We’re back! After two weeks of no Billy Bragg for holiday-related reasons, the internet can now heave a sigh of relief. Fridays have regained their Billy-ibrium!
This week’s selection, “Trust,” is a short story, really, told by a woman. One of the things I’ve always loved most about Mr. Bragg is his ability to channel the voice of someone entirely unlike himself — a gay veteran of the Second World War, a Japanese-American victim of internment, or, in this case, a woman who’s been very badly done by the man in her life.
He wrote this song at the height of the AIDS crisis, and the lyrics leave us entirely uncertain: Is she pregnant? Infected? Or just afraid? There’s no way to know, but that fear, that uncertainty — that abandonment — is a thing with which many, many women are all too familiar, and which far too few men have made an effort to understand.
Least of all the men making decisions about our bodies.
The first line of defense in any battle has got to be information, and in that spirit, I want to encourage you to check out and bookmark the frankly mind-boggling Team Uterati Wiki on which Angry Black Lady and the Team Uterati team are doing yoeman’s labor. It’s a one-stop-shop for information on the people, the places, and the roughly 1,100 anti-choice bills currently pending across the country.
You heard me: One thousand and one hundred.
Women are human beings. We have a fundamental, human right to bodily autonomy, one that powerful people (some of whom are women) are attempting to strip from us, for their own purposes. The only way to win this war is to fight back. Let’s arm ourselves with knowledge, inundate them with our demands, and vote the bastards out come November. And then let’s keep fighting.
He’s already been inside me And he really didn’t say And I really didn’t ask him I just hoped and prayed
He’s already been inside me And I really don’t feel well I keep looking in the mirror But it’s hard to tell
Will he stay by me and take my hand And hold me till I sleep Or will he crumble and fall to the floor And weep Oh feeble man, Oh evil man
He’s already been inside me Would he have told me if he cared? I know I ought to find out But I’m much too scared
He’s already been inside me And I know it can’t be good Nothing feels The way it should
Will he hold me in his arms again And wipe away my tears Or has he already taken My best years Oh evil man, Oh feeble man
UPDATE: It’s been suggested to me that this song is “being sung by one man about another man, not by a woman at all.” I can see that, and remember it crossing my mind back in the day, so I mention it here — I can only hope Mr. Bragg himself weighs in someday…! (Knowing his work, it’s entirely possible that he left the song just that vague on purpose).
Emily L. Hauser has been a freelance writer for 20 years. She has contributed to publications such as the Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, and Dallas Morning News, covering topics ranging from Israel/Palestine and domestic politics, to women’s issues and the occasional burst of geekery. She is a regular columnist at The Daily Beast’s Open Zion, and blogs at Emily L. Hauser In My Head. Follow her on Twitter at @emilylhauser.
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