by Jessica Salamone
Good Evening, Mother Steinem.
In the name of maternity leave, the destruction of the wage gap, and the Matriarchy. This is my first confession.
I take pride in being a feminist. It’s the minimalistic pin I wear on my jacket lapel, the start of my Twitter bio, and my main talking point at networking events... but I have tarnished my credibility in the Feminist arena and for that, I stand before you today in this Marshalls restroom to repent for my sins, both mortal and venial. Mostly mortal. Mortal sins are the really bad ones right?
Ma’am, you there? - Oh dangit, is it anti-feminist to call you Ma’am? Oh right, you can’t talk back… this is so new to me. I read about this portal to your confession booth on Reddit. I’m subscribed to a lot of pro-women subreddits and everyone on there seems to be benefitting from it. CantSitWithUs04 said she felt lighter after her TJMaxx confessional. I guess she doesn’t have a Marshalls in her hometown.
I decided to come in and talk to you after my friend Lily’s boyfriend shamed me at our New Year’s Day brunch - which boys aren’t even supposed to be at but Lily’s obsessed with having a new boo. Damnit, here I go already sinning IN CONFESSION. I don’t mean to imply that she’s not an independent woman. Okay I’m getting off track - back to brunch. We had been talking about our resolutions and one of mine is to “become a feminist icon” in 2018 (at least on Instagram) and but Lily’s boyfriend, Jeff, called me out because I called the server (she’s a woman but I know that calling her a waitress is pandering to the societal labels that our taught language can’t seem to break) “skinny”. He went on and on about how he read two think-pieces that advised “feminist men” never to call a woman skinny, or proportional or stick-like or wiry or thick or curvy or meaty or hot. Then, he had the nerve to claim he was more of a feminist than me. Jeff? More of a feminist than me? Jeff doesn’t ever let Lily pay the bill and his background is a picture of Megan Fox in a bikini. Not that that’s a bad thing, women’s bodies are beautiful and it’s a great picture, but like… come on. He’s not more feminist than me. And I didn’t even mean it in a bad way! I’d just started working on my summer and I was just impressed that around all that food she could maintain such a tight figure. (They have lobster mac and cheese on the menu. This server is a hero.)
I’ll start with my worst confession. It’s really bad. You’re obligated by law to keep things between us because this is a holy act… right? Okay well, recently I threw a gathering with some friends, mostly females and non-binary folks, and we… well we… I don’t know if I can say this in confession but… well… we - we age shamed a Real Housewife. We sat around and drank Rosé and talked about politics and our favorite female DJs and we cougar shamed the shit out of Marisol. We tore into her like a pack of rabid raccoons on leftover Shake Shack cheese fries in Central Park. I feel uncomfortable getting into detail but let’s just say we did not go high. We did not go high at all. We went low. So low.
Okay, like, at one point Megan called Marisol a “Cougacorn” which I guess means a divorced woman who dates younger “cubs”.. and, instead of saying, “hey don’t use that word about a successful, free willed woman”, I laughed… and then tweeted it. I didn’t even give Megan credit. That must be another sin.
On my way here I sinned again, adding another to my already long list of betrayals. A man, early thirties wearing a blue tie, saw me get on the train, stood up, signaled to the seat he had left and said - I’m sorry this is so hard for me to admit - and said, “for you, pretty lady”. And without even a cringe or an eye roll, I sat down. I sat right down in that seat. I went against my beliefs. I went against the beliefs of my feminist sisters. Oh Gloria, please have mercy.
Oh my Gloria - a repressed memory just came back to me - as a teen, I tore the other girls down too. Before graduation, I told Stacy Matten that she should just get married to her boyfriend Jimmy because “he’d provide for her”, even though she really wanted to become a lawyer and she got into a good school. I think I did this because my dad used to turn on Fox News during dinner and Bill O’Reilly once said that the female mayors should “be baking pies, not running a major city.” I saw Stacy at the Women’s March last January and she smiled and waved so I think that sin is absolved? Right?
I am begging for the forgiveness of you, fair lady Steinem. Can I call you a lady? I’m sorry for that too. You’re more than your gender. Please add this to my confession. Are you making a list? Of course you’re making a list, this is your job, you’re good at your job. I shouldn’t have to keep reminding myself that women ARE proficient at their jobs. We already talked about this and I’m still fucking up. I wouldn’t ask a man if he was making a list. Oh, this is so tough. I’m digging myself deeper and deeper here, I’m sorry.
How much time do we have left? Is this like therapy? I must be running out of time. What a sinner I’ve been. Okay yeah, that’s all of it I think. Amen. Wait, no. A-women.
Jess is an aspiring screen and satire writer. To pay the bills Jess works in New York City as a reality TV producer, changing the world one unfortunate story at a time. When she's not working (and when she's working) you can find her eating snacks that aren't hers, retweeting angsty teens and writing open letters about every one of her grievances. Her work has been published on The Belladonna, Lady Pieces, Robot Butt and Now-NYC.