Goodbye Patriarchy, Hello Whatever

I'm writing on the morning of The Woman's testimony for the Kavanaugh hearings. Terrified for Dr. Blasey as she faces the "female assistant" who will torment her on behalf of the squad of Republican men, I am ready for the world as we know it to fall apart. 

My own patriarchal world has been disintegrating. At some point in adulthood I faced the inevitable disappointment: Daddy doesn't get me. I love him anyway, though, and wish him well. But as anyone who has been in therapy knows, knowing who your real father is doesn't eliminate the introject. Subtly I've been constructing myself for the male gaze all my life and checking myself in his mirror. Recently I broke up with a man on whom I placed all my longing to be seen and appreciated and loved. Naturally he couldn't do it. He was busy wanting all that from me, not to mention trying to help and teach me. The more he helped the weaker I felt. 

When I extricated myself I was shattered, grieving and terrified that no man would ever love me as I am, forgetting that love is available elsewhere. Weeks later I am on the solid ground of groundless experience, free to be a subject instead of an object. In Fountain of Oldth, I featured the stories of women who were freed by the invisibility of old age, but I guess I didn't want to be free yet, didn't want to be an outcast from the patriarchy, thought I could be a player. 

Women are losers in this game but we don't want to see it. Layers and layers of adaptation, like deformities, create new structures. A woman I work with told me her martyred mother was deeply passive aggressive. Is there any martyred woman who isn't? When we don't have direct power, we take it where we can. Pretty women are not aware of the power of beauty until it fades, and they ride that crest believing that things are available because of their merits. Old women, desperate to recover what they lost, carve up their faces or freeze them, but men still prefer the 35-year olds. Such is heterosexual normative life in the patriarchy. If you are a man reading this, please know that I do not blame you. I know that patriarchy has hobbled you too but this post is not for you. 

What happens if women themselves turn away from the centrality of men? Women can love women; many of us are fluid and can define beauty according to what actually exists. Women can run for office, not just vote for some old man who says the right things sometimes. We can stop trying to convince men to see us or hear us and just do what needs to be done.

What needs to be done? Please. Do whatever feels most important to you. Read Rebecca Traister on the rage of women and revolution. Listen to Gaelyn Roshi's excellent talk at the Zendo: speaking the truth is more important right now than trying to be polite about it. Question your conditioning. Question everything. It's a new world.

September 2018


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Reader Comments (2)

Kavanaugh is key because he has ticked tricked and trickled out arguments for the President to be able to fire agency people at will.
". . . sensible principle dictates that we hold the line and not allow encroachments on the President’s removal power."
is a line he has oft repeated. People (like Brett) love to surrender to Power, suborn their talents, and self-immolate (or simply whine theatrically) . . .

We await the matriarchy's return

September 28, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterdarko x

Is it retro to propose "Goodbye, Patriarchy––Hello, Sisterhood!" ?
For those of us women who came of age in the '70s, there was a most marvelous awakening. Hard times prompted us to rub our eyes and really see one another for the first time. The days were desperate yet we danced ecstatic. Let's turn our focus away from the tearful rage of boo-hoo-Brett Kavanaugh and instead gaze again upon each other, creating not just a Women's Movement but a Movement of Women streaming towards one other, in groups intimate and large. The ecstatic, tempest-tossed dance of a mighty river, metaphorical and physical. The mutability of water harnessed into strength. Water = Life; Joy into Action. More intimate discussion etc. groups not sheltering under umbrella groups of patriarchal design. Let’s start again from the earth up. Let’s start with each other.

November 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCuspOfTheHudson

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