Today’s Feminist Song comes to us from WMST Graduate Assistant and Art Therapy MA student, Sarah Pray. Pray uses all manner of artistic forms to process her thoughts, a feature of the art therapy she is studying to practice. One of her projects during her MA has been a film of interviews with people using art therapy to recover from eating disorders. We will have a dedicated blog entry on this, with links, later in Spring 2016. Here, we get an unusual treat: one of Sarah‘s own songs from her 2010 album. I will give her the floor to describe its feminist content.
–Alison Reiheld, Director of SIUE’s Women’s Studies Program
I wrote this song “Be A Man” one night when I was feeling very frustrated with an internal dialogue of self-loathing and body hatred.
I had just eaten an uncomfortable amount of food and was feeling the aftereffects of guilt. In that moment I felt hopeless and overwhelmed at the task of finding and valuing my own definition of womanhood. Though I have a better sense of my definition now, a few years ago, that part of me–the part that accepts me as I am, as a woman–was hard to believe.
I think it is important to empathize with myself in that hopeless and powerless state, a state that I came across frequently with individuals while interning at an eating disorder treatment center. Like the individuals I encountered there, I did not know how to become empowered, nor did I believe defying beauty standards could actually be OK, truly OK. I would have liked to have written a song that is clearly empowering, but I don’t think I was ready. Maybe feeling empowered, for me, is not only finding self-acceptance but also allowing myself to express my true feelings of powerlessness. I don’t have to be strong all the time, I just have to be myself.