Okay, sisters, stop hyperventilating. I know this is a provocative title; but don’t worry, I’m not here to make a case that men should be pitied or excused for their patriarchal behavior.
Instead, I’m making a case that men should join with us to overthrow the patriarchy, which, I believe, is responsible for the current state of the global economy, the constant and escalating promotion of war throughout the world, and the rapidly increasing gap between rich and poor.
Let me explain how I see the patriarchy. After reading “The Chalice and The Blade,” I began to feel that human society is always in a struggle to balance the male principle (striving, domination, aggression) with the female principle (cooperation, nurturing, accepting). Now, and for thousands of years, the male principle has overbalanced the female principle, and this process has been accelerated over the last few decades since the development of nuclear weapons; thus, our culture values striving, domination and aggression to an extreme degree. Thus it is that women remain unable to crack that highest, hardest glass ceiling, and still make up a dismal 17% of the American government. And thus it is that even a standout woman like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reports experiencing unbelievable sexism during her time in that august body. The female principle has disappeared to such an extent that Justice Ginsburg literally could not be heard when she spoke her mind.
Ginsburg, 76, a former women’s rights advocate whom President Bill Clinton named to the high court in 1993, recalled that as a young, female lawyer her voice often was ignored by male peers. “I don’t know how many meetings I attended in the ’60s and the ’70s, where I would say something, and I thought it was a pretty good idea. … Then somebody else would say exactly what I said. Then people would become alert to it, respond to it.”
Even after 16 years as a justice, she said, that still sometimes occurs. “It can happen even in the conferences in the court. When I will say something — and I don’t think I’m a confused speaker — and it isn’t until somebody else says it that everyone will focus on the point.”
Raise your hands, ladies, if you’ve experienced this phenomenon at work. (Mine is up, in case you’re wondering.)
So for me, the patriarchy is not a bunch of guys sitting in a room, stroking their beards, cackling madly as they continually plot ways to keep women down. What I do think is that there is a group of the elite of the elite of the elite, the top .000001%, which consistently benefits from the decisions made by our world leaders, no matter how much their people despise them. (Remember that poll done near the end of Bush’s second term, which showed that 80% of Americans felt our country was going in the wrong direction? Doesn’t seem to have affected Bush much, does it?) These elites are the super-wealthy who are either born into the patriarchy, or who have made enough money to be included in it. Yes, the patriarchy is the oligarchy, the plutocracy, the corporatocracy, the military-industrial complex; it is George Bush’s base, as he so famously declared, and it is responsible for the declining state of our society.
This group of elitists does not care about women OR men. They simply see that the advancement of women is a threat to their power, so they use every tool at their disposal, including misogyny and bigotry masquerading as religion, to keep us off-balance. They are 100% invested in making sure that the struggle between the male and female principles is always won by the male principle, so they can keep their grip on the reins of power and privilege, and the military-industrial complex in place. If the general election of 2008 taught us anything, it taught us that it is not we the people who choose our leaders: it is the patriarchy, with its mouthpieces in big media, which will do anything to prevent any agents of real change from sitting in the Oval Office. A woman President would shake the foundations of the institutionalized misogyny that keeps us all under the thumb of the ruling class.
So how are men victims of the patriarchy? Well, millions of jobs have been lost since 2008, due to our insane Wall Street over Main Street economic policies. How many of those jobs belonged to men? And what about the veterans of the wars for oil and gas in Iraq and Afghanistan? What about our troops who have died or been maimed becase of those wars? Are there not men in that group? What about those who had their retirement savings disappear due to corporate greed and malfeasance, who are being forced to work until they die? Are none of them men? What about those who invested in the American Dream, only to lose everything because they could no longer pay their mortgages? Are none of them men?
Yes, they are men. And they need to wake up and realize that the system that pardons them for physically and sexually abusing women, rewards them for keeping women down, and confers a lifelong advantage upon them simply for having male reproductive organs, is the same system that is turning our beloved America into a third-world country on the verge of economic collapse.
Men have to decide, and decide soon: Is it worth it to keep the increasingly less acceptable status quo in place? Or are they finally willing to let women’s voices be heard? To put women first, so that the male and female principles can become equal partners working towards a more just and peaceful world?
Only when all the people unite behind putting women first, will the patriarchy that enslaves us be defeated – and will real change come to America.
Ken y’hi ratzon. May it be so.