Saturday, January 12, 2013

Patriarchy Spiraling Down, In Its Death Throes

The bad effects of having so little representation of feminist values in the cabals that make decisions that all of us must live with are increasingly evident.

The rape of the Earth, as in this Hellish operation in North Dakota, or as depicted in this map of fracking accidents, are just two examples of an enormous global problem.
source: EarthJustice.org "Because the earth needs a good lawyer."
The superheating of the planet is evidence of patriarchy in action, as in this example where Australian children and their grandmother cling together in a body of water to escape temperatures so high they required a new color on the weather maps.
photo source: AP Photo/Holmes Family
Guarded over by their grandfather who is taking the photos, it is fitting that they have the appearance of white Europeans who took over land stewardship in the fragile ecological system of Australia that had endured since African descendants arrived on foot over 30,000 years ago.

White European culture is all about patriarchal control. That's why it must fund vicious misogyny in the Middle East, to make itself look benign by comparison (and create the chaos that enables resource grabbing, of course).

Top down management has resulted in governments that are the best corporate lobbyists can buy, corporations that destroy the very ground they live upon in order to generate short term profits.

Another of its results: rape culture.

I blogged earlier this week about the Oscar-nominated film The Invisible War, which is about decades of rape culture in all branches of the U.S. military. It's a pattern of abuse.

Arundhati Roy speaks eloquently of the class and gender politics in India that result in New Delhi being known as the rape capital of the world even prior to the gruesome rape and murder of a female medical student kidnapped along with her escort by a van posing as a bus.

Now comes the hacktivist collective Anonymous with a full release of the Steubenville rape video which constitutes part of the online evidence of gang rape of a drugged 16 year old girl by members of a high school football team. Others, most notably blogger Alexandria Goddard, have offered the rest of the evidence including a photo of the girl being carried as if she were a slain deer. Carried from party to party to be raped repeatedly.
And then the bragging began. You can read DemocracyNow! reporting on it, or view the full 12 minute video of braggart here.

Many who have viewed the video warned that is is revolting, best viewed in small doses. I found it disturbing but less than shocking. For one thing, there are protests off camera from more than one young man objecting to the de-humanizing statements being made, urging the braggart to develop his empathy.

I've been around adolescent males much of my life, so his attitude is not too surprising. What struck me is that it could be used as a textbook study of bullying and what fuels it: the show-off who thinks he is hilarious, enabled by the sycophant (in this case the boy behind the camera) who laughs at everything whether funny or not, and eggs the bully on when he starts to wind down, and fuels the whole performance with his adulation.

From working in schools I know that current thinking on bullying is that, while bullies must experience consequences, don't make the mistake of thinking that will stop bullying. Sadistic behavior is its own reward, and is often addictive (a point made tellingly in The Invisible War). It is the bystanders who hold the key to disrupting the dynamic; the victim often does not have the resources to stop it -- unless he goes home and gets his older brother's shotgun, as happened in the latest school shooting, at Taft High School in California.

So here's the connection to patriarchal culture: the prevalence of hyper-masculine violence as entertainment and glorification of our way of life is the very air the current crop of jocks and soldiers have breathed from infancy. All human beings have both violent and compassionate impulses. Which ones does a culture support and develop? Winner take all, eat or be eaten, dog eat dog, alpha males intimidating their so-called inferiors -- women, children, and "weaker" males by definition -- are the signature style of the sick culture of the U.S. Empire and its outposts.

Commandeering the airwaves to drown out other voices is just one aspect of the problem, albeit a very powerful one.

Seeing the women who sell out to become mouthpieces of such a system is just sad. Check out The Invisible War segments of Susan Collins or Chellie Pingree or DOD spokeswomen to see what I mean.

Seeing the men who are the refuseniks -- Bradley Manning, the husbands and fathers in The Invisible War, or the hacktivist "X" who leaked the Steubenville brag video confirms what we all know -- there is much goodness in men as individuals. It is the sick system allowing sadistic alpha males to control our common resources that is the underlying and very real, very urgent problem.

It is time for patriarchy to step down before this planet is no longer habitable. It is time for all who hold feminist values to withdraw our cooperation from this system.

If you are in Maine or nearby, consider joining a Feminist Values GA-style discussion in Augusta on Saturday, January 26 at the Pine Tree State Arboretum. Small groups of diverse people will discuss how to free ourselves collectively from the death grip of patriarchy. This is 19th in a series of Changing Maine Gatherings. More details are here.

Revised 5:10pm EST - Could not resist including this bit of evidence from the ongoing disaster of NATO/US occupation in Afghanistan where soldiers have murdered, raped, desecrated and pissed on corpses -- among other crimes:

Karzai confident he can get U.S. troops immunity

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

She is rising. We all feel it. Bless the Mother.

chrisrushlau said...

I think you are joking here, but are unable to realize that. "There is much goodness in men as individuals."
Politics is no cure for spiritual disquiet. Jacques Ellul makes this point in "The Political Illusion".
Israel is both the abuser-in-chief in the current regime and a huge example of trying to substitute legal-political institutions for personal spiritual/philosophical practices. Wish-fulfillment is no way to face the day. As the Bible would say, that's idolatry and it just doesn't work. Isaiah's story about the man who split a chunk of wood in two, carved and painted an idol out of one half, which he listened to piously, and burned the other half to cook his lunch on, tries to make that point. That learning aid of his was an inapt use of educational resources. He should have asked himself, "What are my plans for lunch, and why?" Worrying about lunch is a good way to avoid worrying about an out-of-control life, which is necessarily a violent life.
If violence is defined as the unjust use of force, such as lying to those who deserve candor and spontaneity, then sanity is the state of mind which accurately monitors one's use of force. The violent one's victims just happen to get in the way; the violent one did not really mean to hurt them, and indeed had nothing particular against them.
This is the pattern in Israel among even liberal Jewish Zionists whose good intentions mask their racism, which reveals itself in their inability to countenance ("face") a mixed-race state even in barest conceptual outline.
To transfer the psychodynamics of self-estrangement from a race war to a gender war is to take refuge in an even "farrer out" abstraction. How can someone be estranged from themself? They live two lives: one as a self, and another one as the monitor of that self. They have a "real world" in which their self operates under rules not of its own choosing, and a platform on which they crouch while pulling the puppet strings on that self in its "real world" theater. The thing you notice in such an estranged person is the time lag between events and their responses. "Figures don't lie, but liars figure."
The party line is populated and perpetuated by such liars, such estranged persons.
So the political cure is the curing by the engaged person of the disengaged, because estranged, person. The engaged person has to "call" the estranged person "out". Sort of a "come on in, the water's fine!" Or, less metaphorically, "You may be fooling yourself, but you're not fooling anyone else."
The estranged person, the abuser, must make the choice between a convenient because politically advantageous illusion and life in the whole. Sanity must be chosen. "If you're not aiming for holiness, you're not aiming." Evelyn Waugh

Pat Taub said...

Such an important and timely piece. Reminds me of a recent interview with Dusmond Tutu where he advocated for a "women's revolution,"echoing your thesis that it's up to the women to lead the charge against the vices of patriarchy.
Pat Taub

chrisrushlau said...
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