Feminism Really Does Need Moms, Though


The pandemic has demonstrated how little has actually changed for women. 

Lantern 1

I think I might be lost!

We spent the past year getting used to being at home. Many lost their jobs, or quit to take care of the kids. Many more soldiered on, playing Mom, Wife and Worker on a single, ramshackle set. Meanwhile, Joe Biden executive-ordered us out of legal existence.

Adding insult to injury, #NotAllMen refuses to go away.

The response #TooManyWomen was pretty satisfying, but it exposed some confusion in the feminist conversation.

How Many Men?

No one is saying that it’s all men, wrote one commenter, “so we don’t need to say ‘not all men.’

But I have seen plenty of women saying this. Some of them are pretty casual about it, even labeling themselves misandrist in so many words. How exactly one side is unaware of the other I’m really not sure.

Out of one side of our mouths, we bitch about all the handmaidens and how brainwashed they must be. Then we meet suggestions for broad action with disdain and male-bashing out the other.

I get it, of course. It’s not hard to understand how rage pickles into bitterness. It would be so easy to hate men, the mind reeling from trauma lurches for easy categorization. I’ve been screwed with and over by my fair share.

But cultivating personal agency isn’t victim-blaming.

Maybe you’re familiar, but I recently heard that when you’re pointing the finger at someone, three fingers point right back at you. Women have our own role in things. When we own that is when things begin to change.

#TooManyPeople Have Victim Complexes

If you carry that common female bitterness, what happens if you do have a son? How many disinterested moms sow fertile ground for anger towards women? Sad to say I have known a few.

I’ve seen it said that all violence is committed by men, who are soulless, callous beasts. Really. And there’s no point in trying to get through to beasts.

Pistol Packin

But you love an eye for an eye, remember? Don’t be so dramatic!

And they will play into it – Imagine having a Get Out of Jail Free card, and the temptation to use it! Patriarchy’s pandering has made men weak-willed.

But let’s remember how they love to brag about their accomplishments! With all their crowing, they don’t get to turn around and pretend to be stupid.

Seems to me most men are pretty badly mentally ill. Suppressing 90% of your emotions will do that to a person. I don’t see how we can just demand that every individual get better. One thing about mental illness is you often don’t realize you have it. And when so much of your world is similar, it’s easy to miss just how fucked up it all is.

Which is not to excuse them, but are we actually trying to solve anything? Or are we just riffing here?

This is important because, lest we forget, most women are straight! And most of us will have kids.

Mommy Blogs Or Marx?

Regardless, I’m pretty tired of this fantasy of a woman-only world. Women-only groups? Camps? Businesses? Hell yeah!

But a woman-only world would be unsustainable. It would make our lives easier and solve nothing.

As a straight woman, I have dealt with this stuff for years. The only workable solution I have come up with is to insist they behave like human beings.

I’ll call them out, and if they don’t get with the program they will be without my company. Simple as that.

On the other hand, I’m American and kind of a bitch. I understand this approach may not work for everyone.

I have worked hard to teach my sons empathy since they were little. Empathy and boundaries. This includes helping them establish their own. I have a theory they go hand-in-hand. Reaching out to others requires a place to reach from.

Reluctant Dishwasher

Don’t make me go in there, it’s a disgusting mess!

But it’s easy to preach parenting generalities. I have seen so many mothers either deep in patriarchy, too stressed to think straight, or both. Feminism has left mothers unsupported for ages, leaving it to conservatives to indoctrinate the next generation.

That sure is going well!

This seems to be an unpopular opinion. Marxists are the only ones talking about how childbearing is still a huge burden on us. Their solution, however, is to take our children from us. The ‘nuclear family’ is just a prison! You should be free… to work for the State!

I support separatists, but it’s just not feasible for all of us. And I’m not sure either option supports the future of the species. 

Amazingly, I still have yet to find an alternative that isn’t brutally destructive to current structures. Replacing one form of cruelty with another isn’t progress.

I’m Tired of Complaining! What Can We Do??

It’s a high hill to climb, but I refuse to give up on my sexuality or the future of humanity. Women have to pull together and demand better. Teach our sons better.

Pick our mates better. Female Dating Strategy is so important and, frankly, revolutionary in their determination to serve women’s best interests instead of just telling us how to get men. This is exactly the kind of thing we need. A lot of those women will go on to be mothers and raise their kids with the ideas and attitudes that have succeeded for them.

Passing The Lantern

Thanks for the illumination, sister!

We have to think about this on a long timescale. Your friendly neighborhood misogynist won’t live forever.

