In the beginning was the lab rat. She grew up and aged, but still had to be contained. Still experimented on in the labs, named hospitals for the insane.
‘If you touch her, she shudders’, said Dr Wright. ‘What did you touch the beast with?’, asked Dr Fraud. ‘We just scratched at her with a stick, it was like she’d scratched herself’. ‘Did you draw blood?’ ‘No, her back was merely prodded gently and the skin raised’.
‘Any other reaction?’, asked Dr Fraud. ‘A delayed burst of tears’ said Dr Wright.
‘An immature reaction, another hysterical case’ said Dr Fraud.
The fraternity’s doctrine had been set out in their book of acceptable behaviours. To shirk off the attention of a lab master was unacceptable. To flounce out of an assessment because of a crying spurt was unacceptable. To question the motivations and ability of a lab master was unacceptable – by any wayward woman.
The lab masters called her the Beast. She performed her role of the Hysterixx day in and day out. She was named Cow. She was named Pussy. She was named Bitch. She was named Dog. She was named Rat. Her name was Berthe.
Hex and Lex were teenagers when they were called to the Lab. Like Berthe and her companions, they were too young to know the consequences of their actions. The system played them right into the hands of the lab masters.
If the wayward girls hadn’t been picked out by the fraternity, they would have been employed as creatives. Not rejected by the respectable as mental defectives.
‘Are we the Hysterixx defective?’, said Hex. ‘Are we women lacking something?’ ‘Does the wayward woman lack a sense of humour?’ said Lex. ‘Or does she just want out?’.
Getting out is impossible. We can only work our way to the edges. To be almost forgotten. To be overlooked. As the lab rules out into the community. The lab is not working for us. It is working in perpetuity to grow the lab industry.
If only the Hysterixx could disappear; to live a life unconstrained by the lab masters and their doctrine.
Your ears are sealed in fear, as you dread being taken into the lab. No one dares listen to the lab rat’s tales.
We are the Hysterixx. Tearful and frightened. Incarcerated. Lost. Hurt. Our self-made scars. Scars of anger and frustration.
Our female rage is our strength. It is unacceptable, suppressed. As girls we learn to blame ourselves. The fraternity tells us we are individually to blame for all the harms inflicted upon us. We are strong, but blamed for the harm done to us, and our response to this harm. Blamed for immature weeping episodes. Blamed for angry cries or secretive cutting sessions. We are blamed and told we are disordered. Blamed for being mentally defective.
The fraternity’s experiment; a historically hysterical science. Fraudulent theories of sexology entwined with the therapeutic treatments incarcerating women’s minds. The blame game.
Talking with the fraternity cannot cure us, but it can condemn us. Blamed for not answering. Blamed for silence. Blamed for speaking out and asserting our anger.
Women do not lack anything, but the power to challenge the eternal fraternity.
We are the Hysterixx, and we are not laughing.
Slowslowzo makes zines and is currently compiling a mad storyzine ‘don’t swallow the hysteriazine’. You can find her zines at: slowslowzo.blogspot.com Instagram: @zoezzz197