Doing Woman Different-Wendy O Williams

There are many reasons to abhor normal-an innate sense of being different, its tediousness, its cookie cutter madness, its shear boredom and its prison with no visible bars. But by far one of the worst aspects of normal is its ability to normalize child sexual abuse through the guise of the nuclear family. For some female survivors of child sexual abuse the only way to live a normal life after the abuse is to live as unnormal as possible. This was the case for Wendy O Williams who left home at age sixteen because she could no longer endure the brutality of her normal family.
Wendy Orlean Williams was born May 28, 1949 in upstate New York. Outside what appeared to be a general middle class background, specific details of Wendy's home life are unknown. But judging from her vehemence against normal and her highly charged and displayed sexuality and its focus,  the likelihood that Wendy hadnt suffered sexual abuse at the hands of someone close her (her father?) are slim to none. Sadly Wendy showed classic signs of childhood sexual abuse, beginning abruptly with leaving home in the middle of her 10th grade year.

Wendy drifted (hitchhiked) around the country selling homemade crafts and whatnots, and briefly drifted around Europe doing the same but eventually found herself back in the states in NYC in the mid 70's. After bouncing around from doing live sex theater, soft porn and a stink on a pornofied game show, Wendy was recruited into the punk rock band the Plasmatics. Wendy's concert performances consisted of her chainsawing televisions and other consumeristic appliances in coloured mohawks, black taped nipples and occasionally simulating masturbation scenes. Performances that not only garnered attention and criticism but jail time.

In the mid 80's Wendy embarked on a solo career, including acting in the now cult classic film Reform School Girls. By the early 90's Wendy was ready for retirement and moved to Connecticut with her long term boyfriend. Regardless of how many TVs, toasters or Cadillac's Wendy hacked up and demolished, she could never get at the IDEA of normal behind blind consumerism and the uselessness of things over nature, over life that dazzled and mesmerized normal people. She could also never saw out or saw off the normal (child sexual abuse) that haunted her or the centuries of other females whose lives were challenged, harmed or ruined by normal.

In 1993, Wendy made a serious attempt to surgically remove normal from her life/body by hammering a knife into her chest. When the knife caught on her sternum she panicked, changed her mind and contacted her b/f to get her to a hospital. In 1997 Wendy again tried to die, this time unsuccessfully overdosing. Despite her efforts to exploit, excise and exercise her family's normal from her life, despite her natural food activism and commitment to wildlife, a year later in 1998 Wendy left a note and gifts to the living, walked out into nearby woods and shot herself.

Wendy O Williams did woman different-she went beyond internalizing familial sexual abuse, to externalizing how NORMAL and pervasive the sexual abuse of girls and women are. Wendy challenged her audience to contemplate why the rape and murder of females is normal in our society, but chainsawing the instruments fueling/disguising rape and murder is abnormal. Much of Wendy's life was noisy. If you dont make noise how else is anyone going to hear you. Wendy O Williams didnt blow her brains out alone in the woods so that no one would hear, she did it to finally make a loud enough BANG so that her voice could finally be heard.

I hear you Wendy, LOUD and CLEAR.



  1. I love your "doing woman different" series...another excellent entry on a woman I didn't even hear of until now.

    It's rare for someone who is aggressively sexual in public to NOT have a history of sexual abuse. In fact, a common symptoms of sexual abuse in both boys and girls is excessive friendliness towards strangers (in particular girls being overly friendly to strange men), having an inappropriate interest in, or knowledge of, sexual topics at an early age, etc. But don't tell that to the lib fems. I tried and guess what? I was accused of slut-shaming toddlers. Yup you heard that!

  2. This is one of the most brilliant things I have ever read, Dirt. Thank you.
    I met Wendy on two occasions--once in a grocery store and another in a tattoo parlor (I was there to meet a friend). Wendy was polite and kind but had a great loneliness to her. But don't we all? Still, I got the impression that she was dissociated from the rest of us. I'm not saying that in a false, clinical b.s. psychiatric scolding, but in a purely intuitive and empathetic feeling as a woman meeting another woman.

    I did not like her performances as a street porn performer, however--she did exploit her body and often dressed as a girl child. So she was not exactly the maverick you think she was in terms of exposing the terrorism against females.

    She was a troubled soul who tried to work out her issues the best way she knew how, I guess.

    1. I dont disagree with you. But I do think conscious or unconscious her veering away from "normal" was in effort for her own survival and later graphically illustrate the UGLY SICK truths that lie behind "normal". And for that I will forever applaud her.


  3. love your "doing woman different"


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