I finished reading The Help a few days ago. I'd been seeing a lot of feminist rumblings about it on some of my fave fem sites and had to read it for myself, to see if it warranted the thrashing it's been consistently getting.
And I get what they're saying, that in this day and age, a poignant story about black women shouldn't still be about the same tired character, the maid ... the archetype has been alive and well for decades and decades. But you know? It's a damn good book.
I couldn't put it down. If that lessens my fem cred? So be it.
There's a few instances where Aibileen, one of the main characters, mentions that something has changed deep inside of her. Like, there's a new bitterness inside that wasn't there before her son died in an accident. That bitterness allows her to move past her fear and to help write the book "Help".
Obviously, I don't know what it's like to be a black maid in Jackson, Mississippi in the 60's ... and maybe the white author of the book has no idea either, but what I can relate to is that feeling of bitterness.
It's a bitterness that allows you to eventually flip a switch inside. For some women, the bitterness eats away at them and eventually they let themselves get swallowed up, trapped in a vicious cycle of perpetual victimhood.
But for others, bitterness turns into something else. It's no longer a bitterness, but a strength. It's transformative. You're able to reach through it and turn on something new. It's like one day you wake up and as soon as you crawl out of bed after you wish you'd never opened your eyes, you're like ... fuck this.
You tell all the negative forces in your life to fuck off.
You leave it behind. Your energy has been transformed. You do what needs to be done.