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Dec 10 2006

Good for sandwiches, bad for women

mayo.jpg

In which the spinster aunt offers a foodly analogy illustrating the slitheringly unctuous manner in which patriarchy swizzles its way into the refrigerators of our individual human essentiae and establishes itself as a standard component in the ideological sandwiches of our superfatted lives.

One of my cherished bloggerly pleasures is the commentary I receive from blamers who get it. And by it I mean It. It’s ironic, I suppose, that I am considered by persons who actually know me to be a lovable crackpot, and that many of my friends and family would rather die screaming than audit my views on lipstick.

Of course I do have pals with feminist leanings (insofar as they’re pro-choice and are for equal pay and all that), but lately I have become alarmed. A couple of conversations I’ve had recently with some of these chumps have made it abundantly clear that normal people just don’t think about this women-as-sex-class stuff, or even care about it all that much. Patriarchy, they protest when I just won’t leave it alone, can’t be as pervasive as I claim, and they have proof: their husband does the laundry. Their boss never pinches their ass. They never feel pressured to take pole-dancing lessons. One of them even called me out for my disparaging remarks about femininity. To my horror, she hadn’t realized there is not just a distinction, but a world-o-difference between femininity and the state of being female. It was an awkward moment. I felt all gulpy.

So it’s a good thing that it’s not really my job to entruthen my friends, because the entruth is, I have failed utterly to hip them to patriarchy’s invisible enormity.

But how? How does a rational being perceive a laundry-doin’ husband or an unpinched butt as sufficient evidence that she inhabits a fantastical patriarchy-free zone? Particularly after her devoted chum (me) spends the better part of a halfway decent lunch pointing out all the ways in which she has her head up her butt?

Well, aside from my abrasive, hectoring oratory style (listed by a majority of Playboy Bunnies as a turn-off) I believe one reason women are truth-resistant is because patriarchy is like mayonnaise.

Women are the bright young happy-go-lucky eggs, who wanna singa — you’ll have to imagine sentient Warner Brothers cartoon eggs with liberal arts degrees — about the springa, to traipse through the forest examining bugs with magnifying glasses, to lounge by a snackling fire reading Mrs Dalloway and what-not, when, THWACK! Some asshole cracks’em open, yanks out their yolks, exploits their lecithin, and whisks’em up until their identities are lost forever. Then in comes the olive oil — which represents Patriarchal Ideology in this masterful analogy — and they (the same “they” that are responsible for everything untoward and unreasonable that has been chapping the Twisty hide for the past 47 years) dribble it in slowly, so it isn’t noticeable at first. But then they whisk in more and more it until it’s all one big, taut, glib emulsion and you can’t tell where the slimy oily patriarchy stops and the disenfranchised ova begin.

What you have, after the violently whisked olive oilian incursion, is an unvarying whitish ooze, reminiscent of the unpleasant discharges of unhealthy membranes, wherein patriarchy holds the pitiful broken eggs in thrall to a sauce to which everyone is fanatically devoted even though it is really bad for you. On top of that, few people outside a small coterie of epicures even knows where mayonnaise comes from or what it is made of. To the general populace, mayonnaise is ‘mayo’, is mass-produced by greed-encrusted conglomerates, comes in a jar, is present in every refrigerator and is wildly consumed with vulgar insouciance. Nary a thought is given to why it’s there or what it is or whether its ubiquity as a tasteless commercial condiment or its ideological components really do very much at all to dignify the human condition.

You’ll note that many kids, their patriarchal indoctrination as yet incomplete, are grossed out by mayonnaise. Well, now you know why.

85 comments

2 pings

  1. Jenevieve

    As I go forth into the world each day, as a young, dewy-eyed student, I notice more and more the way that the patriarchy envelops the way people around me think, and the way I think. I see with increasing frustration the submissive way I interact with others and how I fail to expose the woman-hating that exists in my school and my family.

    I blame (and thank) you.

    Now if I could just figure out what to do with my newly opening eyes.

  2. Kim

    Odd, another weird-ass Twisty moment for me.

    I had me some marital relations last night –easy now, take a deep breath. I’ve always disliked the need to clean my VenusPearlFlowerofAphrodite after said relations. Just, you know, ick sometimes.

    So, this morning at around 4:00, possibly around the same time Twisty was dreaming of her analogy, I asked my husband if he would be so kind as to pack himself with — gasp! — mayo to understand my chagrin.

    He was willing, but I got fucking queasy.

    Anyway …

  3. sabele

    Have you been reading my mind again? I’m sitting here thinking about an incident in the office on Friday – when I fairly gently remonstrated with a male colleague that his greeting of ‘hello ladies’ was a bit sexist, I was snapped at that ‘sometimes words are just words and have no other meaning’.

    I was a bit taken aback – it was still quite early in the morning and I am not at my sharpest until after 10am, and this was from a gay colleague who usually knows better. He did apologise for snapping at me later in the day, but then left with the greeting ‘ goodbye ladies’.

    I should have said more, but I am tired of the struggle, and get no support from other colleagues, even the femailes, and really if a usually nice, open, aware gay man can be so angrily dismissive of my mild comment, then patriarchy is still everywhere, despite all my efforts of the past two decades.

    Strange though that its this incident that set me off, rather than the other incident later that afternoon when a male member of my team and a senior colleague in an organisation we work closely with, came to get my view on an issue, before they disappeared of to the bar. Did they suggest that I went too, hah no, but I expect my colleague will come into work tomorrow with some proposal discussed over a few drinks.

    I was writing a paper on human trafficking at the time, which is really patriarchy at its worst, so not really a day for imagining that patriarchy is even slightly scratched never mind dented.

  4. Clio Bluestocking

    Ah, the empowerful woman (I will forever thank you for adding that word to my vocabulary) and her Good Guy (“look, he does laundry”). I’ve had this frustration myself with the related “I’m Not Feminist But” crowd. If they dare recognize that male privledge even exists, much less continues to have a strangle-hold on our culture in every imaginable way, then they might alienate and loose the Good Guy, or the love of their father, or some other male or group of males. Sad to say, but they haven’t been hurt enough by the patriarchy to wake them up. Some people are born seeing the oppression, some have to have it knocked into them by rape, or discrimination, or the good ole glass ceiling, or harassment, or just one too many damn times of having to point out to that Good Guy that he is being a sexist schmuck (and hearing him say in response, “Oh, I’m not sexist, I’m support feminism. You must be on the rag.”) Eventually they learn that blaming the patriarchy is much more satisfying than denying that it exists.

  5. figleaf

    But Twisty, if women are really just eggs and patriarchy is olive oil then what about the vinegar (or lemon juice, if you’re making it yourself) that you drip-drip-drip into the emulsion while stirring vigorously?

    Also, if you’re worried about the olive oil you can always make it with flax oil instead. That gives homemade mayo a nice nutty flavor.

    Besides, mayo’s low-carb. Mmm. Very handy for those of us who can’t handle a lot of starch. Tastes great on all kinds of veggies.

