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Feminism. Victims. Patriarchy. Rape Culture.

Powerful words, with powerful ideas behind them. The world we live in as westerners is, in many ways, defined and shaped by these words. Patriarchy is one of the many intersecting regions that unfortunately forms the Venn diagram of our society. While I’ve spent much time learning the intricacies of America’s economic, racial, and class issues – I haven’t afforded the same to feminism. A personal failing, I think, especially when coupled with the fact that I consider myself a feminist. So with that in mind, let me give my personal (and possibly incomplete) definition of feminism:

I see feminism as a philosophy that destroys the culture of gender division and raises members of all genders to a plane of equality by acknowledging the failings of the current system and working together to undo them.

It seems a little too neat and tidy, doesn’t it? I’m sure as I learn more about it, I will make this a bit more nuanced. But let’s move on. I think I am going to need to create some concepts as I articulate myself. First, victim, will follow a dictionary definition of the word (“Anyone who is harmed by another”). Second, Victim, is a party who, upon being harmed by another, is emotionally or physically incapacitated and is left (or decides to be) powerless to help themselves. Some victims are Victims, but not all victims are Victims – yes?

Many who wrap themselves in Victimhood, use it as an identity – often twisting the minutia of life into a Victim-fetish (see much of the tumblr community [I don't include you in this, Source]). These people are seeking attention and we need not worry about them for the sake of our discussion.

Source, when you quote me as saying, “women, by nature, are victims of the patriarchy, and in turn, of men,” I was wrong. I should have included men in this statement as well. A man who falls victim to the lies of patriarchy is very much a victim of that system as well as his female peer. By becoming a part of the lie, he is at the same disadvantage that he wastes his life projecting onto women. How many amazing people does he miss out on romantically, socially, professionally, politically because he can’t see his sisters in humanity as equals? He most likely doesn’t seek medical help unless immediately necessary. He feels the need to constantly prove his “toughness” which may be harmful or fatal. In fact, he is a victim of patriarchy in many ways. So I was wrong to use a separator to further the separation and not include men in the pool of victims.

I think the crux of our disagreement, however lies in our definitions of victim. I feel strongly enough to start this article by defining what it means for me.

“[T]he term ‘victim’ has connotations of weakness, subjugation, inability to overcome.” “Connotations” is a tricky word. It goes beyond what a word’s definition is and adds an interpretation that might not always be fair. Those connotations absolutely do exist, but do they necessarily? I would say no.

This difference in interpretation creates a divide when I say that we are all victims of this system. When you write that “the idea of being labeled a victim without my consent” bother you, I believe that it is these connotations you listed that you are actually taking issue with. Very often, if not always, it is not up to a person as to whether they become a victim, as much of our lives are beyond our personal control. But what is within your control is whether or not you become a Victim. You can choose whether your situation requires you to be unable or weak. Do we shrink from the injustice we are met with or do we destroy it? So when I call you (and by definition, myself) victims of the patriarchal system, I do not mean that we are necessarily Victims of it, that we are not weak or unable. We can rise above. For us, identifying our victimhood can be empowering because by recognizing our victimhood, we have identified that the problem exists. The next step is coming together to undo it.

Of your article, that is the sole idea I take issue with. With literally everything else you write, I am there next to you, cheering you on.

The problem here isn’t that one group is more powerful than the other. The way I see it, one group has been afforded more power and is misusing it to the detriment of everyone involved.

Beautiful. Exactly. It reinforces the idea that it is not the job of men to end feminism. It is the job of humanity. Men and women working together to form a more just society where not just women, but men as well, are treated with respect. It also brings to mind the quote by a personal hero, Eugene Debbs,

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

While there is a patriarchy, I am a victim of it. When one of us suffers, we all do. This is the heart of my world view, and I think you have encompassed it rather well.

Yes, there are terrible crimes perpetrated against women every day. But they do not come from a place of power. They come from fear, misunderstanding, a lack of insight. Rape, itself, is about assertion of power.

Another wonderful conceptualization. Humanity has a nasty habit of fearing what it doesn’t understand. We do not often attack or destroy that which we understand or identify with. This is the heart of the divide between genders, the lack of understanding and the pervasive myths that surround that divide. Because you are a much more talented writer than myself, I will close this article with a paragraph from yours, it strikes a special place in my heart and I feel that it should be read by everyone. Readers, enjoy:

If we want to have any hope of harmony between the sexes, we must communicate, and realize that the principle of tearing someone down for one’s own benefit damages both parties. I believe openness and honesty between the sexes is the only way to abolish the guilt, fear, anger and frustration I see on both sides. I read articles blaming victims, articles rebutting victim blaming, and the scores of blurbs they spawn. We are all victims of our own ignorance and unwillingness to cross lines and inhabit someone else’s mindset. When we blame someone, we make them the other. We have drawn a line separating “us” from “them.” What hope do we have of understanding if we keep drawing lines?

 

I moved to a new apartment recently and have been going about performing all the annoying tasks one does when setting up a new living space. Moving, buying furniture, assembling said furniture, getting utlities setup, decorating, the list goes one and one it seems. Finally today I decided to update my voter registration. So I went to my states elections website, printed the form, and started filling it out. I got to the point of hunting down a stamp (because who in the world keeps that shit around anymore?) before I stopped myself in my tracks and wondered, “Why am I doing this?” What goal was this activity ultimately fulfilling? Upon receiving a new voter card, it’ll almost certainly be tossed into a filing box and forgotten. Am I fired up to vote, is that it? Well, no.

