Western literature has some pretty great moments of #sorrynotsorry, whether Elizabeth Bennett politely lays the smack down on Mr. Collins or William Carlos Williams eats some plums. The first time I didn't apologize for myself was when as an art student I posted an image of my nude self-portrait on social media captioned, "Self-portrait Before Marriage." I quickly received an email from a really close friend who took a while to get to the point, but he eventually said that I should take the image down because some people would get the wrong idea. I replied by saying he was right, some folks might get the wrong idea just as he had, but that wasn't my problem. I never heard from my "friend" again.
William Carlos Williams' poem, "This Is Just To Say" from a series I did called "Know Your American Lit!"
Women are taught to apologize a lot, but there's always a breaking point. This Saturday thousands of us are marching in protest of the new presidential administration because we're not sorry that we have the right to our own bodies, and we're not sorry that we that we have the right to an equal wage. Sorry, but we're really not sorry for who we are and how we express our identity; we're not sorry that we demand the right to be treated as equals in spite of disabilities, and we're not sorry that we love who we love. We're also not sorry that we demand the right to not live in fear that the government will separate our families, and we're not sorry that we have the right to speak out against abusers without being slut-shamed.
An unapologetic model from my figure drawing class. A student complained that they couldn't draw her because they couldn't see her bones (meaning that she was too fat). She informed them that her weight had nothing to do with it; if they couldn't find her skeleton, then they were a bad artist.
Here's to all the women who didn't apologize for who they are and who have inspired me to keep making art that unapologetically represents who I am. I stand in admiration of you and in solidarity with you.
Janelle Monae's Q.U.E.E.N. featuring Erykah Badu