous people are required to prove their heritage through blood samples, and trans people are unable to find legal representation with a new name and sex identity, to name a few examples. The hurdles set in place to demonstrate innocence, prove identity, and authenticate sex can be degrading and violent”.
I rush to the bathroom in an attempt to curb the delinquent acts perpetrated by my insolent body. I’m soo embarrassed! The speckled roses on my crotch have grown into a crimson river.As I pull my pants down, I’m embarrassed by my earlier embarrassment. This red liquid is actually a blessing. It signifies that I am healthy and still fertile. Womanhood exudes from my pores – in the biologically sense I am still veritable specimens – ripe for bearing offspring. Putting my disgust for cultural norms aside, my messiness signals life! And now this pink suit I’m wearing is seeped in my DNA.
I blush as I consider this implication. I have formed a close relationship with my lycra suit, we are bounded by blood. I consider that no amount of washing will ever 100% erase the traces of my essence now imprinted on the lycra. Yet, when this challenge is over, will I cherish this suit or discard it in disgust?
- Pask, Emma. Becoming a Leak. 2017. https://thenewinquiry.com/becoming-a-leak/