I might be fired up to vote if I could help get a candidate into office that was anti-war, anti-surveillance state, pro-drug, anti-ignorance, anti-capitalist, or pro-worker. Turn on the news and we’re told about the “clear choice” presented to Americans, about the “fundamental differences” between our two main candidates. But the differences are merely cosmetic. Certainly it’s reasonable to say that decades of racist fear-mongering and a starvation of our education system have awarded Republicans with an increasingly reactionary and ignorant platform, but again most of the issues they are shouting about are distractions (I think I saw Romney pledging not to take “God” off American currency – what the fuck? Is that an issue?).

So it’s fair to say I’m not looking forward to voting, and I don’t plan to. I’m tired of always feeling like I have blood on my hands from the actions of those whom I help elect. I’m tired of caring. So I sat there filling out a form and wasn’t really sure why. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Though it also included a form for becoming an organ donor, so some good came out of it, I suppose.

ell brown via flickr
ell brown via flickr

‘Merica was apparently attacked in the late summer of 2001. Evidently, the suspected attackers had brown skin and were Muslim. Logically, after learning of this piece of history, I declared that ‘Merica should be spying on and suspecting anyone in this glorious land that matched those parameters. After all, they probably want to do similar things to us – maybe even ME! That liberal rag, the Constitution, makes this difficult, but fuckin’ who cares – right? We gotta suspect them all. I have the same level of reasoning that the NYPD has, by the way.
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401(K) 2012 via flickr
401(K) 2012 via flickr

Oh hey there, did you know that big-bad millionaire Romney wont release his tax returns? I’ll bet you have, because it’s one of the only goddamn things I ever see anymore when I confront some source of election information (I get what I deserve, I know). I bet everyone knows that Mittens wont release his voluminous, Game-of-Thrones-length tax returns – and people are upset! It’s really something to get upset about, apparently! At least, that’s what I’m being told by whatever talking face is screaming at me on the television. Cuz like, what if there’s something… bad in there. Like, what if, maybe, it comes cout that Mittens is a multi-millionaire that employs a team of tax experts to exploit every single loophole in our disaster of a tax code to make sure that he pays as little (if anything at all!) as possible to the government? I mean, that would be like… mean, right? Fuckin’ right, that’s what he’s doing and if you’re surprised by that you’re a moron.
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May 31

Heroes

by fwoan | 5 Comments »
DVIDSHUB via flickr
DVIDSHUB via flickr

This last weekend, the U.S. media arsenal went all out in their yearly pseudo-patriotic orgies known as “Memorial Day coverage”; proclaiming every man or woman to have worn a uniform to be our “heroes”. We saw flag graphics sweeping across our screens or bald eagles animations bringing us the latest on whatever ceremony was being performed to reassure that America is a beacon of righteousness in an otherwise dark and evil world. The bleached hair, bleached teeth, and bleached content all there to comfort us as we cheer grenades landing in children’s cribs halfway across the world. President Obama congratulated the troops of current and previous wars, citing their protection of some nebulous concept of freedom – a concept he works daily to curtail in each of our lives. This is Memorial Day, fuck yeah.
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May 10

Empty Words

by fwoan | 2 Comments »
tillwe via flickr
tillwe via flickr

Time for Obama to string along the LGBTQ community once again! Time for the whole liberal community to blow a fucking gasket over the most insignificant events, because they have been trained to survive on so little sustenance that the mere mention of a plausible “thumbs up” to an issue they sort of care about makes them cum in their pants. Obama supports marriage equality. Boom. Cue applause. If anyone on the planet thinks that this is an indication of our country wandering out of the dark ages on this issue any time soon – I hope they go run into a burning building.
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Bingo

A science blog I like to read published a post of interest to me this week showing the bonuses to democracy if our legislators were chosen at random. This is a subject I am very interested in because it is one of the only systems that we could employ in order to ensure that our legislators do not become a carefully groomed breed of absurdly rich, created in order to benefit their peers while the workers of the world suffer a gradual grinding into dust. If we were given a chance to run our own lives, we could make this world a better place; a place made for the betterment of all our sisters and brothers. Not only does this ring true in our hearts when we look at the world the ultra-rich have created for themselves at our expense – but science is showing us that it makes sense as well!
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changsterdam via flickr
changsterdam via flickr

The result, long seen by anyone even casually paying attention, of the Republican primaries has finally revealed. Mitt Romney will, much like John McCain was, be painted as the archetype of out-of-touch wealth. Which he is, and he definitely should be! He absolutely is a man who has made millions of dollars by exploiting both his fellow Americans and a system made to expand the wealth of those who have it. What is unfortunate is that the lesson being taught in this little tutorial in class consciousness for America is that voting for Obama will somehow… defeat Mitt Romney or those like him? I love that Americans are being shown just how completely far removed politicians like McCain and Romney are from the people who actually vote for them, but I hate that they are being fooled into thinking Obama or the Democrats are any different or willing to destroy this inequality.
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Mar 27

Divide and Conquer

by fwoan | 2 Comments »
silver marquis via flickr
silver marquis via flickr

The national horror currently directed at the murder of Trayvon Martin is a reaction that our White supremacist society has when it is occasionally reflected back at us. This is what you’ve become. This is where your thoughts and actions lead. Your bad-cop fantasies don’t lead to heroics, but rather the murder of your brothers and sisters. Martin and Zimmerman are symptoms. Symptoms of a society fooled into suspecting and hating each other instead of banding together against the real criminals leading us astray.
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