Boxed In: A Woman’s Right to Defy the Norm
Before I start defending a woman’s right to be a functioning junkie, I just want to say this. Cat Marnell has shit taste in graffiti. Any tag on a wall is not art. So to bury the lede from the start, I’ll tell you about an amazing graffiti artist I met in NYC, Toofly, one part of the female duo (w/ Alice Mizrachi) that is the brainchild of the art collectiveYounity. The lady you see below is the subject of most of Toofly’s signature pieces, and below that a piece from Mizrachi.
But I digress. Here’s the thing. Now that she was asked to leave xoJane.com, Marnell started writing and penned this first person piece for Vice.com. The flow is amazing. The images she paints – these are phrases maybe inspired by drugs, a haze, torment, psychoanalyze as you wish. Maybe she does rely on dolls for an extra something. But can you blame her for being bored by the “normal?” And really, how many people don’t have some “issue?” Hers just stem from another parent not quite equipped to figure out how deal with a child that colored outside the lines.
But what really annoys me is that everyone thinks she needs to be saved. She might like where she is. I am in no way advocating a lifestyle like hers but we all know if anyone wants to trim the baggage and start ingesting food instead of dolls for dinner, it will take that person wanting to change, not a load of pity in the form of comments on various blogs. Furthermore, we don’t need saving. Dare I question why it is OK for a man to be a drug-fueled writer but a woman is a sad pretty dirty thing?
”The sporting editors had also given me $300 in cash, most of which was already spent on extremely dangerous drugs. The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.
All this had been rounded up the night before, in a frenzy of highspeed driving all over Los Angeles County – from Topanga to Watts, we picked up everything we could get our hands on. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug-collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.” – Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Tell me why this type of writing made him a legend and Marnell’s writing makes her a pity case. Then I’ll stop defending the right to just be anything but the good girl, the wife, the juggle-it-all-woman, the matriarch of a family of four, the good worker bee, the girl that only ***ks a certain number of individuals, the woman that stops at one drink, the woman that goes to boot camp and brings the kids to soccer. Because the truth is Marnell is an amalgamation of many women and there’s some quality in her that everyone can identify with. She is a little bit crazy, a little bit vain, a little bit brilliant, a little bit damaged, and a lot irreverent. I just hope selfishly that her journey evolves and she tempers the dolls enough to produce a book because the talent is raw and there are many woman that won’t admit it but that appreciate her voice, even if they don’t know it yet. For the truth is modernity has afforded free women to say – we are who we are and we are not sorry.