“Hunger’s Truth” by AJ Fitzwater (9788 words)
No Spoilers: Danyor is a woman with a hunger, with the drive to bite into male flesh. To taste it. To savor it. But she’s a good girl. She goes on Daddy Dates every week. In public she follows the laws that state where she can go and how many men must be present. She nods along to all of daddy’s wisdoms, and never talks back. She would never get caught in an illegal bite bar where women indulge in their desires. And certainly wouldn’t be pulled into a world of resistance and Change in order to push back against the tyranny she lives under and reclaim something that has been taken from her. A name. A woman. A mother. The piece is unsettling, building a world that has stepped way right (though let me say not unrealistically so given the rhetoric common today) in terms of women’s right. The story shows a resistance hiding in plain sight, a truth being carried by women and men and people who refuse to let the lies into their hearts. Who refuse to embrace their own subjugation. It’s bloody and certainly difficult at times in its themes and content, but it’s also a roaring story full of power and fury, compassion and change.
Keywords: Teeth, Resistance, CW- Misogyny,
Review: Well this is a...biting read. Bwahahaha okay it’s really not that funny but I have to laugh at something because wow is this a dark and dense and sharp story about oppression and hunger. About how people with marginalized genders are taught and conditioned to suppress themselves. To erase themselves. To strive for success by the terms laid out by the powerful and corrupt—by the patriarchy. Which seeks to define women’s strengths as subservience and quietude. That seeks to deny them their hunger, their drives, and make them into beings who cannot defend themselves or fight back against their abuse. It’s a wonderful world building that makes the setting come alive, so like our own world but with small flourishes and changes (the way that teeth work, and the level of technology) that imply either a different world or a future where things work quite differently. It’s a mirror to our world, though, and the opinions and attempts at stripping rights from women and those who are invested in creating a world with more choices for everyone free of coercion.
And the teeth! I love the way the story layers the way that women have to hide their teeth, have to alter themselves to fit the standards and comfort of men, who still punish them for having teeth at all, for being born, for any number of offenses. And I love that there are underground bite bars, that Danyor gets drawn into this deeper movement because she’s dissatisfied, because she can’t repress her hunger fully, because a part of her, despite all the bullshit that she’s internalized her entire life, knows that the system is wrong and unfair and as scared as she is of defying Daddy, she also remembers what happened to her mother, the violence and care and the promise she made then. And the piece does a nice job building up her involvement in this movement, keeping her balanced between the life that she’s always felt she should be comfortable with because of her wealth and “safety,” and the hunger that cannot be sated with anything less than justice. With freedom. The piece goes to some very dark places but I don’t feel it does so lightly or without respect. The subject matter is often disturbing, but only because it is supposed to be, because this kind of treatment of people is disturbing. And when a person is forced to chew and chew and chew their own dreams and aspirations and pain, it has a way of filing down their teeth, making them sharp, capable of tearing through the barriers keeping them from what they need. And it’s a rending, visceral story that is very much worth spending some careful time with. A great read!