While waiting for my rickety C-1000 super-automatic espresso machine to kick out the morning’s first cup of life-giving mud, I decided to skim through the responses to yesterday’s brief installment in the “Liberal Dudes Are Knobs” series. I was not surprised to see that some of the commentary reflects a somewhat unsophisticated grasp of the cornerstones upon which men have built our culture. Bandied about is, I am sorry to report, a bit of the old “blame the victim” palaver.
I find that feminists of the empowerful, slo-mo kickboxing variety are sometimes impatient with women who have been publicly screwed over by the Establishment. These feminists seem actually to be critical of women on the wrong end of a beatdown. Their motto is that the wronged women should open up a can of whup-ass on the thugly oppressor. Otherwise, men might take it into their heads that women can be kept in line with intimidation. According to these feminists, the women who cry uncle have allowed themselves to become “victims rather than people.”
But look here. Who are they trying to kid. Women can be kept in line with intimidation, and the whole world knows it. Aren’t people who have been raped and intimidated and harassed and threatened with death “victims”? What the fuck is wrong with that word? It describes the situation perfectly.
Do you guys get, I mean actually get, that our society is a patriarchy? Patriarchy isn’t just a gimmick for a blog. It really exists. There are actual implications. Do you get that a patriarchy is predicated on exploitation and victimization? It’s not a joke! It’s not an abstract concept dreamed up by some wannabe ideologue making up catch-phrases while idling away the afternoons with pitchers of margs. Exploitation and victimization is the actual set-up! A person is either an exploiter or a victim, or sometimes both, but never neither.
This means me! This means you!
This means that, until patriarchy is smashed, we ain’t got a chance.
Meanwhile, do you guys see that there is no other possible outcome, in a society based on exploitation and victimization, than for the Don Imuses and the Daily Koses of the world to shit, frequently, on members of the lower castes? Shitting on the lower castes is a privilege built into the system. When exercised with macho aplomb, it attracts advertisers. It creates prestige. It makes money. It entertains the masses.
If, by some Stone Age fantasy-world turn of good fortune, our society had not been permitted by the clumsy aliens of the planet Obsterperon to devolve into a patriarchy, Kathy Sierra wouldn’t have done anything wrong. The Rutgers basketball team wouldn’t have done anything wrong. They would have just been human beings, doing whatever the fuck they felt like doing.
But it is a patriarchy. And in a patriarchy, where women are the lowest caste, a public woman is always wrong. Which is why Sierra and the basketball players and lard knows how many others over the millennia have been victimized by a gazillion patriarchy-enthusiasts. These women attempted publicly, in a society in which they are devalued as dirty jokes, hysterics, babymommas, and receptacles, to behave as sovereign human beings. It is one of the first laws of patriarchy that insubordinate females should be jeered at and harassed, from the moment they dare, as members of the sex caste, to step into the gray subumbra of proto-celebrity, to the moment the last blurb is written by some feminist blogger who criticizes their behavior as victims-who-let-the-terrorist-manbags-win.
Do you get the implications? Even the feminists — we’re as poisoned by establishmentarianist dogma as anybody else — operate under the patriarchal paradigm. Thus, even some feminists think we ought to criticize Kathy Sierra for not taking her reaming like a man. We recognize that victimhood does not equal personhood, but beyond that we’re constrained by some dim twilight denial. We can’t believe, even though it is true, that victimhood the only available outcome, so we say insane things like, “don’t act like a victim, you idiot!” But for chrissake, what do we want from her? Do we seriously think she can take down the dominant culture by “standing up” to it, with only a few wan ‘you go, girls’ from the sidelines to mark the occasion? Without a revolution to back her up, all the whup-ass in the world will only get her locked up.
Do you get it yet?
Without revolution, the oppressor won’t stop oppressing. Without revolution, there is no happy ending.