The systemic problems we have with patriarchy are not going to be solved by going nuts over individual incidents. Yes, we should all feel aware and empowered enough to address an offender in an appropriate manner and as an individual each time I do this, it makes me stronger. But it will not fix the failure of the system (though we often have the illusion we can fix things one person at a time)…
We have a BAD system which needs to overthrown. Not just in the U.S. but internationally. The U.S. in case after case makes the rules –and supports oppressive regimes that use sexism, racism, etc. in order to keep segments of the population down. And women and children are the easiest target although they are not, by any means, the only victims.
We need to change things. We won’t change them with a Civil rights kind of movement. There is simply no way to do that now. We really need to change the government and stop allowing them to tell us that we have to work within the system. For a example– If women had healthcare via the government and could find work that pays them what the men in the building make (and to that point– Education: Education is not valued in this country- Anti-intellectualism in this country is insidious! but in addition to that educators are paid what they are because it’s generally “woman’s work”. They don’t really need the income in too many voters opinion. And the voters vote school board members in who uphold their values– is that local and instant enough?…) but I digress, if women made better incomes then there would be one less thing to be dependent on a man for. But changing the healthcare system or education system in place won’t happen with the lobby system that currently operates in this country. Insurance companies and healthcare companies are far too powerful. They pull the strings where this issue is concerned. Any politician who is not willing to take on the insurance companies with the awareness that they are failing women in this country is not the woman’s rights advocate he claims to be. And as long as there is no way to provide the basic most fundamental needs that a woman has when she leaves-- then we can’t expect women to leave bad situations with the pie in the sky dream that they will just walk out in the world, get a job and everything is now good. They have to be able to provide for themselves, get healthcare, get food, pay electric bills, etc. The system is set up right now so that trying to get help for issues such as this is nearly impossible.
Here’s another example: Right wing agencies are now in the business of “helping”– I was a referred to one not too long ago when I needed some legal advice. Here is what happened: I was afraid I needed some representation because my X was pushing me into transporting my son back and forth to sports on his side of town (30-45 minutes away). It was creating havoc on our time together but it was also impeding my ability to work the second job I have to work to provide for us. So I called this agency that offered legal aid. Initially I was told that the "expert", the person best able to help me was not in and would call me back. She did- almost right away. All good, right? Wrong. No one said they were a christian agency but it was pretty clear, pretty quickly OR if I am wrong, then they have been influenced heavily by christian values. At any rate, I told the woman my story. She said, “Well I think you just need to take advantage of that drive time… you know, just talk and have time to be together.” “What???” says I. “But I have a second job and I wasn’t so much as ASKED about the schedule for this. I was told. And on top of that, I don’t want my son to play football.” Her condescending response?? “Well, I think you have to do what’s right for your son here. He wants to play football and you should just take advantage of that drive time.” When I expressed my outrage at her advice she said, “I’m sorry I’m not saying what you want to hear, dear.”
So this is the advice that is being offered to women who have nowhere else to turn–??? their ex is taking advantage of the situation, using the children to bully her now and the “helpful” people that the government now pays to “help” are christians who want their patriarchal sytem to be the defining system in this country.
Sorry but that is a bad system! Our government should not be giving a dime to religious institutions -for women’s sake -for humanity’s sake. For that matter they should be taxing these damnable institutions.
It is the rich and powerful in this country who benefit and encourage ongoing systems that subordinate and they are the real problem. If our government were about the business of protecting PEOPLE in the first place, rather than being of and for and by the corporations, then we might BEGIN to change the systemic problems inherent in the patriarch. If we had a government that did not walk hand in hand with big business (and I will include the church in that “big business” category because the religious institutions in this country are big business, they have tons of political power and they have a tremendous desire to be the defining influence in what the family should look like, men’s roles, etc.) then we might have a system that protects women -for that matter protects all the poor- when they need help rather than continuing their subordination.
That is where real change begins!
Any chance our "leader" will lead us on this?