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Jun 29 2005

School

Womentakebackthenoise

Submerged in the mire of obligation for the past three days–during which interim I have suffered, suffered horribly, a Barton Fink-caliber writer’s block, and crammed some truly awful noises into .aiff files for the amusement of these people–this morning I decided to briefly eschew the drum machine for a peek at the good old blog. Lo, and I did perceive this comment:

Hi, like the blog. Some quick questions: 1) Is this the patriarchy’s fault, too? 2) Am I, as a man, by default a member of the patriarchy? 3) Is it therefore my fault? 4) And I’ve always wondered, if the answer to the two above questions is ‘yes’, is there a female group known as the ‘matriarchy’ by which you are, by default, a member? 5) That last quote there – "Oh, the humanity!" – shouldn’t that be more like, "Oh, the womanity!". Or "Oh, the huwomanity!" I’m being driven wild, wild I tell you, because I do not know the answers!

TimT’s hilarious comedy jokes do not obscure from my trained eye the expression of some common misconceptions about patriarchy-blaming. He assumes that it is a battle between the sexes. He speculates that The Patriarchy is a kind of club to which anyone with a dick belongs. And I detect in TimT’s tone the whiff of surmise, however faint, that I blame men.

I blame the patriarchy.

Well, I suppose it is possible that I have been remiss in my duties, and that perhaps half an iota or so of the blame for the confusion rests upon my weary shoulders. Let’s face it; I have omitted to prominently display a definition of patriarchy anywhere on the blog. I had assumed–rashly, it turns out– that I preach primarily to the choir.

I’d forgotten for a moment that feminists are required to waste at least half of their waking hours reassuring skittish fans of the status quo that we aren’t man-hating nutjob conspiracy-theorists.

Until such time as I have the leisure to more adequately address this pressing issue, kindly accept that when I deploy the term “patriarchy” I am alluding to “The Establishment” or “the global megacorp,” or, as the excellent Mimbreno of The Other Dark Meat more accurately suggests, “the dominant culture.” This broad characterization of patriarchy makes it easier to blame it for everything.

Patriarchy does not mean men. Seriously. Look it up.

33 comments

1 ping

  1. WookieMonster

    Dang, that’s what I get for reading the comments in the old posts before getting to the new post. I guess my follow up to his original post should be ignored.

  2. Tony Patti

    The patriarchy is our common patrimony! Best expressed through an uxorious attachment to matrimony! Hoo hoo!

    My personal credo happens to be “It’s not my fault!”

  3. rhondda

    Don’t you just love the wit of the dominant culture’s members who think it all about reversal of power? It would be so easy just to blame men, but then how can you explain the love a mother has for a male child? How can one explain the wish that your daughter or son finds a companion that cherishes him/her whether that person is male or female? Ah, yes, I blame the patriarchy that says two people must act according to defined roles. I blame the patriarchy that says a rich person has the right to control a poor one. I blame the patriarchy for just about every evil in the world. Follow the money. Oops, the patriarchy! There is no sin, but your ignorance. Wouldn’t it be kind of cool if ideology did not rule the world, and joy, creativity and down to earth practices did? Ah, but I dream.

  4. TimT

    This broad characterization of patriarchy makes it easier to blame it for everything.

    My crumpet got burnt this morning. Damn it, the patriarchy strikes again!

  5. TimT

    Seriously, though, thanks for the various definitions of patriarchy. I like Tony Patti’s the best.

  6. homossouri

    Of course you do TimT. Of course you do.

  7. SF Knitter

    I <3 IBTP!!!!!!

  8. bitchphd

    I’d forgotten for a moment that feminists are required to waste at least half of their waking hours reassuring skittish fans of the status quo that we aren’t man-hating nutjob conspiracy-theorists.

    Laughing. Ass. Off.

    Thanks for that tidy little summary.

  9. SassyCat

    Interesting that I came across this post in the same week that I’ve had to explain “misogyny” 3 seperate times to boys that fucking know better.
    Maybe its something in the water…

  10. Andrea

    Maybe we should make a t-shirt? Or a tattoo? That would help to reclaim those wasted hours:

    “Hello: I am a feminist. I am NOT a man-hating nutjob conspiracy theorist. Have a nice day.”

