I have received a query from a science academic what reads as follows:
“I have a friend who I am trying to educate about the basics of feminist understanding of patriarchy. Do you have suggestions for Web sites with this sort of “entry-level” information? ”
The old “I have a friend” gambit!
As you know, “feminist basics” aren’t really my line. Although (this is an aside) maybe I ought to take a course in it or something; I was moved to affect a cartoon facial expression of bug-eyed stupefaction when, in another recent email, a 19-year-old blamer revealed her older brother’s astonishing opinion that, as one unschooled in ‘the ways of men,’ she couldn’t be a proper feminist until she had been penetrated by a penis, and did I think this was really true.
One of these days, when I’ve got a spare 6 months and a full tank of margaritas, I will write the book that addresses the concerns of novice blamers with idiot 21-year-old brothers, and of science professors with friends in need of an introduction to the idea that women are human, but until then I’ll continue to suggest that everyone read The Female Eunuch. I can also offer this from Gerda Lerner, from the introduction to The Creation of Feminist Consciousness, as a sort of “My First Patriarchy Lesson”:
Patriarchal concepts are [...] built into all the mental constructs of [...] civilization in such a way as to remain largely invisible. [Patriarchy] gradually institutionalized the rights of men to control and appropriate the sexual and reproductive services of women. Out of this form of dominance developed other forms of dominance, such as slavery. Once established as a functioning system of complex hierarchical relationships patriarchy transformed sexual, social, economic, relations and dominated all systems of ideas. In the course of the establishment of patriarchy and constantly reinforced as the result of it, the major idea systems which explain and order Western civilization incorporated a set of unstated assumptions about gender, which powerfully affected the development of history and human thought.
But of course these aren’t websites, which is what my penpal asked for. Any of you guys know where to send this pilgrim?