Womb Up, America!

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Consider pistons and pumps. Sockets and plugs. Consider shafts. Cogs. Funnels. We cover the earth with stuff in the image of our genitalia. Almost every machine we produce is unashamedly coital, just one thing after another sticking out of something, or into something. And buttons, how we love pressing buttons! It must be some dim collective memory of the G-spot. Every president has to have his or her finger on the goddamn Button.

Despite the somewhat noble efforts of queer theorists to fudge the issue, the influence of differing genitalia still spreads into every aspect of our lives. It’s natural enough. Our thinking sprouts from the sensation of inhabiting a body: you start with yourself and move outward. It only gets dicey when the establishment declares one type of genitalia superior to another. Having the wrong genitalia (female) currently means exclusion from clubs and other privileges, leadership roles, cultural, economic, and political power, and some very silly sports. This is counterbalanced by forced inclusion in menial tasks, physical mistreatment, low paid or unpaid labor, cake-baking, bill-paying, and eyebrow threading.

Where are the ululations for the undulations of the uterus, a rip-roaring cornucopia of plenty if ever there was one?

Yet, unless you’re a seahorse, or perhaps an octopus, or were born disappointingly by Cesarean (as I was), we all emerge from that vital female juncture where two hind legs meet. This is our entrance to the universe; out we come to seek and find (or not). In his magnificent, hyper-autobiographical movie, My Winnipeg, Guy Maddin repeatedly likens the fork in a river to the maternal groin, or lap—in his case, the “Forks,” where Winnipeg’s Red River merges with the Assiniboine, a significant ancient meeting-point for indigenous peoples. Many cities are at the confluence of rivers, for reasons both sacred and banal. And other womanly groins, laps, and forks are everywhere, be they manmade, literal, or abstract: in architecture, in carpentry, in geology, and between the branches of trees. Robert Frost, too, thought forks make all the difference.

Forget all the penile towers suspended over every city. How flimsy and impotent they seem, compared to the Eiffel Tower, an overt monument to the vagina. Never mind the structure’s airy lack of substance. Read between the lines! Look up its skirts. With its four legs spread wide in a birthing squat, the Eiffel Tower is just one big iron pelvis displaying its carnal opening to the gawping tourists below. It’s a subversive breakthrough in public—or pubic?—architecture: it’s nineteenth-century engineering’s equivalent to a can-can girl, Paris’s flamboyant answer to Rome’s more austere cloaca maxima. You feel the Eiffel Tower could contain, or expel, the whole world.

The Sprawling Corpus

We just can’t leave the body alone. We really think of little else. Verbally, we can’t bear to be parted from bodily processes for a second: everything is fucking this or fucking that, it’s shitty, it’s crappy, it’s nail-biting, hysterical, vomitous, nauseating, stomach-churning, piss-taking, back-breaking, nerve-racking, and it gives you goosebumps. And that’s just the DNC!

Curiously, our obsession with gender tends to relent when we turn body parts into workaday metaphors or sources of lamentation, like “a pain in the neck,” “down in the mouth,” or “one foot in the grave.” (Suffering is a leveler.) That these knee-jerk (or restless-leg) coinages are largely ungendered suggests an unconscious drive for equality, a recognition that being human may come before being male or female. Female anatomy admittedly has some pretty show-stopping faculties (ovulation, menstruation, conception, gestation, parturition, lactation, mastitis, and mammoth moping, to name but a few), but when you get right down to it, male and female bodies still have plenty of stuff in common.

We all try to stand on our own two feet, don’t we? We grab a foothold, and put our best foot forward. We try to be footloose and fancy-free. Okay, we usually end up putting our foot in it, but it’s not our fault if we trip up, given that our masters, and their feet-of-clay foot soldiers (the mainstream media), are always stepping on our toes and telling us to toe the line. They want to bring the down-at-heel to heel. They think the body politic, bodies of evidence, bodies of water, government bodies, regulatory bodies, and even celestial bodies are all for them! And they don’t tiptoe around.

