Ask the Grumpies: How do you defeat the patriarchy?

Feb 24 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

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.

Scientopia readers:  How do you battle the patriarchy?

8 responses so far

  • Zuska says:

    No matter how careful & nuanced you are you will always find someone eager to label & marginalize you. Some of the best advice on this topic that I am aware of can be found in Audre Lorde's essay "The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action". And as she notes therein "Your silence will not protect you".

  • The thing about patriarchy is that human beings living in it can no more "defeat" it than fish can defeat water.

  • Comrade PhysioProf says:

    No one said anything about giving up. There are lots of things people can do to limit the pernicious effects of patriarchy.

    • But, instead of suggesting any, you just say it's impossible to defeat. So, really, why bother? We are all just fish unable to survive without the loving embrace of patriarchal privilege. You know, in your analogy. Even though a more apt analogy would be something like changing the ph of the water. And not as fish, but as human beings with mental capacities and free will and so on. Probably an even better analogy would be humans getting rid of pollutants in the air.

      Ok, CPP, back to the original question: How do you battle the patriarchy? What things can people do "to limit the pernicious effects of patriarchy"?

  • becca says:

    Well, today I'm fighting it by sending a note to my state representatives about PA HB1077.
    Not that I expect it to do much good. My state rep (Payne) is one of the misogynists introducing the dang thing! Although at least I don't have Readshaw. *shudder*

    (NB: explanation of why Readshaw is a jackhole: http://amaditalks.tumblr.com/post/18156955975/on-tuesday-after-liveblogging-my-read-through-of)

  • Explain to people every single time exactly how it is that while they think they are doing something that is "neutral" or in accordance with "human nature" or "how things are done", they are actually participating in the patriarchal system of oppression. This includes such things as getting married, having children and raising them in a heterosexual or homosexual marriage, putting pants on their sons and dresses on their daughters, working for a company, buying food at a store, giving or getting a blow jobbe/hand jobbe, working as a faculty member in a university, etc.