  11. TimT

    Your ridicule has stung me to the core. I am not sure whether my delicate male heart will ever recover. I think I’ll go and throw myself down on my bed and cry…

  12. Jeff

    Of course, tell men that they (like everyone) can and should work to change the patriarchy and you wind up back at the “you’re blaming men” stage.

  13. nina

    Oh, I’m with Andrea, I want a T-shirt! Especially after having to defend this very position yesterday to a bunch of men who were not convinced. *sigh*

  14. Dr. Brazen Hussy

    Thank you! I’ve never heard it said better.

  15. Jackson

    I looked it up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy) and get the feminist definition but there is a historical meaning of patriarchy that is all about men. To me this implies that there are no women who are responsible for the continued existence of the “Patriarchy”. No group is absolved of guilt here.

    Any view that leave a group pointing their collective fingers saying “it’s all your fault” is suspect at best. But maybe my understanding is misguided.

  16. marsha

    Hell, why defend yourself as not being a male hater anymore? At this point I do blame men, hate them all and am an angry feminist who will actually cut off your balls if you so much as wink at me funny, got it? (The few who are worth my time and attention are gems and jewels and understand.) Why would I want to talk to the men who automatically assume this in the first place? Not my job to teach them. Can’t. They proppin up egos. My job is to out naturally select them. They whiners who do nothing. Enough of us keep going and they will be dragged under by the next generation that grows up a little smarter and a little more aware.

    TimT, You don’t like that we blame a system, that has made anyone NOT a white male slaves, servents and property, for being what it is?

    Funny, you just proved the point you are trying to disprove. You are the problem. You are the patriarchy. You are trying to defend it through ridicule becuase this is a self-defense mechanism. You are the guy who is making your mother, sisters, girlfriends, cousins, friends, co-workers lives more difficult.

    Oh and you’re not even funny. If you’re gonna be an ass at least be funny.

    On other notes…great site!

  17. marsha

    Jackson – You are the one feeling like a child pointed at and being blamed. And again CONTRIBUTING to the problem.

    Accept it. You are to blame until you aren’t. And if you aren’t a part of the problem then you won’t feel like women are being “mean” or “unfair” by saying “I Blame the Patriarchy.”

    Grow up, shut up, eat your crow and go FIX it.

  18. Bathsheba

    You’re right. I’m a woman and I often find myself thinking patriarchal thoughts (and then kicking myself of course). It’s a way of mind, not a flappy bit of flesh.

  19. emjaybee

    Gah! GAH! I am so so tired of this. Hatred of sexism/=hatred of penis-bearing people. Unless those people want to keep sexism around. Come to that, I hate non-penis-bearing people who want to keep sexism around, too.

    Why is this so hard to grasp for some people?

  20. Twisty

    Yo, Jackson. Patriarchy is a social system. Men are life forms. Grasp the subtle difference.

  21. Jackson

    Marsha, too bad you can’t see I am on your side. You are CONTRIBUTING to men’s perception of feminists as angry and man hating.

  22. Charles A. L.

    I’ve been reading feminist blogs for days now (ever since I realized I went to high school with Jessica), and not once have I felt that anyone has been saying “You, Charles — you have been opressing women.” I don’t feel blamed. Now, maybe I’m just oblivious (both to doing it and getting called out on it), but I don’t regard “blaming the patriarchy” as an attack on me or my penis.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I’ve had sex with too many feminists to buy that feminists hate men.

  23. Ron O.

    Down with the Patriarchy!

    Yea for dinner and meals everywhere!

    I with ya, sister. Even with a white penis, my life is better without a bunch of arbitrary gender expectations. But then I must be weird to prefer companionship over power.

    Just spent 1/2 hour poking around. Props to Bitch PhD for pointing me in this direction. Love the varmits.
    My wife thinks I’m odd for getting excited over bugs, snakes and other critters. I spent 15 minutes describing the most unusual moth I saw yesterday, but she loves me anyway.

  24. Zelda

    I’ve run into far more women who hate feminists than men who hate feminists. Help me get over THAT problem! There’s nothing more frustrating to me than a woman who says, “Oh, I think *they* (meaning feminists) have some good points, but I’m not a feminist”. So what, then I’m supposed to educate them on what feminism is and isn’t? C’mon! It just makes me think that it’s not the MEN who are holding back the women’s movement.

