GirlSense and NonSense Nov. 2014 - Page 36

Resolved

By

Lauren

Bramwell

36

Confessions of a North West Speech and Debate Competitor

My heels echo on the pavement- click clack click clack

I adjust the string of pearls lying softly on my neck and hurriedly brush the lint off my newly purchased suit.

Before walking into round I quickly slather on yet another layer of lipstick

-the color’s called eve’s fruit.

Resolved: IPDA debate perpetuates classist and sexist standards of professional embodiment.

Resolved: I am more than just an object to be seen.

I tell people outside of the forensic world how nothing can quite compare to a college speech round.

I tell them it’s a venue for identities of all kinds to address important social issues. Speech serves a s a forum to paint a picture of a world that is broken but capable of being fixed

(so long as we are willing to open our eyes).

Yet when my ballot tells me “rape pieces are just too overdone”. I crawl inside myself-a place plagued with forceful hands.

A place haunted with self-blame and humiliation-

alone and frustrated because no one cares to understand.

So tell me, judge, since when is the right to my own body a conversation that is not worth being had?

Bio-politics is the bullet and you carry the gun.

Resolved: Ballots have the power to further oppress and silence identities that are begging to be heard.

Resolved: My sexual assault should matter.

In my spare time I coach high school speech and debate.

I tell the class of the value of this activity by explaining the power of discourse and how it can shape reality.

Yet, when the bell rings, a bright young woman approaches me.

Her voice quivers as she gestures to the paragraph of underlined and bolded words scribbled across her ballot.

And I watch as the dark ink bleeds into her skin.

I’m not quite sure when it was deemed acceptable to tell a young girl not to be “bitchy” in cross ex.

Yet, I’ve found that it is a pervasive pattern that taunts the young women in my class who speak with confidence and conviction.

With disappointment in her voice she asks, “This, this is our reality?”

And for the first time I can remember, I had nothing to say.

Silence.

Resolved: Judges ought not hold women hostage to the performative chains of femininity.

Resolved: Your misogynist ballots will not break us.

At the awards ceremony, they call my name.

My team cheers, and I walk to the front of the stage-

click clack click clack

Shaking my hand the man says, “Good job hun,”

And I smile --

while my bones and secrets ache.

So today I stand for change, I call for voices of conviction ready to take a stand.

I take off my heels, I remove my pearls… my smile,

I shred up those stupid ass panty hose-

I clench up my fist in solidarity and demand (yes demand)

that you hear MY voice.

Resolved.

Confessions of a North West Speech and Debate Competitor

My heels echo on the pavement- click clack click clack

I adjust the string of pearls lying softly on my neck and hurriedly brush the lint off my newly purchased suit.

Before walking into round I quickly slather on yet another layer of lipstick

-the color’s called eve’s fruit.

Resolved: IPDA debate perpetuates classist and sexist standards of professional embodiment.

Resolved: I am more than just an object to be seen.

I tell people outside of the forensic world how nothing can quite compare to a college speech round.

I tell them it’s a venue for identities of all kinds to address important social issues. Speech serves a s a forum to paint a picture of a world that is broken but capable of being fixed

(so long as we are willing to open our eyes).

Yet when my ballot tells me “rape pieces are just too overdone”. I crawl inside myself-a place plagued with forceful hands.

A place haunted with self-blame and humiliation-

alone and frustrated because no one cares to understand.

So tell me, judge, since when is the right to my own body a conversation that is not worth being had?

Bio-politics is the bullet and you carry the gun.