invisible girdle

Rachel Devorah Trapp

Posted on 29 Oct 2015

“About twenty-four hours after I gave birth to Iggy, the nice woman at the hospital who tested his hearing gave me a wide white elastic band for my postpartum belly, basically a giant Ace bandage with a Velcro waist. I was grateful for it, as my middle felt like it was about to slide off me and onto the floor. Falling forever, falling to pieces. Maybe this belt would keep it, me, together. When she handed it to me, she winked and said, Thanks for doing your part to keep America beautiful. I stumbled back to my hospital room, newly corseted, my gratitude now speckled with bewilderment. What’s my part? Having a baby? Taking measures to stop the spread? Not falling to pieces?” -Maggie Nelson, “The Argonauts” p.108-109

in our discussion of unseen constraints on experiential time, the metaphor of the corset came up and this quote from Maggie Nelson came to my mind.

yes, an “invisible girdle” can be necessary to keep pieces together, but in keeping certain pieces together and not others an invisible girdle asserts a particular logic of what pieces are too valuable to fall. such a logic and its value system create a binding hierarchy and there exists the danger that the hierarchy of an invisible girdle may become a hegemonic denial of other logics and values.