These kinds of attitudes don’t change overnight, but look at what’s already been done! Remember, just 150 years ago it was commonly accepted in our society that educating girls was a waste of time. Now we outnumber them in higher education.

The pushback is so strong because we have come so far! Our granddaughters deserve the opportunity to build on this legacy. We can’t let our leg of the relay be remembered as a giant backslide.

Mother As Leader

I think activating this quick route to real change would send feminism into overdrive. Every successful ideology in history has known you have to get them while they’re young! Why not leverage this for good for once??

While the conscious mind may rebel against what we were taught, we all know how pernicious the messages implanted during early childhood are. The man may build the house, but his mother is responsible for the foundation. Certain attitudes ingrained in childhood never leave us.

Men need to care. We like to forget that we can’t really do this Humanity thing without them.

But I keep being told mothers aren’t that important. A mental block seems to stop us from seeing Mother and Child clearly.

Everyone has a mother, even men. She is almost everyone’s first teacher and has an opportunity to shape the mind of a child like no one else. How exactly this isn’t a potential operative over every male born I just don’t understand.

Science keeps telling us how vital early experiences are. Viewed through a feminist lens, this is an amazing opportunity. We should do everything we can to give them empathy and boundaries. It might not be all men, but it could definitely be fewer!

And I’m gonna keep poking at this, because I think it’s inevitable – Feminism can only ignore the keystone of women’s oppression for so long.

Moms and Feminism Need Each Other

I think men convinced themselves women were just a little too stupid for all those centuries, so they wouldn’t have to face what they had done to us.

Pinned

Thanks for bringing me to this swell movie, Gary!

Exploiting a natural weakness to strip an intelligent, self-aware person of their individuality, and put them to work for the benefit of others – Well, that would be pretty evil. One might be tempted to empathize with such a person, to imagine what it’s like to let go of any thought of personal achievement.

To have no dreams, plans, or hobbies of your own. That’s a miserable existence for any mildly intelligent person, without some serious brainwashing.

But, then, those women were always told they’d never amount to much. Women’s Liberation came about after Enlightenment thinkers (Read: Men) decided an educated mother was a better mother. Suddenly young women got to dream, but only for a few years. Marriage was still the only serious goal.

My generation? We were told we could Have It All – A kickass career, a loving husband, smart kids, a beautiful home and a tight ass – We just had to work a little harder. Never mind that at least two of these are full-time jobs. You’re gonna need at least two jobs to keep that house, anyway…

My daughters are being told that womanhood is a feeling.

The dirty truth, of course, is that a woman birthed every person on Earth. Many of them died in the process. Most of them bear physical scars, and psychological ones are common. All of them were extremely uncomfortable or seriously inconvenienced at least once.

All so humanity could carry on. A job so vital, no able-bodied woman is truly eligible for anything else!

If Only

Sorry, I can’t learn to fly today, I have too much work to do!

But to keep us all there, we had to be held down. Mothers are simultaneously the most important and the least important people in the world. Both a precious resource and totally ordinary, whichever undermines us more effectively.

And it doesn’t really matter, because we don’t have much to say. We’re too busy juggling hats. When women do speak, it’s seldom as A Mother – We have been taught not to identify with that aspect of ourselves, or risk being disqualified from life.

Ironic, since mothers give life.

This is our biggest mistake – Motherhood is both our greatest power and our moment of weakness. The modern, rational mind isn’t interested in mystical contradictions, but we ignore this at our peril.

And children are not just babies. That moment of weakness is followed by at least a decade of preoccupation. Of living two lives simultaneously. Of knowing that, when that cry goes up, your feet better hit the floor because you’re the one on-call 24/7.

Of missed deadlines and internal conflict. Of dumping energy into running two minds – Mommy and Boss Bitch. There’s not as much overlap as you might think.

And moms will never unite and rise up, because we don’t see ourselves as a group. To stand up and be counted is to admit we ought to be at home. And women will never be free.

We may be freed from motherhood, as artificial wombs become a reality. But if freedom hinges on giving up mothering, we will have paid with a precious piece of ourselves. We will have admitted that being free means being like men.

With the majority of women isolated, the only route to liberation will continue to be rejection of men altogether. Straight women cast as sleeping with the enemy, rather than those with the most at stake in the battle of the sexes.

Each of us sits in a corner of her kitchen wiping lonely tears, because she doesn’t know she is legion. We struggle to be Secretary and Cheerleader and Sex Goddess and Boss Bitch and Housekeeper and Cook, never mind who we are!

Vacation

When does my vacation start?