    Anyway, I’m holding out hope that the vinegar can make it work. (Otherwise I can always switch to butter, I guess)

    figleaf

  6. scratchy888

    Yes– it can be really hard to see the patriarchy until you develop an eye for it. It’s not as easy as having it pointed out, but rather being able to distinguish particular instances of it, which are so much a seemingly natural part of life, that you would really have to be alert to catch it. One of the ways in which I discern the presence of patriarchal airs is through the intersection of two principles with particular outcomes — X marks the spot, I divine. The first principle which internally drives the patriarchy is psychological sado-masochism — the imposition of a sense of hierarchy for hierarchy’s sake, imposed by inflicting verbally barbed hurts, for hurting’s sake. The second principle of patriarchal determination is to question and find the answer: “Is the hurting really just for hurting’s sake, or could said male have thought differently, acting differently, imposed his views differently?” So, when I find that there is sadomasochism and also the option not to behave in said sadomasochistic manner, I discern patriarchy at work.

  7. mearl

    I will never eat mayonnaise again, as I now identify it with patriarchy. Much in the way that I don’t believe in sasquatches but still fear them, if I attempt from this day forth to have a tomato sandwich with mayonnaise I’ll probably sit around afterwards halfway wondering if something horrific will happen to me after I’ve ingested a glob of pure patriarchy. Good analogy, though, Twisty.

    Susan Maushart, in her book “Wifework,” points out to patriarchially mind-ennumbed women that it speaks volumes to say that your husband “helps” out around the house, or that your income is “supplementary.”

    And really, just because some woman happens to be sitting on top of the global pile when it comes to privilege and lifestyle, and hasn’t seen or smelled out any overt acts of oppression being enacted upon her person, doesn’t mean that patriarchy isn’t out there ruining the lives of millions of other women (and children and men) or that it won’t barrell into her life, unanticipated, at some point in the future. Not to mention that it pervades every woman’s life like a bad smell whether she’s aware of it or not.

    Feminism is like taking a pill that makes you able to see all the things that were previously invisible to you and everyone else. And that makes me a pill-pusher.

  8. antonia

    dear spinster aunt,

    I entirely agree. I find myself somehow in a world that is divided, in the normal side which is patriarchy and the other side from which one sees how much it sucks. And I cannot really bring it together. Not that I want or should, yet it is a bit like living in a sort of outsider world and really only those understand that have been messed up by patriarchy bad enough like some commenter wrote earlier. It is so difficult to get this message across. This is why I am so glad I found the internet. Lots of people dare to speak what I think and I find this a big encouragement and solace. But I myself am fearing the consequences of speaking up. I find it very difficult, because I don’t want to end up lonely – on the other hand one is also lonely when one never can say what one thinks. And that actually shows how bad it is, when I talk to some people who say they are feminists I tell them my opinion and they say oh it cannot be that bad. The patriarchy is somehow like radioactivity, no one can see it, but we end up vomitting and with a bald. It’s a shame.

  9. Edith

    mearl, remember, it’s not mayonnaise that is the patriarchy, it’s the VINEGAR. Therefore, I will now just spread raw eggs on my sandwiches.

  10. mearl

    Ah, yes, Edith, you’re right. Crap! Now I can’t use olive oil or vinegar. Wait, who am I trying to kid? I’ll just continue to drink olive oil by the quart as usual, but with one eye on any trees that may have sasquatches behind them. If a sasquatch gets me, I will educate it on the benefits of feminism.

  11. Kenny

    Part of the problem, I think, is that it is difficult to hip to the idea of class in general. Women are a *class*, they are quintessentially objects of an ultimately repressive practice of classification. But what does it mean precisely to be a sex class? Aren’t women (and, no, I’m not talking about *every* woman) also the objects of a sort of constructed mommy class? And don’t they play other class roles (female nurses to male doctors, female teachers to male assistant principals, etc.) that are relevant?

    Can you hip us further, Twisty, to how other kinds of roles fit into the existence of the hegemonically classified sex class? It seems to me that these links are key.

  12. Twisty

    O Kenny. If only I had all the time in the world.

  13. Urban

    I knew I hated mayo for a reason. I have always found it an utterly disgusting substance with no purpose.

  14. scratchy888

    Can you hip us further, Twisty, to how other kinds of roles fit into the existence of the hegemonically classified sex class? It seems to me that these links are key.

    It seems to work like this: We are required to be the shock absorbers of a rather crude system of social interaction. The system putters along mechanistically, with males at the helm. Yet humans are not machines, and all the time little ruptures start to form. The system begins to exhibit signs of stress and more and more humans are pushed into a mechanistic mode, to act out the rest of their days as machines. Women, therefore, are charged with the task of placing themselves bodily at all the social stress points, to act a glue and buffers, and feisty springs, preventing the mechanistic system from totally ripping apart and meeting its natural demise. To the degree that we do not adopt this continual crisis role, which is also more broadly speaking a generally proactive nursing role and nurturing role, we are considered not to exist as human. And so it was that all women became proactive mummies.

  15. Buttercup

    I really prefer Miracle Whip. It’s got that tangy zip.

    Excellent column as per usual, Twisty. You inspire me to keep blaming, and to keep opening eyes wherever possible. Including my own.

  16. Amanda Marcotte

    I hate mayonnaise. Always have. Even if you chipotle it, I still hate it. Make of that what you will.

  17. Mar Iguana

    My name is Mar and I am a mayoholic.

    That is one outstanding analogy but you will have to pry my Best Foods* outta my cold dead hands. Especially their mayonesa.

    I have a functioning 1933 Air-O-Mix and I know how to use it. See No. 4:

    http://www.tias.com/kitchenCollectibles/2006April.html

    *Hellmann’s to those east of the Rockies

  18. darkymac

    Amanda Marcotte,
    Not only mayonnaise but all its bastard descendants from aioli right through to that appetite killing Thousand Island muck, they are all écoeurant.

    Advanced blamers may like to think on the status of mayonnaise as a “mother sauce” in classical french cuisine.

  19. j

    I never liked mayonnaise. It makes me throw up.

  20. MzNicky

    I love mayonnaise. Always have. It is a necessity of life. Can’t have tuna salad, potato salad, pimento cheese, or a multitude of other culinary delights without it. Twisty’s presenting us with a delightful metaphor, fellow blamers; doesn’t mean everyone has to foreswear allegiance to mustard instead, all of a sudden, to prove their feminist credentials. Jeezus.

  21. Hawise

    I’m with you Buttercup, I prefer a tangy zip in my sauces.

    “Women, therefore, are charged with the task of placing themselves bodily at all the social stress points, to act a glue and buffers, and feisty springs, preventing the mechanistic system from totally ripping apart and meeting its natural demise.”

    Gosh that sounds like what mayonnaise does for sandwiches, glues everything together and keeps the pieces from falling out onto the floor. So let us see if I have this straight- the oil and vinegar of patriarchy mixes with our natural eggy goodness as we are whirled about by life. In the end, we are a flavorful paste without which the world falls to pieces and all life as we know it ceases to exist. The last bit may be over the top but that does seem to be the gist of the argument. In the end, some accept that food glue is good and some do not. I think that I need to reconsider the evils that lurk in my fridge.

