Ask the Grumpies: How do you defeat the patriarchy?

Rumpus asks:

So you blame the patriarchy. I think I get that, even in my mostly befuddled state. I dislike unjust treatment, especially when people are making it unjust. I still don’t get what to do about it. What do you do to make things better? And where do you draw the line between helping things be more just versus becoming labeled and then disregarded?

If we knew the answer, we’d do it!

One thing we can do is examine our own words and actions and question implicit assumptions that other people show through their words and actions.  We can gently or not so gently educate.  We can refuse to feel guilty for being awesome, and let people know that we refuse.  We can encourage other people to find their own awesome.  Sometimes we can do this without being labeled, and sometimes people will label us and ignore us.  But we can still keep pushing, because it is the right thing to do and sometimes it is all we can do.

Gumpy Nation:  How do you battle the patriarchy?

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10 Responses to “Ask the Grumpies: How do you defeat the patriarchy?”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    Grumpy Nation..I like that.

    I think the best thing you can do is just be damn good at what you do. No one can question your inferiority when you are a superstar and rock this world. Performance is key. Don’t go blaming the patriarchy until you can look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re doing your best and doing a great job of it. Yes, that means that minorities often have to work a little harder, but I think it’s the most effective weapon.

    -Don’t give the patriarchy ammo to prove their point.
    -Don’t whine about not getting ahead because of the patriarchy when you’re not working at 110%
    -Do clarify misunderstandings or assumptions about your life. (For example, suddenly I became a person who didn’t want to travel once I had kids…I had to clarify that wasn’t the case. It was an assumption made for me based on someone else’s ideal of me as a spouse and mother).
    -Do participate in affinity groups. – (this allows patriarchy to feel they have control over your actions and changes you demand as a people. affinity groups are a controlled and contained environment to talk about that stuff and changes to policies usually need to be reviewed and approved by leadership. patriarchy likes that because they still have control, but we like it because it still can be used as an effective instrument for change).
    -Do help your peers..don’t feel like they are your competition. (pet peeve, when chicks are competitive an catty with other chicks instead of propping each other up).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I agree with a lot of your points, but I wish we didn’t have to work 110% to be seen as equal. That’s not sustainable. Having to over-work to fill society’s standards is one way the patriarchy keeps women down. They get exhausted and have nothing left for themselves. IBTP!

  2. feMOMhist (@feMOMhist) Says:

    f^cking up the patriarchy is a full time job. Thankfully it is mine, and I have many fun ways to do this.

    In the classroom, blowing the minds of the young is both amusing for me and edifying for them. Offer ways for them to question their basic assumptions about patriarchal mo-fos, gendered expectations, sexualized norms etc. Fair warning, they may resent the hell out of you, and your evals may suffer.

    Being married and having a family offer a wealth of opportunities for . For example, alternate naming practices often cause considerable consternation among the patriarchalized peeps who will decry in great alarm and horror ” BUT BUT BUT” allowing for many fine moments of consciousness-raising. Again, fair warning, they may write you off as some crazy feminist, but since in my case it is true, they may as well.

  3. bogart Says:

    I too BTP but get most riled when I see the (literal) violence it perpetuates and tolerates.

    It’s not a perfect answer, but I’m drawn to Swistle’s recently described Spite Charity (that’s a type of charity rather than a call to action) http://swistle.blogspot.com/2012/02/spite-charity.html ; as in (per feMOMhist above): question my naming conventions, and I’ll give money to — well, fill in the blank, and I need to research this, but organizations that assist victims of (e.g.) sexual violence, that help women gain financial independence from men, and so forth. Or, heck, just plain old Planned Parenthood.

    Not *the* answer, but one small way to respond.

  4. femmefrugality Says:

    By making them realize just how weak and pathetic they really are…so threatened by someone else’s potential that they need to continually shut them down. I used my not-so-gentle words most of the time. Maybe that’s sinking down to their level. But it seems to work.

  5. Cloud Says:

    Hmmm. I guess I take two approaches. One is trying to ensure equality within my own relationship, and speaking honestly about how that equality is possible- because that is a perspective that I think gets left out even from a lot of feminist discussions about the issue.

    And the other is sort of an “undermine it from within” approach. I don’t make a lot of waves about inequality or sexism in my workplace. But, I do speak up to fix problems. My most recent example of this is that I spoke up to get a better “mother’s room” planned into a building renovation my company is doing. I was apparently the only person senior enough to see the plans who had ever used a mother’s room, and so knew to tell them “no, you need data ports in there” and things like that.

    And, of course, I’m raising my two girls to be strong and independent. Even if they like princesses.

  6. Funny about Money Says:

    if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

    Shootin’ range, anyone?


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