We grope for the support no one can give us. The support that should be there – The network of mothers that raised our ancestors for thousands of years. 

The network that has been destroyed by centuries of putting women In Our Place – A case of slander so intense, the insecurity driving it is obvious.

Men of influence fear women’s power because their precious dominance depends on installing a worthy heir. We are the doorway to the future.  We are the biggest, most influential group in the world.

But not if we don’t know it.

Motherhood is the doorway all of us pass through, in one direction or the other. We don’t need to agree on parenting styles, we just need to stand up and be counted. The strength in our numbers will shake the world.

 

 

Jesus Is Not Your Friend

There has been some confusion lately regarding radical feminism and Christian conservatives.

It dawned on me recently why it’s all so hard to clear up on our end. But, once in a while, I meet a liberal Christian.

Girl Let Me Tell You

Sure, he’s a sweet talker, but wait till you hear what he’s done!

Liberal Christians are the ones who try to square believing what Jesus said – About the meek inheriting the earth and all that – with what their religion actually teaches.

They’re the ones who will slip into a loud whisper while reminding you that Jesus hung out with lepers, prostitutes and losers. The huddled masses yearning to breathe free were kinda his thing, really, and if someone tried to convince me the US was a Christian nation on those grounds, I might listen.

Regardless how you feel about him, Jesus was still a man. The faith has always been run by men and they have not wasted words letting us know how they feel about us, BC or AD.

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man, she must be quiet.” – 1 Timothy 2:11-12

When exactly should I stop giving my son advice? His first chin hair? Graduation? High school, or college? When exactly does someone become an adult these days? I’m 37 and still waiting.

It doesn’t matter anyway, this religion is not interested in anything we have to say:If they will learn anything,” Oh, I see what you did there, “let them ask their husbands at home. For it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” – 1 Corinthians 14:35

I sure hope the bathroom is easy to find…

Despite low expectations, I was surprised how much material I found. There’s even BiblicalGenderRoles.com, a fascinating blog by a lay preacher that’s the most informative train wreck imaginable. Just in case there’s still any confusion after all these years about what they expect of us.

Little Girl And Leopard

He would never hurt me, he’s such a pussy cat!

It’s more of the same. Jesus is not our friend.

Testifying for bills we support, or accepting media slots when no one else will let us speak, is as far as any of us should go. Ongoing alliances give energy to one group of people it doesn’t feel like an exaggeration to call oppressive.

If we align ourselves with them in any material way, we will regret it. Jesus is not our friend, and most people don’t actually listen to him, anyway. I appreciate the few who do, y’all should get a different name for yourselves.

Call it whatever you want, modern religion was founded on controlling women and only pays lip service to making amends. So a female priest can recite for me the ultimate princess fantasy – All I really need is the right man, and his name is Jesus.

I believe what we need doesn’t exist yet, in so many ways. We’re not going to get there by running back into the waiting arms of the most famous patriarch in the world.

Why Do Men Run the World?

The film begins with a man in a kitchen. It’s the scene of a revolution, he says, where men and women are renegotiating the human power balance.

By The Wrists

This isn’t what I meant by ‘holding hands’!

When you don’t get much time to sit and read, a good documentary can be the greatest thing.

I found one that really pulls it all together. And it’s over 25 years old!

Dr. Gwynne Dyer is another new name to me. He’s getting up there these days but still maintains an active publishing and speaking career. He even has a Twitter.

He’s a journalist and historian who’s taken his education and experience and synthesized a unique perspective. He uses it to spell out the origins of Patriarchy.

He explains why it first emerged and how it’s become an outdated handicap.

Filmed in 1992, the backdrop of the inaugural festivities of President Bill Clinton provides its starting example of The State. Militarized, hierarchical.

Then he takes us all the way back to the cave times. Hunter-gatherer societies were different depending on their circumstances. Some were warlike boys’ clubs, but others were egalitarian.

Dr. Dyer tells us that, before agriculture, there is little evidence of one sex being considered superior. Then with the advent of farming – “probably invented by a woman” – men suddenly lost their role.

A Men’s Revolution

During the village time, the members of the village discussed things and came to a consensus of how things would be. But women oversaw the homestead.

Hilda Reaps

What can I say? I make things grow!

Fertility goddesses reigned supreme. Hunting was no longer necessary, and men took a back seat. He tells us archeologists find 100 female fertility figures for every one male figure from this period.

But perhaps most gut-wrenching of all was that, at the birth of the concept of Wealth, a man’s property was passed to his sister’s child when he died, not his own.

You might not know who a child’s father is, but you always know who the mother is.