  22. slade

    Twisty, I love the ‘It’…but maybe we should tell the Patriarchy instead of Fuck You….Fuck You Not, May You Never Be Fucked Again. That scares boys. Let Flacidity Reign!

    I went on a health craze awhile back and substituted an avocado mixture for mayo. I smashed the avocado and added a bit of lemon and some chopped onion and used it on my turkey sandwiches…YUM. Maybe I’ll go back to that health craze. I actually like dijon mustard better than mayo…but Mar, you’re right, if you like mayo, go with Hellman’s! But has anyone noticed lately that the texture isn’t the same as it used to be? I am beginning to see lots of products ‘change’ (ie cheapen)…candy bars are smaller but cost more. Toilet paper rolls are less but cost more…I, of course, blame the patriarchy for their greediness, lack of taste, bulliness, and basic cruelty toward all.

    I think I was one of those that was born to see patriarchial oppression.

  23. norbizness

    And are sensitive nice guys the European pommes frites?

  24. Pony

    You do know the French dip their pomme frites in mayonnaise?

    Speaking of flaccid, mayonnaise isn’t a big hit in Canada. Gack Ick Blech. Chutney, Dijon or German seed mustard, raspberry mustard, the Italian sweet red pepper paste, or yes to whoever mentioned it cultured unsalted butter. But if you HAVE to have mayonnaise, why then it’s English Salade Creme doncha know? I mean, you want bland, you get bland.

  25. teresawymore

    I hear you about trying to “entruth” your friends. I’ve been running into the holocaust-never-happened, twenty-something-year old women who think that because they can “choose” to wear high heels, they’ve come a long way, baby. What they need to think about is not the choices they make but the options they’re given.

    In patriarchy, all women are bound to a system of male privilege and domination, which means women are defined by the men they belong to–impoverished Third World women being at the bottom of the patriarchal pyramid, since, besides sexism, they’re victims of racism and on the losing end of the property-class relationships, as well. In this way, a man is a victim of patriarchy, too, but he can console himself with the knowledge that, no matter how bad it gets, how worthless he is, at least he’s not a woman. Patriarchy is not an action a man wakes up and chooses each day. It is a system. It is our culture. It is every culture on earth.

    Battering or rape or sexual assault may not have happened to you, but it did to the next woman who reads this post. If you’re in the West, you know that it was a crime and you can go through a really terrible process seeking justice. Yet, much of the rest of the world won’t even call it a crime, won’t believe you, or will just kill you for shaming the men of your family by “allowing” it. I think a many women would benefit by seeing the more blatant, less mayonnaised version of oppression that the rest of the world sees by reading up at the GenderWatchers site (http://www.genderwatchers.org/).

    However, I do appreciate your tasteful analogy, Twisty.

  26. Atzbanite

    Weird; both my children (girls) hate mayo.

    Anyway, there are few times when a person can get a really good analogy from a condiment. The patriarchy began insidiously and has continued so. I’ve always thought of it to be a poison that a person has ingested small amounts of, irritation ensues but not real sickness. Over time one develops tolerance to it and then the doses can increase and increase until it could kill a person never exposed. The last step is the highest dose and the incapacitation of all who are exposed. That’s where we are.

    It is incredibly hard to tear away the veil on peoples eyes, there is so much pain and weight to bear. How can it be? Everyone asks. For God’s sake look around; there are millions of people who base their lives and religions on fictional stories and hearsay, or stories that are meant to be analogies but are taken as literal. There are people blowing themselves up for 40 virgins and try to protect their man parts by wearing multiple layers of underwear so when they get the virgins they can do something with them. (Yes, this is true) Why not have the history of the world changed to a damning patriarchy way back? What’s so hard to believe?

    What I wonder is, what were these men afraid of? What made them fear women so much that they had to subjugate them so thoroughly? Was it maybe that most of them were so gross, filthy, violent, disgusting and despicable that no woman in her right mind would enter into a relationship, which would mean the end to that god given right of sex?

    As a friend pointed out one day, why do you think we evolved opposable thumbs? As an interesting parting shot, in most of the official ‘Bibles’ of the world religions, being gay was only against the law for men, not women. Huh? What, they even wanted to watch back then?

    PS the other day in a busy restaurant (in Tennessee) my younger daughter stood up in her booth and loudly asked, “Dad, was it the Christians who owned all the slaves in the South? Why did they do that?” We’re not sure what brought this peception up, but what could we say? “No dear, those were patriarchical god-bags who thought they were following a life of piety by doing this because god told them they were better than everyone else…”

  27. Heraclitus

    Well, Twisty, for what’s it’s worth, I’ve learned a great deal from reading your posts, especially on women as the sex class. So thanks for that. I’m afraid, however, that I can’t accept your radical views on mayonnaise and, especially, olive oil.

  28. KMTBERRY

    Hey I have that same dishtowel! I got it at Phlox.

    I think men as terrified of us because we are better then them. Which makes me a total sexist. We are more plentiful than they,and less genetically damaged. They are right, in some ways, to be afraid of us. Females, as a group, have a lot to be pissed off about.

  29. JR

    Thanks, Twisty, for everything.

    In social psychology we have a name and a handy theory — System Justification Theory — for the human motivation to justify “the system,” whether “the system” is the patriarchy, racial hierarchy, American capitalism, or any other system. This motivation produces a bias toward assuming the status quo is right or just or fair. To assume otherwise would be to force oneself into a situation of great cognitive dissonance — to reject (or blame, in your terms), “the system,” even while we act within it, is hard.

    System Justification Theory is somewhat new in social psych. It has unearthed some interesting results so far. The big one is that those who lose out under a particular system are no less motivated to justify the system than are those who win out. Indeed, often, those who lose seem to be even more motivated to justify the system. For example, poor people are more likely than rich people to believe that economic inequality is necessary to provide incentives, and that our economic system is fair.

    I don’t have any deep insights into this problem you’re pointing to in the post — how hard it is to get people to see that our system of patriarchy exists / is unjust — but I thought it might be interesting to put a label on the problem. System justification is one label for this motivation that people seem to have.

  30. lightly

    What a delicious extended metaphor.

    I remember the first feminists I met when I was a mere sprout not yet twenty. As I went about doing all the things I had been raised to do, these friends kept drawing my attention to the fact that I was acting like a doormat. It was mortifying and confusing. I had this flattering sense of myself as bold and bright. It was painful when the women around me mirrored my own words back to me in a way that made it clear I was unwittingly subservient.

    If you had asked those women how I handled the awakening they gave me, I suspect they would have told you their help did no good. They would have been wrong. They were not around to see it, but they changed me completely. I started reading feminists. One thing led to another. In the fullness of time I matured into the crusty feminist you would see before you today were you here to see it.

    Yet if a woman doesn’t get a chance to make those discoveries about her subjugation until after she has a husband and children, she may fear that she will lose that family if she let’s feminism open her eyes. That may indeed be the price many women would pay.

