Joy as resistance
Girl activists use laughter, art, collaboration, poetry, experimentation, dance, breath, drama, movement as a way to subvert, co-opt and reclaim dominant culture.
Joy is a form and function of girls’ resistance, and a counter to the pathologisation of social change so often dominant in development spaces. As Emma Goldman said all those years ago – “If I can’t dance, it ain’t my revolution”.
Resistance is resilience for me. My resistance is building vision for myself. My resistance is filling in the holes that I came here with generationally or that I’ve gotten, pockmarks that I’ve gotten as I have been moving around, bumping and thriving in the world. And filling in those holes for myself. Giving all that I have in my body and my heart to live the life that I want to live. Resistance is resilience, resistance is joy.
I started listening to music, just from rappers, from feminists. Rebeca Lane was one of the first I started to listen to, so it was like, ah! “Neither God, nor father, nor husband, nor political party”, I feel so seen. I started to go to other spaces where poetry was read, I began to listen to historical memories, then there, as if it crossed my whole life, I said, oh, everything I live is not pure accident, it is not that it is isolated, there are many others who are living like this and I started looking for girls, for women. To pregnant women, to women with vaginas, to transgender women where I could feel seen and recognised.
I feel like back in the day people definitely sacrificed everything they had for the movement and you don’t have to do that. I don’t think it’s necessary. Our ancestors suffered enough. Ten times over, that’s not the point. Our ancestors don’t want us to suffer. They want us to, our wise ancestors want us to thrive and be happy and have that kind of self-love that emanates out and radiates out and that’s what you get back. I think that’s what it’s about. It’s about thriving; it’s not about surviving.
Writing brings me a lot of joy, if I am in a good state of mind – I have survived depression, it comes back also, mental health is very important in life – these things are connected, writing sometimes gives a way out of that or a way through it as has other work with Girls at Dhabas has been a raft and anchor.