Look, I grew up in a patriarchy. No ifs, ands or buts. You can tell by things like the seating precedence in a car. It about broke my then 16 year old son’s head that when getting in a car with me and his grandparents, he was the one sitting next to his grandfather (the driver) because penis. This gave him precedence over me and even over his grandmother, whom he assumed would sit next to her husband, of course.
Between that, and women backing to let him go through doors first, or just in general behaving like he was more important than older females, he ended up composing a satirical song called “My d*ck gives me primacy” which he sang EVERYWHERE much to the bemusement of those relatives who spoke English. (Hey, he was 16. At least the song interrupted his other schtick which was talking about how he was the king of the untidy streets. Don’t go there.)
I’m typing this and wondering if my brother chances to read it (despite our divergent political paths, he reads my posts about every other time. Hey, it’s good for him. I hear it increases his heart rate, so surely it’s the same as exercise, right?) whether he’ll be upset by that description (truthful though it is) or laugh and say of course men take primacy in Portugal, because they’re not p*ssy whipped like Americans. I rather assume the second. It’s the Arab influence remaining in the culture, you see. Oh, maybe the Roman, too, because you know, Romans weren’t exactly egalitarian in their treatment of the sexes, though all things considered, they weren’t bad for the ancient world. However, you can see the band of countries occupied by moors for any considerable period of time, and the length of time being proportional to how deep the patriarchy is in those countries.
Yesterday on facebook, in reply to this Quick, to the Victim-Mobile! a bright girl who must be about ten years older than I came to enlighten me about how important it was for women to tell their stories of abuse (rolls eyes) and about how some woman or other she worked with in 77, when they were both very young had been pressured into sex by the boss or she wouldn’t keep the job after the three months trial. (As with forcing a reluctant baker to bake you a cake, why would you want to continue working for that asshat in those circumstances, unless, as I noted above it is one of the fields with many aspirants and stringent gate keeping, all of which are taken over by liberal asshats, who can get away with this. Oh, she also told me it had nothing to do with liberal and conservative. Rolls eyes.) Among her pithy remarks, though, she said something about being so glad I was attractive and got lots of offers. Implying of course that I’d never known anything but offers I didn’t want. (Puts thumb on forefinger on either side of the bridge of her nose in the sinal salute.)
You know, she has been around my page long enough that you’d think she’d know where I grew up. Maybe she does. Maybe she’s so blinkered she thinks that the US is a patriarchy and any land where people tan is more enlightened.
You know that example above? That’s just what my kid got to see on a two week visit.
Used to be from the age of twelve to about sixty, no woman could step outside without being hit with a barrage of sexual suggestions. There was some bruahah not long ago of women complaining about getting cat calls from construction workers in big cities. Since most construction workers in the US are Hispanic, I believed them. I also wished they’d walk a mile in my country and time (it SEEMS better now, though to be honest I don’t go anywhere alone when I’m there, because family and not having a job/classes) of origin. The one that sticks in my mind is when I got a group of men shouting felatio instructions at me, as I walked out of a store with a Popsicle. I was twelve. That one sticks in mind because it was one of the first times I went out on my own; because I didn’t understand half the words; and because I hadn’t learned to ignore them. Because it’s not just construction workers, but probably half the men. Sure, it’s the uneducated/lower class males, mostly. (Though I wouldn’t put it past students doing the same if out where their family can’t hear.)
After a while it becomes background noise. Offensive, sure. But it’s just words.
It was much worse riding public transport. The moment I started having to take bus or train to the city for school, my older cousin gave me a hat pin and showed me the trick of putting it on the edge of a folder which I kept under my arm. Not only could I then stick the guys trying to rub off on me, but I could do it and still act the innocent, because, you know, if you actually turned around and stuck them in the nadders with a pin, people would scream AT YOU. After all, he wasn’t taking a piece off you. He was just having some fun. Why couldn’t you pretend to ignore it, like all the other women did?
There were other things more material, which didn’t hold me back and rather amused me because I’m of a contrary disposition. Like, the fact that in any mixed class the teacher would assume on the first day that the best students would be boys, and pass over you, while you had your hand in the air. It amused me because after the first test, the teacher would hold the high-scoring one and scan the class in confusion wondering what kind of creative name this was, before calling out my name. And nine times out of ten they’d say “This is amazing for a girl. I never thought…”.