Tired of being a footnote in history, never offered a leg up? Hip-hop hipsters are starting to shoot from the hip. They don’t want to be elbowed out of the way anymore and forced to lead hand-to-mouth existences under the thumb of the 0.01 percent. (Aristos have gotten a bit out of hand of late, haven’t they?) So, when you’re next confronted by underhanded members of the patrician class, just holler, “Unhand me! Hands up, and hand me all your hand-me-downs!”

But look out. If they’re smart, they’ll give you such a handsome hand-out that they’ll temporarily nullify that compassionate chip on your shoulder. And if you’re not careful, you too will end up a chinless wonder, living cheek by jowl with a cheeky hedge-fund tycoon and dancing cheek to cheek with billionaires who pay lip service to morality. Cin cin!

None of your lip now; you don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth! Word of mouth has it that social climbers must sink their teeth into high society and hang on by the skin of those teeth until they’re long in the tooth. So, if you ever get down in the mouth and start mouthing loudmouth, biting, loose-tongued notions, just explain that they were tongue in cheek, a slip of the tongue, or that English is not your native tongue. Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face! And don’t turn your nose up at a little brown-nosing.

Riches are nothing to be sneezed at, after all (though you’re bound to pay through the nose for them in the end). No, just put your nose to the grindstone, play it by ear, get some shut-eye, and keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t be too short-sighted: you could be heading headlong into the heady headnip of oligarchy headquarters. And if they let you have your head, you might even end up head of the nation! Why not? They take anybody these days. Just think of all the blockheads, lunkheads, dunderheads, and numbskulls who vie for the head job. Not to mention the daft old crowned heads of Europe. So go ahead! The muted masses will be all ears for your soundbites, if you just look them in the eye and convince them you see eye to eye on a few things.

But after you win the election by a hair’s breadth, get ready to endure the bald malevolence of your fellow bigwigs. They may try to split hairs with you about their shameless injustices and craven murder-lust—but we all know they’ve got the people by the pubes! Thanks to all their hair-raising, hair-brained schemes and their bad hair days, hairline cracks have begun to show from top to bottom in the body politic. How long will you be able to swallow their bloody lies? You’ll find yourself having many a heartfelt heart to heart with blood-tied bluebloods tainted with a disheartening vein of heartlessness and blood on their hands.

Let’s discharge a heavy flow of labial lingo across the land, sparked up with hot flashes of vulval ideology.

Stuck long enough in those clogged arteries of power, you’re bound to suffer a change of heart. Then you can make a clean breast of it. If you have a bone to pick now with the fractured head honchos, make no bones about it—even if it jeopardizes your membership in Skull and Bones. The lazybones will give you only the bare bones of an answer, though, since bonehead bigheads and billionaires have no backbone, and no funny bone. Yet they expect us to work for them pro bono, with skeleton staffs. Now that is a joke.

These fatuous fatsos live off the fat of the land, while we’re all skin and bone! We can’t even afford Moleskine diaries anymore, or skinny lattes, thanks to those skinflints, all of a lather now to save their own skins. Well, here’s the skinny: we’ve had a bellyful of their bellicose belligerence and can stomach no more. We too need some belly laughs! We are not polyps in the entrails of the tea-party class, to be viscerally pounded, squeezed, and expunged by those lily-livered gasbags. It’s high time they went belly up. The shit has hit the fan, and we’re ready to kick some ass in the seat of piddling power.

Sure, the corporate swells are cocky now, after all their cockeyed, cockamamie, cock-and-bull stories. The dickheads think they alone have the balls to run the world. And here we come to the crux or smelly chafed crotch of the matter, where all kindly gender-neutrality ends and we’re back slap dang in the middle of the battle of the sexes. The thing is, people are never acclaimed for having the breasts to do something brave—it’s always got to be the balls (though the grandeur of the scrotal sac, in comparison to breasts, is negligible). In a misogynistic society it takes real guts (and muscle!) to have breasts, yet ejaculations of respect only for testicles spill willy-nilly across the globe. This is nuts.

