Sunday, June 5, 2016
How I Am A Patriarchy Enabler
Herein lies the enabling piece: the guy who knew that no one would object to him torching the ground. The fire chief who knew he could get rid of the woman at the desk who approached him to ask the question (and he tried to shoo away). The me standing there in my dirty coveralls insisting he deal with this. That ended in him handing over his card, and dismissing me with "call me, ma'am, if you have any other questions." Scram, li'l lady.
We did this. I've done it. By not speaking up. By playing along to get along. By not reporting that boss who threatened me with my job if I didn't sleep with him on a business trip. By raising children who are entitled, and dismissive of those who question that privilege. By not teaching and insisting that people in our lives abide in community with all others.
My dad pitches in with any household duty only when he knows I'm pissed. Then there's a perfunctory and short-lived effort. He sits at the table waiting for dinner to appear in front of him, and watches me cook. Then I put dinner on the table in front of him. And I stew. This is how he was taught to operate in the world. Women are taught to put the dinner on the table. And not stew. Patriarchy isn't good for any gender. Men go to war because that's how supremacy and colonialism works. Guns are an epidemic in America because of patriarchy.
And gardeners are fine with flame-throwing a garden plot. I wasn't going to pursue this. I was going to swallow it, and tamp down the corresponding flame in my belly. Why? Because I am afraid of retaliation. Because that's another thing patriarchy encourages. Women understand early in life the consequences of speaking up and out. Patriarchy counts on that mightily. When we don't speak, when we are silent and afraid, we are enabling the flamethrowers of the realm to run our world.