Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Play it again Sam!

I was perusing a blog the other day-- one that I check out to hear some really radical views- views that make me pause... as a result I was considering the issue of the patriarchy and sexism once again (There was a huge stupid debate over the blogger's use of the term "Concentration Camp" when referencing schools-- all the sensitive Jewish readers were up in arms over the insensitive use of that word as if it only references the Holocaust. Here's news folks "Concentration camp" isn't a synonym for Nazi Holocaust). I continued on with my deliberation-- thinking about my own life and some of the women I know-- considering some of the advice I have received from women about parenting- (especially post-divorce) and it suddenly occurred to me that as a species we are simply too damaged. And in so many cases we do not have the strength to even think of ourselves differently, let alone make others think of us differently.

Being a librarian at a middle school (and indeed the schools are concentration camps!), I watch the girls, help them find books, watch how they function in the world and I am astounded, simply astounded, that they are actually worse than the girls I grew up around in the sixties and seventies. (I will qualify my statement with the note that I work in a largely hispanic community-- but even among the white girls this is true!) The most popular books going for girls are those rancid "Twilight" series and many of the popular books The nuddy pants series, the Gossip girls, etc. are just as bad if not worse (I could make myself sick naming them all and I might add that what we read really says a LOT about who we are and what we think about and what we enjoy) All this crap-- the junk the girls read is indicative of the mindset these girls have. Our children in general are going the wrong direction but OH MY GOD! the girls. But it's as if it's a non-issue. We (women) got the vote so there's nothing to think about.

But it's really unsolvable in the system as it stands...

And here we come right back to the drum I have been pounding on for a bit already... the problem with an issue like the ongoing propagation of the patriarchy (Or racism or anti-gay statements, etc.) is the connection it has to a wider issue - that of the rape and pillage of the common wealth (that means ALL OF US!)on the part of the wealthy. This might seem disjointed, but it's easier to rob people when the little people are fretting over the cartoon monkey in the New York Post. And it's easier to rape them when they are obsessed with the obnoxious sexist-pig co-worker. We won't change things concerning the patriarchy when the power and the money is with a VERY small group of male (or male-ish- which is what I call women who wind up in that tiny subset of our wealthiest individuals and make a lot of money from bowing to the patriarchy) group of people in this country. They have us singing "I got no strings" all the while they are pulling at the strings. And while we're bickering or going nuts over words like "concentration camps" or the afore mentioned cartoons they are laughing all the way to the bank!

And to top the hot chocolate off with a generous helping of whipped cream, pop culture does not real allow for depth or real awareness. If sex sells, we're going to sell it. If religion sells, we'll make the prices reasonable. And as long as we're selling (and teaching) pablum, then we will produce children who will continue to gorge themselves on pablum. To have a truly more egalitarian, nonsexist culture, a woman friendly world, we would need real change. The kind of change we don't really seem interested in making.

We are really only interested in making money.


  1. Greetings, Danette B - I loved your recent comment on IBTP, and my blood really began singing as you wrote about your abusive ex [only communicating the bare minimum re: custody exchanges etc]...I know where you're coming from! even though my ex is just you ordinary garden-variety redneck/narcissistic a$$hole.
    I'll be back to read more when I have a chance, best wishes, Val

  2. Thanks for the comment Val! The real abuse came from the religious upbringing I had. My ex manipulated me and controlled me via this establishment (and kick in a bit of liberal guilt and you have a recipe for CONTROL)- which is why it was so insidious. Emotional abuse is horrible because it's subtle and it's accepted- but it keeps you in your "place" as surely as a beating. When you are hit there is a clear line about what you should accept. When someone purposefully uses your kindness or thoughtfulness against you-- it's hard to explain to others and hard to work out for yourself. That is what I have had to really work on, I guess.

    Divorce is amazing-- you intend to free yourself and all the sudden you find the cultural expectations coming down on you like a hammer. In my case, I was supposed to subordinate all my feelings- all my needs- well, mySELF because I had put my children in such a horrible position (they were victims of my choices as my parents and friends saw it). No amount of my telling my kids that I was making a choice that would wind up helping them, freeing them, would convince them since the whole family treated them like kicked and starving puppies.
    Best, Danette


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