    I remember a feminist therapist long ago who told me about going to a mental health fair in south Georgia. She decided not to try and open the eyes of the women she met there because acting on the insights she could have given them would have caused catastrophic upheaval in their lives.

    I think the high value patriarchy places on youth in women is much more than a sexual fetish. I think it is an important tool in the male arsenal of techniques for controlling women to rush us into motherhood before we know what’s what. Once a woman has children, I think the amount of control patriarchy has over that woman increases exponentially.

    Patriarchy truly is a motherfucker in any sense of the word you care to use. It uses children to control and isolate mothers. Then it controls and isolates spinster aunts because so many of the women we know are caught in the mommy snare. If I had it to do over I would have been born into a matrilineal, matrilocal culture.

  31. Pony

    JR some of us just call it the Stockholm Syndrome.

  32. thelmyc

    … how other kinds of roles fit into the existence of the hegemonically classified sex class?

    Women are the special effects crew for men’s lives. They’re strapped in a flying harness at birth and imagine that they soar aloft by the awesome and glorious power of their flapping arms, and meanwhile, we’re on the ground grunting and yanking on ropes and pulleys while Junior is up there going, “Lookie! I’m flying!” and we’re working our asses off and going, “Sure you are, sweetie …”

    Then, we’re supposed to doll up when he “lands” and gaze up at him like a combination of a basset hound puppy and Nancy Reagan for his fabulous manly power to fly. That’s after we shower off to get the stink of sweat off of us that we worked up holding his ass aloft all that time.

    That’s what it is. Women are the special effects crew for men’s lives.

  33. Pinko Punko

    If the analogy were based on the abjectly most disgusting thing on earth, an omelette, something obtained by also breaking eggs, I would agree. However, it being mayonnaise, I cannot understand the analogy. A burger without mayo- tragedy.

    I am so sad for all the haters.

    But if I might pluck a word from the jaundiced mouth of Twisty to describe myself, it appears I am a dude. Thus, the rising mayo tide floats my boat.

  34. RGM

    Between this and BB’s waffle analogy regarding pregnancy, I’m deeply confused regarding what to do about some of my favourite food items.

    It’s 9am on a Monday morning and I’ve already managed to encounter a small handful of situations where men are being flat-out misogynists. Without even trying. It’s just there, omnipresently. On the upshot, I’ve helped to convince a nice Canadian conservative blogger that gender equality in our land of the true north, strong and free is still not quite as close to being realized as she previously thought it was. It took the tale of Melissa DaCosta and the vile things that were said to her simply because she expressed an opinion for her to get it, largely because she’d heard the exact same type of comments on her own blog. So, Twisty, thanks for bringing that tale to everybody’s attention, as it is helping to raise awareness of some of the awful things that men say, and why they say them, to women.

  35. Kelda

    Well, that’s mayonnaise sandwiches out for the next couple of days. (I’m sure that Aioli can be fitted into the extended metaphor somewhere as well)

  36. grrr kitty

    This whole discourse points out another facet of the patriarchy — there’s always just one thing about it (high heels, implants, eyeliner, mayo, or my own personal hangup, lipstick) to which we cling like a rancid, stinking security blanket. Even the most hardened veteran blamers.

    But yes, my friends and fambly think I’m a big koo-koo on this particular subject too. I know what our friends the nutters in Hyde Park feel as they drag their soapboxes into place and prepare to mount them. I’ve completely given up trying to explain that it isn’t men that I hate per se, but the patriarchy which unfairly enprivileges them.

  37. Sylvanite

    Apropos of nothing except mayonnaise: I used to work in a grocery store deli. I had an amusing encounter with one woman who didn’t want a certain variety of macaroni salad because it had mayonnaise. “I’m lactose-intolerant,” she said. I pointed out the fact that mayo has no dairy in it. She got pissed off and insisted that mayo must have dairy in it, because it made her sick. I suggested she look at the ingredients on a jar of mayonnaise.

    I give really bad customer-service sometimes.

  38. B. Dagger Lee

    Vagenaise, get IT. Dairy-free, no preservatives.

    It comes made out of grapeseed oil too, although Miss Patsy and I prefer the old-fashioned kind made of cuntola oil.

    Go to: double you, double you, double you dot followyourheart dot com

    Okay, okay, okay, I’ll learn how to do the linky thing. Can anyone point me to a really good crib sheet?

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  39. Mar Iguana

    “I think men as terrified of us because we are better then them.” KMTBERRY

    Ding, ding, ding, ding. We have a winner folks! Clear, concise, to the point. Funny how the truth takes just a second to tell but a lie takes forever and has to be shored up daily.

    This doesn’t make you sexist. It makes you a truth-teller. It shows you are not sleepwalking through life as women are taught to do. The more women wake up, the uglier the boys get:

    http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2991

    Yep, the more women wake up, the more the boys dig in their heels. And that’s just fine because there will come a tipping point when a critical mass of women will slip the leash (hold the mayo) and the boys will fall on their collective ass. I believe that day is not as far off as one would think.

    Slade, mashed avocado is a great sub for butter or mayo when I go on my beach treks. It doesn’t melt or make you deathly ill. A nice dry Italian sausage, muenster cheese, couple baguettes, couple avocados and an apple and I’m good to go for a day of worship at my cathedral, the divine Pacific Ocean.

  40. darkymac

    B. Dagger Lee,
    here’s a txt file of some quick pointers that I just put up on a public page. Save the link as a .txt file if you can use it.
    It’s just the basic stuff and may not be all kosher and approved by the union of patriarchal web nerds, but it works for me.

  41. CannibalFemme

    “About the moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a, I love to sing-a, about a sky of blue or a tea for two-a–”

    Thanks for getting that stuck in my head. I love that song. In honor of this post I sang it while I kicked an assgrabber down a flight of concrete steps in a parking garage. It was all echoey and loud. Good times.

  42. B. Dagger Lee

    darkymac, blessed be your name!

  43. Mandos

    And that’s just fine because there will come a tipping point when a critical mass of women will slip the leash (hold the mayo) and the boys will fall on their collective ass. I believe that day is not as far off as one would think.

    What does it mean for women to “slip the leash” and “boys [to] fall on their collective ass?” in concrete/non-metaphoric terms?

  44. Twisty

    JR: “In social psychology we have a name and a handy theory — System Justification Theory — for the human motivation to justify “the system,” whether “the system” is the patriarchy, racial hierarchy, American capitalism, or any other system.”

    How would this concept compare to, say, Stockholm syndrome on a global scale?

  45. Twisty

    Whups, I see Pony has thoughts along similar lines.

    Allow me to add that lotsa feminists, including me, have made this Stockholm observation before. Still, ‘please the captor to ensure survival’ while obviously apt, also seems a little simplistic when describing an entire global social order.

  46. hedonistic

    Quote: “I think men as terrified of us because we are better then them.”

