Written By: - Date published: 5:01 pm, November 18th, 2013 - 339 comments
Categories: capitalism, class, feminism, patriarchy, racism, religion, sexism, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: abuse of power, patriarchy, sexism
You don’t have to be white and male and financially wealthy to assume a prominent position within systems of patriarchy, but it helps. And you don’t have to be financially strapped and black and female to feel the full weight of patriarchy always pressing down on you, but it helps.
So, what is this conglomeration of systems called patriarchy that has, broadly, predictable and deleterious effects on us according to our skin colour, gender and financial wealth?
I don’t think that’s so hard to discern. There is a concept, that may have pre-dated the Judeo-Christian tradition, deeply embedded within Judeo-Christianity, that’s been manifested and expressed in many different ways down the years. Internalising the permissions it grants and the sanctions it imposes doesn’t require any religious belief.
God created everything.
Did you miss that? Okay stop and think about it for a second. That claim absolutely says that order is properly to be imposed from above. It blatantly legitimises or sanctifies the idea of over-arching authority. But if you take a look around at nature, all you will see is instances of order rising up from below; that is, incredibly intricate and complex order arising out of and determined by simple initial conditions. Ever seen any ‘grand controller’ or little busy pixies arranging everything ‘just so’ after some grand design? Neither have I. And yet, the patriarchy, through it’s creation myth, laid claim to the very notion of ‘natural order’ (demonising nature in the process) and used the excuse of this ‘natural’ – ie, God given – order to justify all manners of oppressions that flowed from the development of one of it’s secondary wee stories.
As we know, at some point it was realised that God made white men in his own image and, further, charged them with exercising dominion over everything else he’d created. ..nature, men, women, the seas, children…everything.
So somewhere in history, some men ascribed to themselves the authority of the God they had imagined and by and by, through the generations (I dare say both by happy accident as well as design) white men came to cement self serving powers and privileges in place and spread their institutionally backed culture world wide. And both historical and contemporary examples of merry hell breaking loose and of chaos resulting from this state of affairs; a state informed by a ridiculously vain notion surrounding the correct exercise of power and the proper creation of order…well, they aren’t exactly difficult to find, are they?
And before anyone jumps up and says that so many people no longer believe the God story that it’s ludicrous to argue that it can have any real influence on how we behave or see the world – it just doesn’t matter that it may not be widely believed today. The basic idea has been accepted.
The idea, simple, somewhat stunted and so obviously wrongheaded ( and sure, dressed up and wrapped around with more ‘enlightened’ justifications and explanations these days) has become so deeply entrenched as to become largely ‘invisible’ to query or question – it’s been institutionalised and locked into our culture so tightly, that many people find it difficult to imagine there being any other possible way to order ourselves or go about things. It’s ingrained…seared into our psych…that (usually, though by no means exclusively) white men have a right to, in one way or another, dominate women and children and other men and nature through the systems they have devised. Now that right isn’t so much a God given right these days, perhaps, but a right as has been (otherwise magically?) conferred through centuries worth of habit and custom.
And well, there’s a thing. Nothing is conferred by magic. Nothing is conferred without our collective acquiescence. And given the sheer absurdity, the utterly stupidity of the notion that underpins patriarchy… why ever would you want to continue giving it any kind of permission at all, or entertain it with any degree of seriousness, or persist in lending it any level of legitimacy whatsoever?
True, that the effects flowing from the governing systems and culture of patriarchy are crippling and deadly. But at heart it’s a ridiculous, po-faced joke (‘God tasked me to do this’.) I mean, c’mon…Really?!
High time this patriarchal nonsense was subjected to the unrelenting and merciless ridicule it deserves. And the focus doesn’t need to be on just faceless institutions or remote pronouncements. Neither does the piss taking need to be undertaken by some dedicated group(s) or individuals. There are plenty of (usually) silly wee white men and legions of lackeys and toadies right there in your daily life and inhabiting the structures of your workplace who are ripe for the targeting. So, take your pick and have fun the next time they pop up and dare to act out their ‘god given’ authoritarian fantasies.