And yes, of course it influenced what women chose to do and how they acted. By late high school unless you were a particularly contrary type of girl, even if you were going into a higher degree, like Medicine or Languages, you cultivated “womanly gifts” like crochet, and tried to appear dim in public. I never had patience to pretend much.
So, do I approve of growing up like that? Shrug. In the panoply of human cultures, Portugal was and probably still is undoubtedly a patriarchy. A lot of the experiences this leads to for a young female are less than pleasant and sure, of course, it can discourage women who would otherwise achieve… more than they do. (There are other limits set by the culture.)
If America were like that, I too would be making remarks about the patriarchy and certainly teaching my kids to treat THEIR women better than average. Not to mention lobbying for a patrol to clean up the “three guys leaning on the wall making lewd suggestions” that seem obligatory in any public thoroughfare in Portugal (or did thirty years ago.)
But America isn’t like that, and the chasm between what these people are talking about and even mild patriarchy like Portugal — let’s face it, it’s not Saudi Arabia — is so immense that when I hear heart-rending stories of clumsy passes or read the men now blackmailed into posting #Ihave I just want to cry.
If you have raped or sexually extorted women in the past, by all means, turn yourself into the police. If you have made clumsy passes or, like a bright boy in a group yesterday THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE please stop it. All you’re doing is encouraging the idiot feminists to think that all men are rapists, and providing cover for the real rapists like Weinstein or for that matter Bill Clinton.
I knew the US was a matriarchy from the moment in the airport when I was waiting for my plane to come over and get married and watched a very overweight, inappropriately dressed middle aged woman boss her husband and sons around. (It occurred to me the other day that I probably now resemble her. Eh.)
Only in a matriarchy are all men shown as idiots in every commercial; is every boss on tv a woman; are women treated like they have special and holy insight.
ONLY in a matriarchy can a bunch of women suddenly deciding that events thirty years ago still apply today (77 is not now, and now any guy saying sleep with me or else will be taken to court. Unless he’s in Hollywood, publishing, the news or politics, and, oh, yeah, leftist) have men scurrying to come up with #Ihave. When they OBVIOUSLY and painfully not only haven’t but couldn’t being to.
I disapprove of both matriarchy and patriarchy. I believe in individuals. I’m also aware I live in the real world. And in the real world, a slight patriarchy — say the US before the present dispensation — is better than a matriarchy any day. Why? Because the matriarchy don’t STOP.
Women, being smaller and slighter and weaker than men have no built in brakes. If we go to war, we go to war till the enemy is pieces.
The feminists who convinced American women that men were the enemy, at least as far back as I’ve been in the country, unleashed a monster that most of them didn’t anticipate or understand.
Ain’t momma happy ain’t nobody happy. And momma knows that she can’t hold her men by force, so she must berate them and berate them and berate them, until they confess to things they wouldn’t dream of doing.
The problem is that in so doing they give cover to the real predators. In the midst of the chorus of #Ihave the ones who really have will be assumed to just be guilty of the male gaze or something equally stupid. Even when they’re really serial rapists.
The world is not going to ever be comfortable for anyone. Not really. All of us suffer aggravation and annoyance and disparagement. It’s part of being human.
I want a world in which I and my sons, and my grandsons and granddaughters are all treated as people and not forced to confess to the sins of OTHERS.
Right now the danger to that world isn’t from the vaunted patriarchy but from the very real matriarchy. Mother should take an aspirin and go to bed, and big sister in particular (she’s a bitter spinster, even if she’s married. She never got over the envy of not being able to pee standing up) should shut up already. And dad and brothers should know that no #theyhavenot.
And then we can start, sensibly, trying to figure out what problems still exist for women (if any) and what new problems there are for men.
And behave like grown ups. Any American woman who thinks that she lives in a patriarchy should be dropped in Spain for three months without an escort or help. (And that’s because I’m kind. Notice I didn’t say Saudi Arabia.) Any American man who thinks he might deserve to post #Ihave should call his local police station and confess, or see a decent therapist not known for implanting false memories.
We should adult already, and, btw, stop laying guilt trips on innocent children just because they were born with a penis. They don’t need special treatment, either. Boys and girls just need to know #allhumans. And #victimsaren’tspecial.