    I need help sorting this out. Not just this comment, but with the overall feel of the Twistyverse, because from over hear in the cheap seats the Twistyverse looks like a bunch of folk trying to have it both ways. Either:

    a) Men are genetically inferior to women due to their doomed Y chromosones and their testosterone poisoning; OR

    b) ALL meaningful differences between the genders are due to socialization, ergo there is no genetic superiority of men over women, or women over men.

    Methinks the truth lies somewhere inbetween, but I notice some feminists try to have it both ways by clinging to whatever theory suits their personal convenience at a given time. Since I am apparently half Vulcan I find this disconcerting. Personally, if I’m going to cling to a theory, however half-baked, at least I’m going to try to be consistent.

    (Perhaps the commenters on the Twistyverse ARE being consistent when it comes to their personal stands on the nature/nurture debate, and I’m just having trouble keeping y’all straight?)

  47. Twisty

    Women are not “better” than men; the statement implies some kind of innate XX goodness, and of course “good” and “evil” are only narrative constructs.

  48. finnsmotel

    (Apologies in advance for a long post.)

    Ok, so I’ve been chewing on this System Justification thing for a while now.

    It seems there’s no way to talk about it without someone saying, “ah, HA, see there! You’re justifying the system; therefore your opinion is flawed.” It’s even harder, as a guy, to jump into this discussion without someone insisting you’re on one side or the other of Stockholm equation as oppressor or sympathizing oppressed. Maybe I am, I don’t know. But, I’m going to take a stab at this anyway, as it’s been troubling me for a couple weeks.

    I accept evolutionary theory as a reasonable explanation for how change occurs in life here on Earth. But, just goes to show ya how pervasive the idea of belief in a higher power can be, as many folks misunderstand natural selection itself to be a higher power that “gives” us the things we need to survive. I understand that to be incorrect.

    In fact, it appears that each of us is born with a certain amount of evolutionary baggage. Mutations don’t occur because we need them. They occur as a matter of happenstance and the lucky winners go on to play in the next round. As they proceed to this next round, they bring along with them a whole host of mutations that their ancestors passed on, but are not necessarily useful in the current time. As a result, we have many instincts that we don’t need for survival in our lifetime. We are born with long-ago-and-at-that-time fortuitous mutations that assisted in the survival of some long-dead ancestor, but, are no longer of use to us. They don’t go away just because we’re not using them today. They may go away over time, again as a matter of happenstance. By extension, we are living with traits that are currently in the process of being mutated out of the species.

    Examples abound: from body hair to canine teeth to fingernails to meat eating to you name it. Debatable examples include sexual relations of all types: hetero, homo, etc. Over time, we’ve mutated into the species you see before you, with all the concomitant biological triggers we think of as instincts. I tend to believe the folly lies in assuming that instincts are somehow holy or to be trusted as a moral compass. But, I digress.

    Isn’t it possible that cultures act as a single animal and evolve over time? At one point, we in the US greased our hair or wore it in a bouffant. Those days are gone, and new styles have arrived – for better or worse. Similarly, isn’t it possible that patriarchy is a mutation in our culture that has come along with us as evolutionary baggage? Some people do insist on wearing styles well past their shelf life. Are they to be despised and forced out of the culture, or embraced in the moment for doing the best they can?

    Now, I’m not jumping into the fray to suggest that anyone stop complaining about patriarchy. I do believe that this squeaky wheel deserves the grease. It’s an Edsel. It’s that pair of yellow polyester pants that button up above your Uncle’s bellybutton.

    But, when the patriarchy hatin goes beyond scientific observation and desire for cultural change, and extends into a philosophy that espouses hate for a group of humans, based on gender, that’s when I get off the bus. And, that seems like it happens here in these comment threads on a daily basis. It goes from a social observation about patriarchy being a damaging cultural mandate to a religion founded on hatred of folks of a male gender.

    The issue is that I have a problem with any human organization that proposes as its core tenet that people should hate themselves or others for being happy in the moment.

    Don’t get me wrong, I dig the idea of dreaming of a better future and working toward that end.* We’re born with these bodies and these minds and have to deal with the inherent limitations. But, I’m realistic about the scope of change that we’re capable of and I’m determined to enjoy the time I have. You can say that’s justifying the status quo or you can call it a realization that humanity is inherently flawed.

    I tend to love it despite the flaws.

    * – Singing to myself:
    I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
    We don’t get fooled again

  49. Pony

    ‘please the captor to ensure survival’ while obviously apt, also seems a little simplistic when describing an entire global social order.”

    Slavery

  50. cycles

    Mayo-related (no deep thoughts here, skip if you’re on a train of patriarchy-related thought): Thank you for putting the squeeze bottle of Miracle Whip in the photo. I grew up in a natural-foods household, where we had tofu mayonnaise when it wasn’t homemade from olive oil, and as a result, I crave the fake stuff more than I should. In fact, it’s the perfect complement to a Wonder bread + Oscar Mayer bologna + Kraft Singles sandwich. I think because it represents the quintessence of fakeness, Miracle Whip occupies a place of shame in the fridges it inhabits. And it certainly has no place in recipes calling for real mayonnaise. But as a glopped-on condiment in an already overly manufactured refined food concoction, ’tis an unparalleled delicacy.

    My grandmother has a salad recipe that’s served in a rectangular metal cake pan; it consists of a layer of shredded iceberg lettuce, a layer of cheddar cheese, a nice thick layer of Miracle Whip, and a layer of frozen peas. Again, having not been exposed to the stuff as a kiddo, Christmas time at her house was an absolute culinary joy because I knew she’d be serving that, as well as a multicolored Jell-o salad with bits of stuff in it, fulfilling the “green vegetable” requirement of the meal.

  51. bigbalagan

    When the conceptual structures available for discussion and analysis of the issue are themselves saturated with the pre-ordained narrative worldview—patriarchy—it’s almost impossible to think your way out of it. You have to work hard to think abstractly enough to even get a glimpse of what the outside might look like. And not too many people want to or can think in that abstract way, partly I think from simple predisposition (no fault), but also and not least because all the linguistic tools, like the conceptional structures, are saturated with patriarchy.

    One thing we are taught in this way is that extreme non-conformity is dangerous, so it is of course comforting, if considering thorough-going patriarchy-blaming, to call to mind one’s dish-doing male partner, or one’s purely personal enjoyment of blush. In reverse, it is also understood in this way that attacking the patriarchy is equivalent to attacking all actual men, and thus not tenable in a way that we can feel relieved about.

    When economic power—control over the ways in which we are able to or even able to *try* to feed, cloth, house ourselves—is concentrated and self-dealing (that is, clearly corrupt from the point of view of most other citizens) then it becomes not just culturally consistent but of critical political importance to control the terms of discourse. Even intercourse then becomes part of that discourse, however much you may appreciate your laundering hubby.

    Twisty, you can’t fight that monster mano-a-mano when it appears in its typical form of someone else’s personal hallucination of the way things “are”. What you do succeed in doing brilliantly is rectifying the thoughts and the words that we can use to create our own and others’ deeper realization of our slavery. Where to go from there is the hardest problem in the world.

