I like the idea of ritualised changes. For me a new journal/a new blog offers spaces for all the changes undergone since the last project was started. As much as I enjoyed blogging previously I felt a need to move away from political rage as my major focus and to give space to other aspects of my self and my life.
I had come up with the name ‘doubleantandre’ some time ago. Antandre, so the story goes, was an Amazonian warrior, and her name means ‘She Who Precedes Men’. I enjoy the ambiguity available to interpretations of her name-meaning – and how close it is to entendre as in ‘double-entindre (is it she who goes ahead of men or she who ‘comes before’ men) . I also enjoyed the idea of taking up the imagery of women as warriors, strong, independent and fearsome. Much of my life was spent in the shadow of men’s choices and the fallout of their choices and lifestyles, and much of it in trying to move forward has been spent doing battle on my own and trying to be ‘strong like an amazon’.
Taking up the ‘nom de plume’ of doubleantandre then was a playful, tongue in cheek gesture of multiple meanings, of reclaiming the central role in my own life, of moving forward out of the shadow of those men and the limitations or restraints their choices and attitudes imposed, of taking up a powerfully passionate stance, unafraid and ‘strong like an amazon’, of strength in and through openness rather than combativeness, and of course a teasing reference to the alternate meaning of ‘she who precedes men’ — in a world where female sexuality is so heavily constructed, restrained, packaged and sold back to us as a picture of passivity in which we’re simply vehicles for someone else’s pleasure there is something delightfully cheeky in taking up a name that has (a/the) meaning of she who comes before men.
It’s a nod to the explorations and formations of my own sexuality, a rejection the restraints of packaged and pre-sold femininity and female (passive/objectified) sexuality and an homage to ‘doing’ sex on terms of equality, sensuality, enjoyment and activity in which quite frequently I happen to ‘come first’ (or multiply, or second, or by myself, or not at all, but always on terms pleasurable and powerful to myself and my partner).
And here is the last time I’ll acknowledge the possible presence of those who experience, or feign, shock and indignation over this – it’s no call for domination or opression, no call for women to become literal ‘warriors’, no manifesto that says women ought to be elevated ‘above’ men or any of those tired old accusations whenever women take up or play with imagery of empowerment, equality and playfulness on their own terms. It’s my space to write and think and laugh for my own purposes. I want to be free to experience and discuss all of myself and my life, the power, the laughter, the joy, the heartache, the noble, the horrid and the just plain silly, petty or foolish – on my terms, in my own words and in my own space – in which I will not engage with those who seek to pidgeonhole me into some caricature of my actual position. Tired bigoted old stereotypes have plenty of space in mainstream media, they don’t need this little blog too.