Everyone is always asking me how to smash patriarchy.
“It’s all well and good,” they say, “this vague, spinster auntly consciousness-raising crap in the Age of Funfeminism and Liberal Dudes, but where’s the practical solution?”
Well, I sure as hell don’t know. Nothing I’ve tried so far has worked, with the possible and imperfect exception of dropping out of society.
Dropping out of society is not a flawless gambit, to be sure. The patriarchy-smashing is localized to one’s immediate sphere of influence, and is entirely illusory, regardless of the depth to which one drops. You may be so far off the map that only the mosquitoes can find you, but Dude Nation, that icky subsidiary of the megatheocorporatocracy, still owns the map, confounding at every turn the efforts of spinster aunts who just want a quiet life without quite so many assholes in it.
You might, for example, find in your bathroom a paperback entitled Emergency by New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Strauss, who “takes us on a white-knuckled journey through America’s heart of darkness as he scrambles to escape the system.” You might thumb through it because, what a coincidence, you’re scrambling to escape the system too, and besides there’s nothing else to read in there except the Christmas catalog from Dover Saddlery. In so thumbing, you might come across this paragraph:
In the Golestan Shopping Center, women wrapped in burkas shopped for designer jewelry. Though the only skin showing was the front of their faces peering out from beneath black chadors, at least one in twenty of those faces had a bandaged nose from recent plastic surgery. My cab driver later told me that Iran was the world capital of nose jobs, proving that even in a culture like this, a woman’s vanity could not be kept down.”
Though, as a New York Times Bestselling Author, Neil Strauss ought to be on top of the world and above such things, he nevertheless feels it necessary to prove something unpleasant about women as a class.* He isn’t about to let the prooflessness of his argument keep him from doing it. And there you are, reading it. Thus has a misogynist dickwad wormed its way into your private bathroom.
Are you about to say, “Twisty, you dumbass, you were just asking for it, picking up a book written by a New York Times Bestselling Author”?
Don’t say it! Consider the implications!
Because no, I wasn’t just asking to feast my eyes upon that offensive (and poorly written) statement. The thought that it might amuse me to read some dude’s pronouncements on the inferiority of women never even entered my lobe. Like any rational human, the spinster aunt is seldom compelled to seek out abuse. Particularly when in the bathroom. But ours is a society wherein one does not have a reasonable expectation of freedom from bigotry, sexism, exploitation, and knobbery, on the grid or off, on the toilet or off.
Which is why I can only suggest an intellectual fortress approach to coping with membership in an oppressed class. It goes like this:
You know that thing you really enjoy doing? The thing that gives you the illusion that your life has meaning? With me, it’s sitting around looking at bugs with their butts stuck together. With you, it’s probably weaving god’s eyes out of rainbow yarn or something. Well, whatever it is, do it all the time, and with a sort of vengeance. Because the more you focus your lobe on shit that has actual philosophic value, the fewer the lobal chinks through which New York Times Bestselling Authors can slither.
* New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Strauss’s other works include Jenna Jameson’s autobiography, the seminal How To Make Love Like a Porn Star, proving that New York Times Bestselling Author Neil Strauss is an asshole. The only “system” he wants to escape is some imaginary one where women have an iota of human dignity.