Monday, February 20, 2006

us and them

i very often find, when discussing something like patriarchy, that people who believe it’s a non-issue come up with a line like “why don’t you do something for homeless children or dalit women instead of spending so much time on feminism and antipatriarchy?”. other than the fact that feminist concerns include the very same homeless children and dalit women – its not an either-or – that’s just a rotten way of trying to fragment the community of women again.

Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defence of women-hating. – Andrea Dworkin

buddy-bonding amongst men is so strongly built-in in a patriarchal society, that typically, when a woman is in trouble and turns to the man she knows personally, he often ends up trying to find every conceivable excuse he can to absolve the perpetrator of whatever crime – anything rather than acknowledge that yes, the woman has been hurt, and her rights violated.

a decent guy would feel upset and bothered that he's being forced to take such a call - he shouldn’t, it isn’t fair on him - but it’s a minority who feel secure enough about their masculinity to respect the person before the system and say to hell with the pseudo-macho stereotypes thrust on men.

so at the end of the day we have decent men feeling miserable because theyre coerced into non-choices like that, and women feeling traumatised because they don’t get support or respect from even the men they know.

patriarchal conditioning runs so deep, that sometimes, even women turn against each other and ask the same stupid questions like “what were you wearing that he was tempted to rape you?”. when women put womenkind first – before a race, economic class, country, caste or religion, we move much closer to helping each other and getting somewhere.

The sight of women talking together has always made men uneasy; nowadays it means rank subversion. - Germaine Greer

...... which is naturally why we women keep being taught to be hostile to each other. from the institutionalised mother-in-law daughter-in-law fights, to the stories of female bosses being bitches, we are regularly bombarded with messages about how two women who are talented and intelligent cannot get along well and how they will inevitably fight, gossip viciously and slander each other - and such a total lack of sense and maturity is “normal” and commonly accepted.

also posted on sthreeling.



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