Dr. Dyer tells us about “the makings of a revolution, ….so old it’s not in the history books.” Men took over and spent thousands of years taming the power of female sexuality.

As agricultural villages coalesced into nation-states, a full quarter of the early Mesopotamian laws were restricting what women could do.

Huda Lutfi taught history at the American University of Cairo in 1992. She had many amazing things to say in this film. She was studying women in Medieval Islam, which meant reading between the lines.

Women in Medieval Islam are invisible. They wrote nothing and left no records. She says she knows what they were doing by what the scholars wanted them to stop doing.

Why Would Our Men Do This to Us?

Why did men, who basically cared about their mothers and wives and sisters and daughters, cooperate in such a scheme?

As civilization became bigger and more complex, tyranny was the only way to keep everyone together. Ruling by terror was the only way to communicate to the masses.

Dr. Dyer shows us how the great pharaohs’ tombs are surrounded by hundreds of other graves belonging to servants and slaves. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Welcome to civilization.”

Despair

How could you do this to me, Babe??

Defending Their Country Gave Men Status.

These men who stepped up to fight other aggressive men offered men in general a much-needed status boost.

“Sure,” says Dr. Dyer, “you’ll have to obey us but you’ll have control over your women. And your property will go to your sons when you die.”

And Patriarchal religions tied it all together, the Universe a perfect hierarchy with God at the top. Then man, then woman.

The tyranny necessary to create and defend a nation is fueled by soldiers. If women have freedom, the birth rate drops because babies are a lot of work. And women develop other interests.

Reducing women so our only place in society is childbearing is how you get enough soldiers to win.

“Men Were Never Oppressed.”

Dr. Dyer tells us how global mass communication is chipping away at “the old ways.” Global culture is, by its very nature, more cooperative. More feminine, I suppose, if only by virtue of women participating at all.

One thing that hits me that Dr. Dyer doesn’t really dwell on is, “men were never oppressed.” When women have freedom we don’t use it to lock men away. A woman-lead society is a more equal society.

I believe part of this is because of innate differences in perspective. The interconnectedness of people can be a brutal force in your life when you make people with your body.

And when that body and the world remind you of this possibility incessantly.Film Capture

Patriarchy Will Fall

A record number of women were elected to Congress in 1992. One of them was Elizabeth Furse from Oregon. She tells the story of taking the group picture on the steps, she was at the top, in the back.

Just in time, two white men stepped in front of her. “There’s no me, it’s almost like I’m not there.”

Above the pageantry of the 1992 inaugural parades, Dr. Dyer tells us that Patriarchy is slowly collapsing.

After 5,000 years, Patriarchy is not just in our institutions, it’s in our heads. But it is not in our genes.

“The problem is not ‘human nature,’ it’s that mass societies are still trapped inside the ancient machine they built thousands of years ago, to deal with the problems of thousands of years ago.

Lifeguard

Just stay right there, okay, cutie? You know, forever.

“The machine called Patriarchy was the only way to run an early mass society. It was refined into both a killing machine and a breeding machine as the early mass civilizations started fighting one another. And we conquered the whole planet with it.

But now, our weapons have become so destructive that we can no longer afford to fight major wars. And we don’t actually have to live in patriarchal dictatorships anymore. Mass communication means that we can be democratic.

“Patriarchy no longer makes sense as an institution.”

From Soldier To… Daddy?

As a white man and military historian, he has no ax to grind here. I think this makes his words that much more insightful.

He leaves us in the kitchen where we began, saying men and women are renegotiating the most fundamental human partnership. He offers this as reason for hope.

He doesn’t specify what partnership he means but, as he shares a bite with a little girl in the final shot, the meaning is clear.

Reproduction and raising the next generation is both the biggest burden and the biggest opportunity we have to impact the future. In modern times, women have asserted our rightful place of power in the system.

We don’t want to enslave men. We want our reproductive capacity to not be weaponized against us.

Dr. Dyer’s hopeful tone stands out to me because many of us are good at pointing out where Patriarchy fails us, but so few have an inkling where we are going from here.

He leans into snark a few times, making his own feelings clear: Patriarchy is on the way out, and everyone will benefit. Just as a natural result of the evolution of society.

This information should be everywhere. It should be in children’s books and kitchen conversations.

Understanding our past will enable us to consciously create a better future. So few of us have any real understanding of the causes or the effects of the societal structure we live in. We tend to take it for granted (or even claim it doesn’t exist!)

We can’t afford to go stumbling into the future without a strong understanding of ourselves.

Watch the movie, it’s less than an hour long. It explains everything.