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    Entrenched patriarchal attitudes and norms are the enemy.  Pervasive, ‘invisible’, and yet ubiquitous.  The battles that must be undertaken are fraught with notion of the permanence of patriarchy and how unassailable it seems.

It isn’t.   Just reaching one person and showing them the way is a victory, savour it and use it to power the next task at hand.

I felt as if I had to put a little inspiration before this quote of the day, as it is a bit on the disheartening side, but necessary to see the breadth of the task at hand.

“The female “gender-blenders” interviewed by Devor (1989) can help us see how women’s ambivalence about being female usually tends to reinforce patriarchy. These women clearly identified with men. They dressed like men, and they viewed women as most men view women— inferior. They showed strong devaluation of femaleness and of the subordinate behaviors assigned to women by the male-dominant culture. Their strong rejection of the feminine role for themselves was related to their strong acceptance of the message, presented to them by older family members, that females are sexual objects, are subordinate, and are deficient in comparison to men.

 It is probably impossible for women not to internalize men’s denigration of femaleness and femininity to some extent. For example, both the women who adopt the feminine role for themselves and the genderblenders described by Devor have internalized the notion that females are subordinate. Neither group questions male culture’s definition of femaleness and femininity. The gender-blender challenges the belief that she is a subordinate but not the belief that women as a group are subordinate.”

Dee L. Graham with Edna I. Rawlings and Roberta. K. Rigsby, Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence, and Women’s Lives (1995), p.167-168. [PDF]

   I hate it when people say stuff that rings true and hits close to home.

  “A word about my personal philosophy.  It is anchored in optimism.  It must be, for optimism brings with it hope, a future with purpose, and therefore, a will to fight for a better world.  Without this optimism, there is no reason to carry on.  If we think of the struggle as a climb up a mountain, then we must visualize a mountain with no top.  We see a top, but when we finally reach it, the overcast rises and we find ourselves merely on a bluff.  The mountain continues on up.  Now we see the ‘real’ top ahead of us, and strive for it, only to find we’ve reached another bluff, and the top still above us.  And so it goes on, interminably.

    Knowing that the mountain has no top, that it is a perpetual quest from plateau to plateau, the question arises, “Why the struggle, the conflict, the heartbreak, the danger, the sacrifice.  Why the constant climb?”  Our answer is the same as that which a real mountain climber gives when he is asked why he does what he does.  “Because it is there.”

   Because life is there ahead of you and either one tests oneself in its challenges or huddles away in the valleys in a dreamless day-to-day existence who only purpose is the preservation of an illusory security and safety.  The latter is what the vast majority of people choose to do, fearing the adventure into the unknown.  Paradoxically, they give up the dream of what may lie ahead on the heights of tomorrow for a perpetual nightmare – and endless succession of days fearing the loss of a tenuous security. “

    -Saul D. Alinsky.  Rules for Radicals p. 20 – 21

fish“The oppressive effect of privilege is often so insidious that dominant groups complain whenever it’s brought up for discussion. They feel impatient and imposed on. “Come on,” they say, “stop whining. Things aren’t that bad. Maybe they used to be, but not anymore. It’s time to move on. Get over it” But people who are white or heterosexual or male or nondisabled or middle- or upper-class have to ask themselves how they would know how bad it really is to be a person of color or a lesbian or a woman or gay or disabled or working- or lower-class. What life experience, for example, would qualify a white person to know the day-to-day reality of racism? People of color are, by comparison, experts in the dynamics of race privilege, because they live with the oppressive consequences of it twenty-four hours a day.”
— Allan G. Johnson

026_IdentityPoliticsScholar and feminist activist Jasmine Curcio addresses this polemic and the domination of men in leftist politics, especially around issues pertaining to feminism:

“And so many years on, feminist discussions around the left continue to be subtly dominated by men and their perspective, with the aid of theoretical frameworks that marked disdain towards feminism in decades past. Men have become gatekeepers of feminist discussion, and many debates take place with ignorance, disdain, and sometimes subtle tactics of bullying. Phenomena that lie outside of the bourgeois-proletarian contradiction are not really taken on board as material facts, but either made to fit with constructed orthodoxy or they are discarded.”

Paradoxically, when women point this out, the reality of sexism bites back and they are regarded as “bitches,” “whores,” and even shut down both on social media and in public forums. 


  “Even pretending you aren’t catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you’re unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.”

— Margaret Atwood, The Robber Bride


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