For the women and men traveling to protest, to have their voices and choices heard, I salute you for your fortitude and effort.
Beyond the Mall and the travel, if we want to put an end to patriarchy and misogyny, it will be because the arson that we used to burn it down was itself an inside job. Lurking in all of us are the effects of centuries of a way of thinking, and while we see our leader as exemplifying that in the worst of ways, if any of us want to see this way of being gone then it will be because we were honest in seeking it out within ourselves and made efforts to change it.
Patriarchy is about the illusory status of power. We either assume or own our power or we don’t. We stand up to the strong and stick to our convictions. We are honest about how we feel, but we also can reveal brutality through nonviokent resistance. Either we define our relationships in terms of giving that power away or we don’t. No social system is inherently controlling in its aspects, humans are. There is nothing inherently more powerful from one sex to the other, because they both are.
Patriarchy has left its mark, just look at how one-sided religions steeped in it have only one human aspect to the Godhead: male. Its religions, too, are all-male run while women are given the back seat, relegated to worker-bee status. The dark side to all of this is that some women find this enticing and interesting…or fulfilling (right along with the men, of course). But then, that’s how things are: it affects all of us as we fall under its vast thrall. It pinches our perception, our experience, and our lives. It leads us to a kind of half life and no one bothers to ask why. But this century has shown a real shift in that kind of brittleness and it has revealed a truth that we are far more flexible and amenable to change than we may have previously dreamed. To continue, we need to look closely into all of ourselves to root out what no longer serves. To do this requires honesty.
When men speak about women and think of them as mere objects, that is misogyny. When women cannot get paid the same as men, that is what patriarchy has brought us. But it comes in other subtle ways when mothers call their sons “little man” or “my protector.” When mothers support old images of male power they imprint patriarchy and possibly even misogyny on the hearts and minds of their children, male or female. When fathers show preferences toward a son over his daughter, or treat the daughter as fundamentally different from his son, if not done carefully, can lead to patriarchy. There are myriad ways that we repeat, unconsciously, the program that is patriarchy or misogyny. Sometimes, we don’t know any better and just need a new or good model. And sometimes we do it knowingly.
For men and women ARE different, but it should not be the reason to exclude or divide or lessen one sex in its potential or capabilities. Different, yes, but all equivalent. Not the same, no, but both equivalent.
Let’s be nuanced in our approach and see the good in all instead of the bad. By encouraging the best in all of us, we might just get it.
Be clear where your power springs. Don’t give your power over out of fear or desire for approval. Don’t give it because you think it’s marketable. Keep it so that you might inspire others to keep it also so that this flame might burn in everyone.
I look forward to even bigger changes in the upcoming year. You might be sick to death of Trump, but he IS a symptom of our own collective self which we often find too uncomfortable to even look at it. Too often, we project our own shortcomings on to others with disastrous results. I have been able to see how I projected onto others and how they projected on to me. It was always a reverse condition even though no one could see it. These things are much too hard to acknowledge, until they are.
This isn’t about being comfortable facing an ugly truth, but it does lead to comfort once the old demon in us is gone. And because of how much our unexamined beliefs run us, it’s a life-changer when we can make that change. In ourselves. Otherwise, we continue to point it out in others whilst ignoring the beam in our eye, and I don’t have to tell you what an endless merry-go-round that is!
So acknowledge that we have more to do and consider what a great opportunity it is to be brought to this awareness by our big orange buffoon. Like it or not, he is our buffoon, and we could really clear our inner decks of so much that we all say we don’t like or are against. The only war we will wage will be a war about how we choose to react and feel about people and the world. You aren’t going to change Trump, but you can make yourself better. That great tide will be the force that won’t eradicate Trump, but ALL of the Trump’s that might have followed after him in the world. By being aware, you won’t add to the patriarchy, but add to equality or sexual equivalence and personal relevance regardless of your sex, your orientation or color or creed. What a wonderful world that would be.
I have seen how angry people are with the rioting that took place out there just before the inauguration. If only we could take that energy and burn down the patriarchy in our own inner hearts and souls, we would really be on to something.
Good luck, travel safe, and stay dry and warm, marching or not…and stay aware out there…