Columns | Daughters of Eve

On Martha and the Harm in “Perfect” Womanhood

In the etiquette class, everything had a proper place and use—even me.


no one was here

If someone doesn’t see you as fully human because you’re a woman or because you’re not white or because you’re not cis or whatever it might be, chances are that you knowing how to hold a salad fork won’t really change that.

The many etiquette books I read as a child, the seasonally appropriate greetings I draft first in pencil, then in pen, the soup spoons and dessert spoons; none of these will erase the fear, anxiety and longing I feel about my half-way-immigrant, half-way-lady self.