Friends, enemies, ex-lovers, lovers to be (*wink*), acquaintances and yes, strangers of both the daunted and undaunted variety: hello! Welcome to another #WeeklyTarotFYI, hosted, as ever, by your friendly closeted neighbourhood tarot reader, Thom Foole* and her trusty dog sidekick. This week’s sponsor is my jaundiced eye and the rage of the “second” sex.
The card I drew for this week’s #WeeklyTarotFYI (which I realise is the clunkiest hashtag ever, and not exactly taking off anywhere hashtags are used, but I’m apparently more hopeful than I realise) was the Two of Cups: a woman and a man exchange cups and vows under the watchful gaze of a winged lion. Beyond proving that tarot symbology has a lot in common with dreaming while drunk, the card obviously echoes The Lovers. This relationship is in its nascency, though, and everyone remembered to put on their clothes that morning. On the surface, it’s a very straightforward card, simple and romantic.
Closer inspection reveals that there’s a lot of underlying tension in the Universal Waite art, however. The man is reaching for a cup the woman is reluctant to hand over. Her cup takes all of her attention and focus. She holds it with both hands, arms raised as if to meet the man’s hand. She doesn’t want to let her cup go. But the guy in tights – intent on her face, and keeping a nice firm grip on his own cup – is stepping forward into her space, insistent.
I woke up this morning to the #MeToo hashtag trending on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Alyssa Milano started it, encouraging people to share their sexual harassment/sexual assault stories to try to bring to light the sheer scope and prevalence of this kind of assault. Unfortunately, it was a hashtag many – myself included – could participate in. The response was staggering.
But I wonder whether it will have its intended effect. The news has been full of Woody Allen – a paedophile, and dodgy person extraordinaire – cautioning people against going on a “witchhunt” against those who’ve made a habit out of sexually harassing or assaulting others. Sadly, a stubborn amount of people agree with him – acting like the women Weinstein abused (and Cosby abused, and Allen abused) are just making trouble or telling stories or looking for attention. After all this time, giving predators the benefit of the doubt (and victim blaming along the way) is still a thing.
I can’t help but feel that these people (many, if not most, of whom are male) are all the Two of Cups’ guy with his tights. They’re the guys who pride themselves on being “nice” guys; who stand too close, hold too tight, dismiss too easily; who “drunk too much” or “didn’t mean it” or “aren’t like that”; who say “smile” and are constantly reminding you in small ways that they’re being patient, but patience runs out, and after that…
They’re the ones who interrupt you, talk over you, say bad things and add “I’m just joking; can’t you take a joke?” Who think you, your presence and your body are open to discussion just because you happened to cross paths with them. They’re the guys who take ownership of things that aren’t theirs, all the while acting like you’re the crazy one for holding back, for saying “No”, for resisting, for existing without pandering to them or their egos or their ever-fragile toxic masculinity.
We are all the woman in the Two of Cups this week: trying to stand our ground, trying to reclaim our voices and yes, our emotions, and the right to have those emotions. The right to be outraged and frightened, defiant and proud, grief-stricken and strong, without being “called to order” by a (still very) patriarchal society who want to interject “Buts” and “Ifs” to stories and experiences that aren’t theirs.
Friends, neighbours, strangers: the sad reality is that some asshole will try to take your cup from you, this week and all others. He’ll do it because all his life long, and the lives of the men and women before him, he’s been allowed to. But we don’t have to hand it over. Our experiences are just that – ours. As are our bodies and our voices. I find comfort in the woman in the Two of Cups’ stance. It’s firm. She’s fighting against the conditioning that’s told her all her life not to make a fuss, to be quiet and compliant, to be both beautiful and invisible, to “just let it go” or “don’t make it harder on yourself”.
She’s holding on to her cup. She’s not even looking at the man. He isn’t what’s important in this scenario.