Translation by Morwenna Symons
I am a company – and a successful one, as everyone can see. I consist of three floors, each with eleven rooms, each of these with twelve desks. Which makes a total of 396 desks. Added to this there is the cleaning staff plus an in-house technician, a caretaker and several in-house network workers. The building is frequented by many people. Couriers bring the customers' documents and work materials. The customers themselves come and work with the employees, and countless willing workers turn up every day looking for a job.
I pay well. I've employed cooks, renovated the terrace, if it's nice weather lunch can be eaten outside.
The people's work is first-rate. It takes two to three years before an employee has been trained and put to use efficiently. I'm tending to employ more men again, as women leave more often. No sooner are they employed and trained up than they say they are pregnant and the hunt for someone else begins again. All men should have to take paternity leave to balance out the difference.
Unfortunately forcing people isn't the solution. With the women, you can see it's been going on for thousands of years. They are getting worse and worse at bringing up their children. And these days their eating habits are getting worse and worse, too. Fatter and fatter shapes are trying to sign up here with me. I'm revolted by all the fat stretching the lazy skin, by the women stuffing their skin full of all that insalivated comfort food, filling me up. I loathe this sort of employee, the sort that won't keep their gobs shut unless the cooks are preparing constant piles of roast pork and other fatty dishes to stuff them with.
Because these lazy slugs call me a fat pig, just because I take them in and pay them well, because the company has a good turnover, and so I also skim off enough profit, I presume that I rouse them to envy and cannibalistic lust. I don't like hiring the fat guys. There's the risk of being gobbled up from inside if they are happy as a pig in shit. At the front entrance of the company I've installed a pair of weighing scales. Everyone who comes in saying they're willing to work passes over these scales. The scales are hidden under the floor and I can read the weight off on my computer. In my experience, a body that has ten percent more weight on it than the ideal weight of a body is the ideal body for my firm. These bodies are rarely fat, but neither are they thin. They have not yet succumbed to the idleness of prosperity. I make a weekly check on the weight of the employees as well, when they leave the company, and so can calculate the performance rating in terms of eating and discipline by looking at the difference between Monday and Tuesday. Of course, the emptying times and weights are also estimated and taken into account. The ones that have got too much weight on them are invited for a chat. Likewise the ones that haven't got enough. Then I try to appeal to their conscience, and in order to trigger a few pangs of remorse, I am a sympathetic firm, which causes even lean figures, who don't want to give anything of themselves away or accept anything, who keep everything to themselves and don't exchange anything, to soften up and put on a few kilos of fat and expose themselves in workshop role-plays. Looking into a person is something no one can do, but luring a person out of themselves does function, and then it makes everything much quicker and less violent.
Women are much more revealing and generous in how they expose themselves, which makes them seem particularly cheap in my eyes. Women only shut themselves off in particular situations, and when they have shut themselves off, you can knock on the door and be nice and proffer whatever present you like towards them, and they are still unreachable when they are bound up in private. Then you can take a pair of scissors and try and cut through the cords that bind them, but you'll only make the scissors blunt, for the cords are tough and lasting, and the woman will only be yours again when the cords are so tense that they rip apart of their own accord, or when the woman is let free with a snap and struck by the cords as they spring back at her, leaving her lying wounded on the floor outside your door. Then you can do what you want with her. She is a body that no longer carries any weight. She goes through the back entrance, where there aren't any scales set into the floor, because it doesn't matter now anyway. From now on she eats out of my hand and not from the plate that sits on the table in the company kitchen and that is brought in and taken away by the cooks, I feed this weightless body before everyone's eyes, an act of humiliation which stops all the rest of them from ever going so far as to get themselves entangled in the cords. As far as they're concerned, I'm the reliable safety net.
As long as the body of the woman is tied to having children, it remains its own prisoner. It cannot be independent or assert its own identity whilst a giant parasite is sucking away its vital energy. If at one time we were dependent on the woman as a supplier, now she's completely in our hands, because reproduction happens automatically and the woman is empowered to do something. I have nothing against the woman's body being rid of children, nothing against the woman dewomanising herself, getting rid of her difference, because at last it means that she is subject to the same rights and duties. No one is just given the gift of life, everyone pays the price for the right to be alive. So why should she be able to give life just like that? It is something that has to be fought for. She should fight her way into my company and impregnate me with her fighting fitness instead of giving birth.
Men have been good right from the word go, because they couldn't care less about their child, which isn't why I prefer them, but it just means that they are better suited to the job. Outside the company, I don't much appreciate people who push things to the back of their mind, but I wouldn't like to do without them either, because if I do my job well as a company, the ones that can push their thoughts away will have the character to push their way in, and I will absorb all these energies into me. I keep myself going by breeding. First I am a female-friendly company and rack up the women prepared to make the most sacrifice, and after that it makes no difference if they are women or men. I swap women for men either way. Eventually we end up with men and don't have to keep on airing these gender differences. At some point we'll have unisex toilets, and then there won't have been any point in my having separated the toilets to conform to binary regulations.
And at some point we won't have any man either, just the person that dares to get in the ring with me and fight till doomsday. It is hopeless fighting against me, because unlike my employees, who spend their time battling against being worn out or sacked by me, I, as a juridical person, am immortal. I can be battered, corroded, liquidated and sued, but no one can lock me up because I don't have my own body, just floors and floors of employees, each with a body in my service. I don't have to worry about myself, I can disappear and reformulate myself anew whenever I want. But the employees with their permanent bodies are bound to place and time, and they work by way of these coordinates, in the Here and Now, existence has to be justified.
Now I have been rambling on, talking about my power. But what power do you have? You can deny me what you want. As a company I am genderless and patient. My vital interest lies in preserving the sexes, so that I can remain genderless, believe me. That may sound paradoxical to you, but that is just life, we always need the opposite of ourselves. Everything is right just the way it is, ladies and gentlemen, you don't need to start being anxious, all you have to do is invent a secret cell where you can operate, discretely of course, so no one notices, but in a lobbyistic and socially competent fashion. Get involved in conversation, be a body that carries weight. It is this awareness that lies at the root of my company's success, we can't let the difference escape us. I like it when people laugh about me, and don't take my seeming doubts and supposed blue-eyed naivety on the matter seriously. I am a machine whose function is to realise things, ladies and gentlemen, and I would like to be visible, not to say, to live as a natural person. That sometimes calls for strong words.