Since starting this blog I’ve become a lot more aware of the patriarchy. I don’t have any formal feminist training, and not much previous exposure except through #2. (#2 keeps sending links and rants, though.)
However, working on this blog has put me in contact with a lot of fantastic bloggers who have, through discussions and explanations, opened my eyes.
The problem with being aware of the patriarchy is that it makes me angry. In the past, when I would come across someone being an -ist asshat, but not an overt -ist asshat, I’d feel that something was wrong and not be able to put my finger on it. I’d counter any empirical claims that were untrue, but didn’t really understand the structure of why the asshat was making those claims and how even making obviously untrue claims is supporting the patriarchy.
I get a lot more angry these days. I see how the patriarchy is causing guilt, inequality, inferiority and keeping people down. If I point it out, sometimes I’m silenced, and that makes me angry and sad.
But, at the same time, I wouldn’t ask my eyes to be closed again. Although I burn more frequently with righteous anger, and complain more to #2 and to my partner… I don’t feel half as insecure about things the patriarchy keeps people insecure about as I used to. More and more I’m recognizing the cues that are supposed to make me feel bad or guilty and from achieving and I’m rejecting them. The senior professor for whom I keep quiet about my research because it makes him feel bad that he’s no longer doing research… saving his feelings doesn’t help me, and comes back to bite me when he tells me I’m not living up to my earlier promise. Nor do I need to let him have the only good RA year after year just because he’s a senior professor and an old white male to boot (especially when the most junior is supposed to get hir first pick… Update: he got the good RA anyway. Asshat.). That’s just the latest realizations. It’s not my job to save people’s feelings by denigrating or denying myself. I don’t have to feel guilty for my work/family/etc. situation.
I conclude with a recent exchange with #2.
me: most of all, you know what I hate?
me : summer heat
#2: oh, that too
hate hate hate
me: if only we could make the patriarchy stay outside in the heat
“you be useful and mow the lawn”
“that’s a manly thing to do”
me: I will allow the patriarchy to mow my lawn.
#2: fair enough. Since that’s what makes you have to have it instead of xeriscaping like a sane being.
Have you had an eye opening experience like this one?