  52. Twisty

    Finnsmotel, while there have been a couple of hatespeechy comments on the blog lately, “I hate all men on principle” does not summarize the worldview of the average blamer, is rarely mentioned here at all, and is certainly, as I’m sure you know, not the official position of this blog.

    As I have stated elsewhere, I am an enthusiastic proponent of precautionary distrust.

    Patriarchy forces this position on women, you know, the position of having to have an opinion on men-as-a-class. So many of us would be content just to be indifferent toward men, but they just won’t let us.

    Of course you also know that I Blame The Patriarchy is primarily just a consciousness-raising dealio, and not a how-to guide for changing the world. I’m all for enjoying the moment, too. Especially now that it turns out I’m going to have a few more of’em.

  53. finnsmotel

    “Finnsmotel, while there have been a couple of hatespeechy comments on the blog lately, “I hate all men on principle” does not summarize the worldview of the average blamer, is rarely mentioned here at all, and is certainly, as I’m sure you know, not the official position of this blog.”

    Yeah, I know.

    My rant tailed off at the end as my momentum decayed and the train went in a direction that I hadn’t intended. I had thoroughly intended to make some sort of relevant tie-in with your original point and I lost it along the way.

    I guess what I was attempting to get at was something along these lines:

    Change can come from evolution or revolution.

    The friend(s) you described in today’s mayo post either will never hear what you’re saying or, if they do hear, may not feel compelled toward a revolution. Consciousness on that level eludes most of us, me included, most of the time. And, even when we are conscious of it, we’ve got baggage traits preventing change.

    I believe it’s a rare mutation to be aware of your role in the culture and actually act on it in opposition to instinct.

    “I’m all for enjoying the moment, too. Especially now that it turns out I’m going to have a few more of’em.”

    Glad to hear it!

    rock!

  54. Pony

    finn I wish you’d say what you’re thinking more often. Your’s is a point of view I want to hear.

  55. T Rey

    Oh my god! That is such a perfect analogy. It is hard to find a place of non-patriarchy to start a conversation, and this is as good an explanation why. I am currently running around Austria and am once again struck by how deeply imbedded this way of being is ingrained.
    I will say again, keep up your awesome work. I appreciate it even when I am unable to understand it. (I am unfortunately one of the unclean). All I do know is what feels OK and what sometimes, for no apparent reason at times, just feels “wrong”.
    Also I must add not as defense or excuse but as another analogy: Most men have an “invisable backpack” of privaledge that they aren’t even aware of. Others around can see and even will responde to it’s “authority”, but the wearer is ussually quite unaware of it’s existance. I only bring this up to maybe help in some way other folks to lead said beings to understand that they must remove this backpack even if they are unaware of it. Does that make any sense?

  56. yankee transplant

    Classic.

  57. Violet Socks

    System Justification Theory is not quite the same as Stockholm Syndrome. The latter is basically “please the captor to ensure survival,” as Twisty summarizes. Social Justification Theory is not really about bonding with the powerful oppressor, but about accepting the intrinsic moral validity of the situation.

    But SJT didn’t need to be invented; many feminists (including me!) independently recognized quite a while ago that this sort of psychological justification explains how women accept their status under patriarchy. Look: if patriarchy is all you see and there’s no way out and everybody in the world (including the people you love) thinks you’re an inferior piece of shit whose destiny is to serve men, then believing in your own worth would provoke an unendurable storm of cognitive dissonance. It would just hurt too fucking much. So, unless you’re Mary Wollstonecraft or something, it’s much more comfortable to simply believe that everyone is right — you ARE an inferior piece of shit — and no injustice is being done. God’s in His heaven and all is right with the world.

  58. Hawise

    As men have an invisible backpack, women have an unconscious distrust. I realized some years back that my initial, if fleeting, reaction to males who come close is distrust. Are they a threat? Can I counter the threat? These flash by and are analyzed even before the “yowzer he’s Prime beefcake”. I talked about this with a male friend and I think I may have changed his worldview. The thought that he would be regarded first as a threat before his masculine appeal was considered had never crossed his mind. I don’t walk around looking afraid but he finally got that the distrust could be there when fear wasn’t. He also came to accept that though they don’t recognize it for what it is, most women do the same.

  59. Kenny

    Twisty,

    This appears destined to be lost deep in the cellar of blogular discourse, but nevertheless let me go on record as saying it would be really worthwhile to hear some further pronouncements on what it means for women to exist as members of a sex class. Saying that patriarchy is class based would seem to indicate that individual women are dependent as individuals on a system (patriarchy) that nevertheless exploits them as a class. At least that would seem to be as far as you could go on a Marxist model, which it seems to me is the only game in town right now for a critique of class oppression (not to say that feminism hasn’t thought through the oppression of women as a gender in important ways, just that a claim about class is different). Such thinking seems to capture some of the wicked ironies involved, but maybe not all. More generally, perhaps, I think there are a lot of difficulties in thinking through the tension between patriarchy’s relationship to individual women (who, by the way, are also exploited as an economic class) and its relationship to women as a group.

    Enough nerding around. And if this is in fact lost in the ether, then at least let me say halleluja, I like this blog.

    And, by the way, I taught a class on female labor and labor migration last year, and only one writer I found seemed to address the issues involved by recourse to a theorization of patriarchy. To the vast majority of social scientists, women are apparently on the short end of the stick by accident.

  60. Carpenter

    Its been my experience that people never want to admit that something is bad, see reagan’s “shining city on a hill” run. He won even though world politics sucked and the economy sucked cuz why would you vote for someone who is saying that everything sucks when you couls vote from someone who is telling you that everything is peachy?

    I run into this alot in my job, where men wont admit there is a lot of sexism in the field of science. The admitt that there used to be and now things are different, I thik in part becuase they wish they were different. Its a very American cultural thing. Tell an american thing suck and they try to convince themselves they dont-n the other hand tell a Russian things suck and they respond that things couldn’t have done anthing BUT suck.

    I also think at least the initial recation that things aren’t so bad might be a bizzare attempt to be polite. Again I had a conversation with a colleauge where I said lots of male scientists think women arent good at science. He responded with disbelief then the satement that anyone who said that must be a socially disfunctional abnormality and also a bad scientist. At least in part he denied the badness in an attempt to make me feel better-I think your good, those guys are morons you shouldn’t worry about them I hope things dont suck that bad. Of course it comes off as being dismissive. Its been my experience that within three or four minutes I can get then to say, “OK so things suck a little”.
    I did this myself once, I was talking to a friend of mine who is black she said she has lots of white friends but shes sure many of them probably think all kinds of bad things about black people and that she is the exeption. I answered by saying “no, come one thas terrible”. What I meant was- you are great and I hope noone thinks that and I wish you didnt have to worry about racism. I’m sure I sounded dismissive in fact I didn’t disbeieve her initial statement, I knew about condescending white liberals, but I wanted to say something to make her feel better. Only later did I realize you cant just make someone feel better about huge things like racism, and that listening and admitting the ugly truth is actaually the better more honest thing to do.

  61. Carpenter

    JR: “In social psychology we have a name and a handy theory — System Justification Theory — for the human motivation to justify “the system,” whether “the system” is the patriarchy, racial hierarchy, American capitalism, or any other system.”

