“I always think that females are insiders, and that female rebellion starts someplace where you’re really trapped…” - Eileen Myles
Sheila: Can you explain what you meant when you wrote that females are insiders?
Eileen: It started with that idea of males being outsiders, which I had been fed for a long time – the idea that the male artist is howling outside of the culture. He is transcendent, omnipotent, or you know, just a rebel; the institutions can’t hold him. And my own female existence was often about trying to imitate a male existence, because all the images of artists I had were of men, so how could I be like that? How could I be Kerouac? But then persistently seeing that in On The Road the girls were jumping off the roof, the girls were fading into the background. And if I really thought about my female existence, it was very much about what it felt like to be in the Myles family, what it felt like to me at my job – feeling oppressed by who had a crush on me, or who didn’t. Institutions seemed to be places where women were sort of held and prodded, and I would have to figure out my freedom from in there. So often it was a hollow pain; the pain of being inside, not the yop of freedom of being outside. Whether I was in a mental hospital or in a job as a camp counsellor, I was institutionalized. So it began to seem like to get wild and crazy would be to say what that really looked like. To really camp out in being female and say how it is.