  25. TimT

    TimT, You don’t like that we blame a system, that has made anyone NOT a white male slaves, servents and property, for being what it is?

    Calm down, Marsha, I never said that. Not once.

  26. perragrande

    Yeah the biggest defenders of patriarchy are often females. They have a BAD CASE of do as I say, not as I do, i.e. F%CKING HYPOCRITES:

    Case in point: Phyllis Schlafly, attorney, lobbyist, Bible-Beater, mother of a gay person, and right wing mouth piece. Flies around the country telling women to stay home and not work. Why doesn’t she go home and STFU?

    2nd case in point: Woman in Kansas who is a state official who said that she was not sure that the states should have ratified the 19th amendment giving women the vote, and that if MEN (those pesky men) had done what they were SUPPOSED to be doing, women wouldn’t have had to riot and protest etc. to GET the right to vote.

    Well guess what, bitch? Power is never GIVEN, power is ALWAYS TAKEN from the people with the power. I think Fredrick Douglass or some similar hell raiser said that.

    So why doesn’t said reactionary bitch in Kansas, go home and STFU??? Resign from the state guvmint? Or better yet, maybe she should theoretically be taken out and shot??

    These right wing idiots are being protected by their husbands that they supposedly worship and bow down to.
    Hell, maybe they get slapped around, or beaten, or raped by those allegedly squeaky clean husbands. Wife beating, husband beating and child abuse know no economic boundaries. Abuse happens in wealthy homes as well as middle class and poor ones. It just doesn’t get exposed. ARGGHHH!!!

  27. truth is stranger

    You do realize that human sacrifice was far more prevelant in matriarchal societies, eh? Good thing the patriarchs won the pennant or we would be subject to the hormonally challenged society again. But seriously, you gals (and gal-like guys) should just not worry your pretty little heads about this stuff.

  28. Twisty

    To which matriarchal societies do you allude, asswipe? Please enlighten us with your superior grasp of anthropology.

  29. marsha

    Jackson, just because you want to be on the feminist side doesn’t mean you are. You contribute when you nitpick about the phrasing of patriarchy on this website. I quote:
    “I looked it up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy) and get the feminist definition but there is a historical meaning of patriarchy that is all about men. To me this implies that there are no women who are responsible for the continued existence of the “Patriarchy”. No group is absolved of guilt here.”

    Do you really think women are not aware that other women contribute. Hence the orginal title Patriarchy. Feeling the need to point this out, to nit pick the gender involvement in support the ideology of the patirarchy is NOT HELPING. IT is annoying as hell from a guy who thinks he is however.

    And I really don’t care what men think of me. I don’t hide myself. I am an Angry Feminist Manhating Shebitch Monster Controller. Can’t you tell? Too bad I didn’t hide it from you for the publicity campaign.

    Would you like to tell me why I should?

    TimT – and yet it is exactly what you said, ”
    This broad characterization of patriarchy makes it easier to blame it for everything.

    My crumpet got burnt this morning. Damn it, the patriarchy strikes again!”

    Right there, with a sneer and no sense of the funny.
    Must be a republican.

  30. TimT

    Marsha:

    a) That was a joke. Note that my next response started: “Seriously, though…”

    b) I’m an Australian.

    c) I voted for the Labor party in the most recent elections – a left-wing party.

  31. Reginleif

    OH NOES111 TEH PATRIARCHEEEE IZ OPPRESSING MEEEE!!!!

  32. Mrs. Coulter

    Urgh, sorry about the trackback spam. Haloscan kept giving me error messages as it unbeknownst to me trackbacked successfully.

    I, of course, must blame the patriarchy for this.

  33. mimbreno

    Thanks for the love, but I can’t take credit for “dominant culture,” that’s been a standard in Indian country for decades.

    It’s interesting that a post like this is necessary. Since patriarchy represents an objectification of women, although it makes little sense it seems to be widely held that any protest or solution would necessarily contain a similar objectification of men. It would be interesting to find out why we immediately lunge toward the lowest common denominator.

  1. The Republic of Heaven

    I’m not a feminist but…

    During my college days, more than once I found myself in conversation with a (female) classmate who began an opinion statement with the phrase “I’m not a feminist, but…,” which was then generally followed with a statement about the importance of eq…

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