    For this I blame some misguided enlightenment thinking, tat whatever happened was the only thing that could have happened, is the only thing that nature allows, or it was ordained by God, and it extremized something, it is the best thing that could have happened. I’d call it Dr Pangloss syndrome, this is the best of all possible worlds.

  62. JR

    Violet: yes, you nailed it, and certainly people who thought about things like the patriarchy knew all about how people are motivated to justify “the system” before social psychologists decided to call that system justification.

    Carpenter: you don’t necessarily have to believe it’s “the best of all possible worlds” to buy into this idea that there is something good and right and natural about patriarchy or the class system or what have you. Sometimes those who win out in some system do tell just the kind of Panglossian story you suggest — ‘look at how deserving I am, and how great it is that the system rewards my deservingness! And by the way I blame the victims.’ — but those who lose out under the system have a harder time, and have to tell themselves more complicated stories to alleviate the cognitive dissonance or emotional discomfort. One way those stories go is to rely on ‘complementary stereotypes’: two stereotypes that complement each other so that it seems that the losers are actually coming out okay on some dimension unrelated to the thing that actually matters in the discussion. This is a Twisty point. See paragraph 2 of:
    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2006/12/07/hilarious/
    Other applications include, for example, the stereotypes of the happy-go-lucky poor person and the miserable rich miser [so deep a stereotype it's actually where the word 'miser' comes from], complementary stereotypes which are supposed to make us feel okay about not being rich.

    So anyway, there are all kinds of names and ideas out there for the tendencies we have to think that what’s here is what’s “natural,” and what’s “natural” is somehow normatively what’s good. The reason I think system justification theory is kind of interesting is that it says we’re not just taking about some kind of little “mistake” when we’re talking about this stuff. Instead, we’re talking about a fundamental human motivation. We have ego-centric motivations, group motivations, and system justifying motivations. And by the way, the system justifying motivations get stronger when we are in a bad position where we need to manage uncertainty and feel like we’re under threat.

    I don’t know much about Stockholm Syndrome — I think this label is usually used mostly for classic captive/victim situations — but Twisty and Pony are right that there’s definitely a strong parallel!

  63. femmeaufoyer

    Hmmmm. I was pondering the patriarchy yesterday upon the depart of my father-in-law and his new girlfriend.

    Actually I was remarking the utter interchangeability of women in his life. Exhibit A, wife n° 1, my MIL. Used 18 years, bore 3 children, never learned to drive. Retired from domestic duty upon finding wife n° 2, exhibit B, the younger model. No kids. No relationship with aforementioned kids, thus years of tranquility. Sadly wife n° 2 died a couple of years ago. Making way for current girlfriend n° 3. Who doesn’t drive. Who filled in the shoes of wives n° 1 and 2. Who does everything a “wife” should do. And already, less than a year into it, feels and looks like she’s been there with, done that for FIL for 50 years.

    But of course FIL doesn’t do laundry.

  64. Twisty

    Hey JR, thanks. I love stuff like that. Where can I read more?

  65. Carpenter

    JR Im not sure that its the oppressed telling themselves stories about rich misers and happy poor people. I think such things come down from the top. I think those on the bottom of the system still believe the system to be inevitable and natural or somehow handed down by God. This is exactly what we hear from poor or working class people in the south and west who believe America is the greatest nation on earth and God made it that way. Even though they are poor, the possibility of pulling yourself up by the bootstaps exists and by God, thats the best of all possible worlds. Most people want to get rich. I agree that poeple on the top try to convince thenselves and everyone else that people on the bottom aren’t that bad off, but I think that just plays into the naturalization and inevitability again; yes we have poor people but they arent that poor and if hey wanted they could start their own buisness and make a million.

  66. Loosely Twisted

    Why not let the cognitive dissonance stand and try to find meaning in your utterly pathetic life and live with what you have been handed instead of making excuses for someone else’s oppression of you?

    What happens when your in that cognitive dissonance for too long?

    (not attacking ANYONE, I am posing questions out of curiosity for my own behavior, I refuse to say that “god did it”, (incidentally my change of lifestyle, happiness and all things around me has changed my religion)

    I want to know what happens when someone lives with this cognitive dissonance with out “justifying it”, or even with a stockholm syndrom type of adaptation?

    I am depressed that’s for sure, I can’t seem to muster even the slightest effort to “pull up my bootstraps” as I am quite well aware that to get myself out of this rock and a hard place, I have to conform. There is only one problem, I refuse to conform. Now that I am aware of my slavery, I refuse to conform to their standards! Really why should I? Is it going to change the fact that I am a “liar” a “slut” used up and thrown out with the trash?

    No it won’t. The minute someone hears that I am divorce mother of 2, who has been out of work for 5 yrs. OOH lazy welfare whore is what greets me.

    I am judged by my slowly growing backside, and not one doctor I have seen will even admit that maybe there might be something askew with my back, but no money to pay for said something it’s easier to shove it off, and let her go home and deal with the consequences later.

    The hypothetical is real for me. The discrimination, the hateful rebukes, unanswered resumes and the way I am treated on an every day basis is becoming very difficult to which to live.

    How this happened was like a bad nightmare come alive. I was all up in that shit with the patriarchy, swore I wouldn’t leave him over anything. Lived with the mental abuse for 5 yrs. I lost something, I don’t exactly remember when it happened, but I know it was when he walked out after saying to me he didn’t love me anymore. How do you just “stop”?

    Anyway a tumble down the rabbit hole later, (10yrs) and I am worse off now then when I left home the first time.

    I found your site, and was quite awashed in awakefulness as to the why and I am thankful this helped me emensely to put a name to the patriarchy. But now, I am just surviving as best as I can with a tainted heart.

  67. Pony

    Loosely Twisted I am worried for you. I don’t know what resources are available to you, even if you were not down.

  68. Mar Iguana

    Your situation breaks my heart Loosely Twisted, not to mention pisses me off more than anything else under patriarchy. I can’t stop thinking about it since I read it. You are being punished because you belong to the demographic that is the single greatest threat to the patriarchy: single mothers. The patriarchy has been very busy since the late ’70s making sure single mothers have no bootstraps.

    I heard a caller to a radio talk show the other day say that she worked in the late 70s/early 80s for a women’s collective that directed women to resources for help but when Death Valley Ronnie became president, those resources disappeared almost overnight. Returning fathers to their god-given, rightful position as king of the castle, ruling over wimmins and chillins, has been a covert, top priority ever since, even for democratic administrations. I can’t express how disgusted I was with Clinton’s welform “reform.” And, the boys are scrambling to make life as miserable as possible for single mothers on their way out the door:

    http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2996

    Things just might be changing, however. If men only had voted in this last election, the neocons would still be in power. It was women voters who put liberals/progressives in the majority, many of them Democratic women who are openly feminist. My belief is they will work to reverse the push to force mothers into marriage. They know women voted for them because they are concerned about the sorry-ass state of health care and the workplace for women in this “best of all possible” countries.

