By Bruce A. Smith
At the Washington, D.C. Women’s March Saturday, Ashley Judd delivered a rousing dramatic presentation of a poem written by a 19-year old Tennessean woman named Nina Donovan, which has continued to rock the resistance to President Donald Trump.
Below, the Mountain News shares the script of the Judd/Donovan piece, courtesy of the Fair Use Doctrine on intellectual properties. Following that is an essay from Paula Morris, a long-time Mountain News contributing reporter, describing how the poem has inspired her to insure equal rights for all.
“My name is Ashley Judd and I am a feminist. And I want to say hello to Independence Avenue in the back, all the way down to 17th Street, and I bring you words from Nina Donovan, a 19-year old in Middle Tennessee. She has given me the privilege of telling you what she has to say:
“I am a nasty woman. I’m not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheetos dust. A man who words are a Dis-Tract to America. Electoral College-sanctioned hate speech, contaminating this national anthem. I’m not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city. Maybe the South actually is going to rise again. Maybe for some it never really fell. Blacks are still in shackles and graves, just for being black. Slavery has been reinterpreted as the prison system in front of people who see melanin as animal skin. I am not as nasty as a swastika painted on a pride flag, and I didn’t know devils could be resurrected but I feel Hitler in these streets. A mustache traded for a toupee. Nazis renamed the Cabinet Electro-Conversion Therapy, the new gas chambers shaming the gay out of America, turning rainbows into suicide. No, I’m not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege…I am not as nasty as using little girls like Pokemon before their bodies have even developed. I’m not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes. Yeah, I’m a nasty woman – a loud, vulgar, proud woman.
“I’m not nasty like a combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booths. I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth. I’m nasty like the fight for wage equality. Scarlett Johansson – why were the female actors paid less that half of what the male actors earned last year? See, even when we do get into higher-paying jobs our wages are still cut with blades sharpened by testosterone. Why is the work of a black woman and an Hispanic woman worth only 63 and 54 cents of a white man’s privileged daughter? This is not a feminist myth. This is inequality. So, we are not here to be debunked. We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty.
“I am nasty like the bloodstains on my bed sheets. We don’t actually choose if and when to have our periods. Believe me, if we could some of us would. We do not like throwing away our favorite pairs of underpants. Tell me, why are pads and tampons still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not? Is your erection really more (important) than protecting the sacred, messy parts of my womanhood? Is the bloodstain on my jeans more embarrassing that the thinning of your hair?
“I know it is hard to look at your own entitlement and privilege. You may be afraid of the truth. I am unafraid to be honest. It may sound petty to bring up a few extra cents. It adds up to the pile of change I have yet to see in my country. I can’t see. My eyes are too busy praying to my feet hoping you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact. Half my life I have been zipping up my smile hoping you don’t think I want to unzip your jeans. I am unafraid to be nasty because I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleeza, Michelle, Hillary.!
“And our pussies ain’t for grabbing. They’re for reminding you that our walls are stronger than America’s ever will be. Our pussies are for our pleasure. They are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, you name it, for new generations of nasty women. So if you (are) a nasty woman, or love one who is, let me hear you say:
“I love you. Thank you.”
Paula Morris adds:
I’m a lifer – feminist that is.
When I was six, I said to my parents at the dinner table – when we saw a black man walk by our window and my father made a very derogatory comment – “I think black people are just as good as white people,” I got a crack in the mouth for being “snotty” to my father.
In the 1970s, I marched for the ERA – wore an ERA bracelet every day.
Even though the gist of Ashley Judd’s talk was from the perspective of a black woman, I can identity almost as well.
I’ve certainly been the victim of misogyny, sexual assault, and white supremacy – interpreted by me as PATRIARCHY.
I can identify with having to rein in my sexuality and “wild woman” enthusiasm for fear of being “marked” by some crazy predator.
And how about having been a single mother for most of my life? Raising three kids without the benefit of child support, fair childcare, housing, food, medical – and being told by the “Elders” of my church to, well, maybe move to a poorer neighborhood if I can’t afford the rent, utilities, and food – when I asked for financial help. Or even worse…
Being treated like a bother because I wasn’t getting ANY child support from my kids’ father, and they wouldn’t do anything about it! So I complained a few times!
So, my kids and I lived a lesser life while “he” lived in a new house on a lake and had three cars!
And because I was kinda cute back in the day – every male I encountered wanted to “get into my,” well, you now.
So, yeah, our pussies ain’t for grabbin! Bravo to the new generation of women who are “NASTY WOMEN!”
Stand up for Women’s Rights:
- To our own bodies
- To have decent health care and child care
- To earn a living wage to raise the kids alone – when we have to.
- To not be used as a commodity for sale!
Nina Donovan is a student at Columbia State Community College in Nashville, Tennessee. According to her interview in yesterday’s Tennessean, Nina began writing her poem, “I am a Nasty Woman,” immediately after Donald Trump mocked Hillary Clinton as a “nasty woman” in one of the presidential debates. Both Nina and Ashley Judd are residents of Nashville, and they met at a poetry concert several weeks ago, where Ms. Judd heard Nina perform the piece. They exchanged phone numbers and email addresses, and the rest is history.
For those unfamiliar with Nashville parlance, locals there describe this section of their state as “Middle Tennessee.” Hence the words used at the beginning of Judd’s presentation.
To learn more about this remarkable young woman, or to view a performance of both Ms Judd’s and Ms. Donovan’s rendition of “I am a Nasty Woman,” visit:
Below, Ashley Judd:
Below, Paula Morris: