End Patriarchy By Any Means Necessary

any-means-necessary1Here at P&L, we try not to re-invent the wheel. History is filled with countless examples of people who challenged power structures and won. Take a page, take a page is the constant refrain of my song. Sometimes it takes something radical to shake the world up–see Martin Luther, Alice Paul, or Malcolm X.

Here at P&L we also fight the patriarchy. For months and months now I have been writing about effective ways to do this. One of my recommendations is that we use dynamics that are intended to keep us down to fight back, and first and foremost in that set of dynamics is the issue of child care. While magazines are filled with articles about the new dad who participates and finds joy in parenting, even taking over some of the more odious tasks, the reality is that part of the design of patriarchy is the free labor of women, and nowhere is that labor more free than between a mother and her child.

Over at I Blame the Patriarchy, commenter MLH is doing a very good job of instructing her son about issues of sex as he comes of age. This is important work, and she’s doing the best she can with the tools she has. Here’s what she had to say:

I have a 16-year old son. I have told him about rape. I have told him that just because a woman is dressed in a “particular way” (whatever that means) does not mean that she wants to have sex with him. Or because she looks at him in a particular way, or anything she says, or because she is a woman. If she says no, to not insist. She won’t change her mind. Why would he want to have sex with a person that does not want to do it with him, anyway? And that includes his future wife, if he marries. The underlying issue here is that a woman’s body is her own and she chooses whom she is going to have intercourse with. She does not belong to him.
I have told him that if she says “yes” and then she changes her mind, to not insist. No matter how bad he wants it; no, nothing bad will happen to his reproductive organs, the won’t fall off.

Anyway, fellow blamers, anything else I should be saying to him? I want to make sure he really understands.

Wonderful job, and thank you for asking what else you can do, because I have an idea. Why don’t we teach him (and all children) the truth about Patriarchy? We teach children their numbers, their letters, hell, we even teach them the structure of our government, but we remain mum on the truth about patriarchy in front of our kids. We shouldn’t. We should give them the tools and the language they need to recognize what’s going on and to challenge it right out of the gate.

That means we’re going to have to have uncomfortable conversations with our kids and open ourselves to their eventual eye-rolling, but that’s a small price to pay to infiltrate the patriarchy via up-and-coming foot soldiers. If we indoctrinate them against it before they ever find their way out of our protective grasp, they’ll be able to make more progress in the future. They won’t have to go through what we went through, with conflicting social messages about whether or not patriarchy exists (it does) or what the most effective way to fight it will be. Confronted with the truth one day after they leave your nest, your honest words and presentation of the world will resonate internally, and they will have click moments immediately. They will be predisposed to reject patriarchal authority on sight.

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2 comments on “End Patriarchy By Any Means Necessary

  1. Patti says:

    “That means we’re going to have to have uncomfortable conversations with our kids and open ourselves to their eventual eye-rolling, but that’s a small price to pay to infiltrate the patriarchy via up-and-coming foot soldiers. If we indoctrinate them against it before they ever find their way out of our protective grasp, they’ll be able to make more progress in the future.”

    I love this. This should be in every parenting book!

  2. Sunshinelvr says:

    I also taught mine the proper way to use a comdom..(by buying comdoms and giving them to them & explaining as best I could.) I also informed them that I was NOT condoning premaritial sex or teen-age sex, it is always best to wait until one is mature and can recognize love from lust. (although this is very hard for many adults 😆 ) I told them that condoms not only prevent unwanted pregnancies, they guard against disease. Also, I strongly stressed that IF anyone became pregnant, they would fully be expected to carry their fair share of caring and providing for this child. Some people have been dismayed to learn that I did not/do not -condone marriage just because of a baby. Marriage is hard enough, without the added (although joyous for many) burden of babies. (Btw..lest someone worry about it..my children were teenagers and we lived in a fast-paced city. I would rather tell a child the facts too early than wait too late. And I always stressed to my children that no matter how embarressed they were (or I was–) if they had questions we would discover the answers together, if neccessary. I was devoid of sex education and learned everything the embarressing, devasting, and totally un-neccessary “hard” way.
    And I still love your words, Anna Belle!

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