    I know this of no help to you at this point in time. But, anger is better than depression any day and I’m glad you found just about the best place around to help women laugh, understand and articulate, to themselves and others, just what the fucking fuck is really up with Planet Pangloss: IBTP.

  69. Mandos

    What makes single mothers the *greatest* threat (as opposed to one among many)?

  70. Mar Iguana

    Weeping jayzus on the cross I hate stupid questions.

  71. Mandos

    *shrug* To have other people tell it it’s radical lesbian separatists who are the greatest threat…

  72. Mar Iguana

    It should physically hurt to be so dense.

  73. Mary Sunshine

    Mandos,

    Google is your friend.

    Look: http://tinyurl.com/ya5rrz

    Now that Maiken is gone, you’re whacking yourself off to get back to being the male centre of attention here, aren’t you?

    As to:

    “To have other people tell it, it’s radical lesbian separatists who are the greatest threat…”

    And …. which people would those be, the radical feminists?

    Crawl back under your bridge, troll.

  74. Mary Sunshine

    Sorry about my last post.

    I think I need to unpack it a bit.

    Here’s the explanation:

    I don’t know anybody but a few (past, and maybe present) lesbian separatists who think that lesbian separatists are the greatest threat to the patriarchy.

    In fact, lesbian separatism, like radical feminism, is theory rather than practice. Yes, there are lesbian separatists just as there are radical feminists. But neither of these (tiny) populations constitute a threat to the patriarchy.

    Theory is not a threat to the patriarchy.

    *No* males believe that lesbian separatists are a threat to the patriarchy. Oh, an occasional male will verbally froth or fume about all those scary lesbian separatists.

    But who do males actively and systemically punish, everywhere in the world? Single mothers.

    I know. I’ve been both.

    Being a lesbian separatist was never a survival issue for me. Sure, if I had wanted to I could have gone into a bar, mouthed off loudly to a bunch of males about how much they were the scum of the earth, and gotten my face smashed. But then, any het woman could have done that too.

    However: my being a single mother was for years a survival issue for me and for my daughter. That is because the patriarchy did everything in its power to make our lives dangerous and untenable when we were trying to survive outside of a male-headed family.

    I assume that other women understand all these things, and that Mandos, as a male in the patriarchy, understands them too.

    That’s why I just flared at what I felt to be his obvious trolling.

    I mean, *is* there anybody out there, on this blog thread or anywhere, who thinks that lesbian separatists are the biggest threat to the patraichy?

    M.S.

  75. Twisty

    I for one don’t believe anything is a threat to the patriarchy. Yet here I am, day after day, plugging away at it. That’s, like, the definition of insanity, isn’t it?

  76. Mar Iguana

    Well, as my dear departed mother used to say, cada loca con su tema. I like your tema plenty.

  77. Mar Iguana

    I should have mentioned that’s a Mexican saying that assumes everyone is crazy. Everyone.

  78. Mandos

    Now that Maiken is gone, you’re whacking yourself off to get back to being the male centre of attention here, aren’t you?

    As you probably know, I am very jealous of my position here.

    I read your links and the first link is pretty interesting. Some of the others are less directly relevant. But I was more interested in why people *here* would say that, because I’m interested in the all the possible variants of the theory. I mean,

    But who do males actively and systemically punish, everywhere in the world? Single mothers.

    I mean, I know this (as you correctly note), but The Patriarchy could be, for instance, misguided or whatever. It can’t be directly inferred that single mothers are the greatest threat to The Patriarchy *just* because The Patriarchy lashes out against them. It doesn’t answer why *would* it be the greatest threat.

    For instance, single motherhood could instead plausibly be part of a feedback system that keeps patriarchy stable. Consider:

    1. Feminism opens up more options for women.

    2. More women become single mothers.

    3. This means, in theory, that there’s more likely to be a large, atavistic group of men without the same kinds of family units.

    4. The enforcers of the patriarchy would thus have a larger pool of males from which to recruit, males who are susceptible to the idea that their stake in society can only be reasserted by reasserting control over women.

    5. Familiar backlash patterns are greatly exacerbated following a critical mass.

    6. Women’s options are restricted.

    You can even work the porn-as-propaganda angle into this story very easily.

    Of course, it’s only one possibility. But what makes single motherhood any more of a threat than merely a feedback control system? The relative suffering of extant single mothers could just be a precursor to the full feedback loop.

  79. Mar Iguana

    My manometer is reading loopy blowback.

  80. Mandos

    Manometers: http://www.meriam.com/main.asp?m=3&d=65

  81. Mar Iguana

    Precisely. Did YOU have to goggle it?

  82. Mar Iguana

    manometer, 1 : an instrument (as a pressure gauge) for measuring the
    pressure of gases and vapors

  83. Mar Iguana

    Haaa. “Goggle.” Maybe that’s the problem, foggy goggles.

  84. Sandi

    Twisty, I want you to know that you are the second person in my entire personal world who has any inkling about that Warner Brothers cartoon. Yes, that one which has always been one of my favorites. I sing that song all the time. Family of owls who play classical music. Only. One young owlet who wants to SWING!!! Yeah, baby!!!

  85. Amanda

    Genius analogy! I’ve recently begun using some Twisty quotes to enliven my Facebook page (I know, I know) and this one will be a nice addition to my first patriarchy-blaming, ex-high-school-classmate-shocking post which had something to do with how it’s totally my choice to kill the sac o’ cells residing in my body for ANY REASON, regardless of its “tiny cuteness.” Thanks, Twisty.

  1. Reclusive Leftist » Blog Archive » Insert witty and profound post

    [...] Why patriarchy is like mayonnaise; how the latest Krazy Kristian Kult is interpreting the New Testament to mean that men should leave the toilet seat up; and, best of all, great news on the cancer check-up! [...]

  2. Reclusive Leftist » Blog Archive » Buying into patriarchy

    [...] Buying into patriarchy The mayonnaise thread over at Twisty’s morphed into a discussion of why women in a patriarchy justify their own oppression. A commenter named JR mentioned Social Justification Theory, which other people in the thread at first thought was the same as Stockholm Syndrome. Here’s my comment, which I’m dragging over here in order to continue the conversation: System Justification Theory is not quite the same as Stockholm Syndrome. The latter is basically “please the captor to ensure survival,” as Twisty summarizes. Social Justification Theory is not really about bonding with the powerful oppressor, but about accepting the intrinsic moral validity of the situation. But SJT didn’t need to be invented; many feminists (including me!) independently recognized quite a while ago that this sort of psychological justification explains how women accept their status under patriarchy. Look: if patriarchy is all you see and there’s no way out and everybody in the world (including the people you love) thinks you’re an inferior piece of shit whose destiny is to serve men, then believing in your own worth would provoke an unendurable storm of cognitive dissonance. It would just hurt too fucking much. So, unless you’re Mary Wollstonecraft or something, it’s much more comfortable to simply believe that everyone is right — you ARE an inferior piece of shit — and no injustice is being done. God’s in His heaven and all is right with the world. [...]

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