There’s been no dearth of animated discussion on the recent post in which I posited that marriage is a fucking patriarchal-ass institution that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot mole. Some folks got their bratwursts in a knot because they are married to princes who respect women and share equally in diapering and toilet cleaning. Some seemed to imagine that I was attacking the whole idea of heterosexual pairing-off. I was also accused of man-hating.
See here. The patriarchy I blame isn’t people, it’s a system. It is a hierarchical system of dominance at the gilded pinnacle of which pink-faced male captains of industry luxuriate, and at the rat-infested bottom of which poor brown women die screaming in filth and penury. In between are sub-hierarchies, but one constant obtains across all class, cultural and geographical lines: within any given hierarchy, women are consistently relegated to the lowest possible status.
And the rich white guy outranks everybody.
So check this out: I’m blaming patriarchy, not impugning the feminist credentials of women who, for whatever reason, decide to get married. Or carry tiny handbags. We all do what we gotta do.
The truth is, everybody, even those of us whose hobby it is to lounge around all day questioning the patriarchal origins of human behavior, contributes on some level to the sustenance of patriarchy. I, for instance, am at this very moment listening to Digital Underground’s "Packet Man"–damn those catchy sexist orgy-centric beats!– while wearing sweatpants that were made by Chinese slave labor in the Northern Mariana Islands. Earlier today I mocked people–I mean, what choice did I have?– who use the word "womyn." Later today I will catapult the lithe Twisty bod into the penismobile that gets about 4 miles a gallon (that I bought instead of the more pious Priapus) and tool at breakneck speed, while flipping off as many moron drivers as possible, to my most recent niece’s christening, which will transpire in a fucking church–a fucking Catholic church–where the officiant is an octogenarian priest/family friend fond of alluding to me, to everyone’s unbridled amusement, as "the maiden aunt."
See, the patriarchal system remains in firmly place because so many of its principles are so deeply ingrained by social and operant conditioning that they have become invisible, and are therefore regarded as "natural," or harmless good fun, and/or necessary for health and survival.
Here are just a few of the insidious lies, bullshit ideas, and bogus institutions, that everybody takes for granted, that sprang to mind in about two minutes. Feel free to add your own.
Christenings, priests, and churches
If you work really hard you can get rich.
Men and women are vastly different.
Harriet Miers’ gender had nothing to do with it.
History is true.
People should drive obnoxious sportscars that get about 4 miles to a gallon.
Men should have a say in the destiny of the human uterus.
Embryos = babies.
Iraqi lives are more or less expendable.
Beauty is an absolute.
Bands should do Beatles covers.
We get the leaders we deserve.
Wrinkle cream works.
Girls Gone Wild
There is such a thing as an edible peach.
Columbus discovered America.
Self-esteem is a consummation devoutly to be wish’d.
"In regards to" is proper English.
Grocery stores are designed for convenience.
Americans are free.
The nuclear family
Camembert imported to the US is authentic.
Huge cans are sexy.
Prisons benefit society.
Dogs want to please humans.
You are a rugged individualist.
Gay male fashion designers adore women.
There are only two genders.
Recycling makes a difference.
Women have made huge strides toward equality.
Women should put this abortion thing on hold while we work out the important shit.
Pole dancing is empowering.
Spending 45 minutes doing hair and makeup every morning is "fun."
The cosmos gives a fuck.