Where are the ululations for the undulations of the uterus, a rip-roaring cornucopia of plenty if ever there was one? Where are the catch-phrases of the snatch, the all-encompassing, inventive, and expansive female groin, lap, funnel, and fork? Nowhere to be seen or heard. Instead, all we get are seminal insights. Men have a lot of these, it seems. They set great store by anything seminal: it’s all seminal this, seminal that. They avidly disseminate their seminal ideas. They even ascribe seminal achievements to women. Sometimes. While all the fabulous, life-enhancing, life-generating wonderment of ova, placentas, clitorises, and labia, both minora and majora, is lost to us! This is below the belt. But soon female germinations will be adequately recognized, if we just egg matriarchy on a bit.

The Genital Good

Let’s return to the womb—I know you want to. It’s time we got to grips with womb-based womanhood. Not womanhood of the card-carrying variety, led by that shape-shifting, email-secreting, vote-rigging, child-deporting, assassination-greedy embarrassment of a millionairess now campaigning to be the new American purse-pincher and drone dangler. No, the female leader we seek would stand for those old forgotten principles like justice, truth, and the common good. What we need is an animated version of the Statue of Liberty, now such an odd woman out with her softy offer of mercy, warm welcome, and magnanimous multitudinous motherliness. Built, coincidentally or not, by Gustave Eiffel, Liberty was eulogized by Emma Lazarus, who awarded her an attitude very foreign to our bully-boy times:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The gal has a lamp, because motherhood—Mother Nature, Mother Hubbard, Mother Goose, mother love, mother vinegar, mother-of-pearl, the mother tongue of the motherland—is an enlightening force. When your mother fades, darkness falls. Darkness is falling now on us all, in the form of fascism, militarism, terrorism, and hitherto unimagined extravaganzas of phoniness.

Let’s return to the womb—I know you want to.

Most of human history was matriarchal, a system founded on the valued exertions of the mammalian womb. Womanhood was seen as an honorable (if risky) undertaking, and women were valued, not just as potential mothers but for their own sake—what a revolutionary idea! Now, despite feminism, the male hierarchy is in the ascendant again, with women getting paid less and mauled more. Patriarchy sees women as mere proto-males who can obediently contribute to corruption, inequality, and hypocrisy in return for minimal financial recompense.

Some queer theorists have fallen right into the trap, rejecting the urgent need for female supremacy in favor of some kind of unisex utopia, improbably brimming with rights and equality. But to blur la différence is to assist patriarchy by blurring blame. And this gets on my tits. Do women have to take the rap for patriarchy too?

Incubation Nation

If the anatomization above reveals anything, it’s that we need to put feminine curves back into the body politic. It’s so flat without them! Trump and Pence aren’t the only ones who need our menstrual updates. Let’s discharge a heavy flow of labial lingo across the land, sparked up with hot flashes of vulval ideology. Let’s put the cervix back into linguistic service. Let’s ease the labor pains of the workers, and, while we’re at it, put a picnic hamper in place of that depressing presidential “football.” We only want to nuke the nuclear family now.

City by city, we will reclaim a matriarchal world order: Clitropolis, Oviductia, Wombberg, Tittsburg, Fallopidelphia, Fort Forks, Odalisque Falls, the twin cities of Multiple and Orgasm, and why not (in a nod to the Eiffel Tower) a Petticoat Junction, irresistibly adjacent to Hooterville? In terms of states, we already have the Carolinas, Louisa-iana, Georgia, Virginia, and Marilyn. We can easily rename the rest—they’re long overdue for a revamp. (Connect-A-Cunt sounds matriarchal already.)

We can call our newfound land New Lapland, or maybe just the Motherland, and celebrate it all with a lip-smacking, thigh-slapping knees up. Next stop: the Milky Way.

I don’t expect a standing ova-tion for this or anything. Just let the plan gestate a little. It’s pregnant with possibilities. Vive la révolution!

Lucy Ellmann’s novel Mimi contains The Odalisque Manifesto, which proposes a peaceful revolution leading to worldwide matriarchy.

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