Dispatch #30 August 28th 2017
Day 295 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)
Day 220 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
So a HUGE shout-out and THANK YOU to EVE ENSLER, a most courageous woman warrior whose two decades of international activism against misogyny inspired women to exorcise this deadly and disabling miasma. She demands that we speak out and encourage each other.
“And now, 20 years later [after The Vagina Monologues], I wish for nothing more than to be able to say that radical anti-racist feminists have won. But patriarchy, alongside white supremacy is a recurrent virus, like herpes. It lives dormant in the body politic and is activated by toxic predatory conditions. Certainly in the US, with an openly racist and misogynist predator-in-chief, we are in the midst of a massive outbreak. Our job, until a cure is found, is to create hyper-resistant conditions that build our immunity, and will make more outbreaks impossible. It starts where The Vagina Monologues, and so many other acts of radical feminist resistance, begin – by speaking out. By saying what we see. By refusing to be silenced.”
“They tried to stop us even saying the names of some of the most precious parts of our bodies. But here’s what I learned. If something isn’t named, it is not seen, it doesn’t exist. Now more than ever it’s time to tell the crucial stories and say the words, whether it’s vagina, “my stepfather raped me” or “the president is a predator and a racist.” When you break the silence you realise how many other people have been waiting for permission to do the same thing. We will not be silenced again.” http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/45418-focus-even-with-a-misogynist-predator-in-chief-we-will-not-be-silenced
Dr. Crystal Marie Fleming’s compelling tutorial on the insidious intractability of “soft” White Supremacy (www.theroot.com/to-be-clear-white-supremacy-is-the-foundation-of-our-c-1797990783 discussed in my August 24th dispatch) applies with equal trenchancy to Misogyny. My restatement:
Misogyny thrives as systemic oppression because people believe that it 1) doesn’t exist, 2) has been overcome (i.e., women can just lean in) or 3) exists only among extremists (e.g., red-necks). Misogyny can’t tolerate millions of people finally realizing that it is pervasive and systematic. Misogyny needs us ignorant and “hopeful.” And it needs us to cling to a particular kind of hope—a hope that reinforces patriarchal ignorance and denial of Misogyny. A hope that sells you neoliberal inclusion and “feel good” tokenism—the kind of hope that cannot threaten the Misogynistic status quo. A TOXIC hope whose price is acceptance of abuse and oppression.
Adrienne Rich instructs: “No woman is really an insider in the institutions fathered by masculine consciousness. When we allow ourselves to believe we are, we lose touch with parts of ourselves defined as unacceptable by that consciousness; with the vital toughness and visionary strength of the angry grandmothers, the fierce market women of the Ibo’s Women’s War, the marriage-resisting women silk workers of pre-Revolutionary China, the millions of widows, midwives, and the women healers tortured and burned as witches for three centuries in Europe.” http://www.azquotes.com/quote/616510
Women may have the appearance of freedom and self-determination in the US, but, we are sexualized and objectified by the male gaze as surely as women in Afghanistan who are objectified as ‘my household’ or ‘mother of my children’ or ‘my weak one’ and whose name is not to be mentioned in public. https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/07/30/world/asia/afghanistan-womens-rights-whereismyname.html?module=subsection_world
Our particular American brand of misogyny does not involve imprisoning women at home, making women invisible in their dress, making physical and sexual women slaves, giving girls to men for their pleasure. No, in our slightly more civilized misogynist world, women simply know that they are in danger of being sexualized and sexually attacked, being forced to bear/raise children in economically inequitable circumstances, being made available as the repository for male rage/denigration and oppression, constantly intimidated in the public square, being always aware of the threat of male aggression and violence, must always be worried about appearance, and always self-conscious about how much space they take up. (January 13th 2017 Dispatch #13)
How can we forget the 2016 Republican anti-Hillary campaign slogans: 2 fat thighs, 2 small breasts and 1 left wing; and Trump that Bitch? So many of us thought at the time that these horrific displays of Misogyny would surely hurt the Republican candidate. Looking back, I now believe that these slogans actually fanned Misogynistic attitudes – how could this sexualized object possibly become President?!
Andrea Dworkin speaks the fierce and furious truths: “Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating. ….Under patriarchy, no woman is safe to live her life, or to love, or to mother children. Under patriarchy, every woman is a victim, past, present, and future. Under patriarchy, every woman’s daughter is a victim, past, present, and future. Under patriarchy, every woman’s son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman.” www.azquotes.com/quote/666824 “The nature of women’s oppression is unique: women are oppressed as women, regardless of class or race; some women have access to significant wealth, but that wealth does not signify power; women are to be found everywhere, but own or control no appreciable territory; women live with those who oppress them, sleep with them, have their children. We are tangled, hopelessly it seems, in the gut of the machinery and way of life which is ruinous to us.” www.azquotes.com/quote/1082509
The endless strength, resilience and courage required of Black Women, who must labor under the reinforcing structural oppressions of White Supremacy and Misogyny, are almost impossible to imagine.
The War on Women demands recognition that working class and poor women and women of color continue to experience the worst brutalities of Misogyny. These brutalities include women charged for murder in the aftermath of a miscarriage; jail for a mother who procures birth control for her daughter; young women forced to have children and then required to work with no access to childcare or education and then accused of child neglect for using unlicensed daycare. (March 18th 2017 Dispatch #20)
The titles of these articles are suggestive/descriptive of their troubling content that touch on (1) the terrible consequences for black girls of being seen as older than they are, (2) the White Supremacist historical context for why black children are more likely to be viewed and treated as adults, and (3) the different standards that poor black parents (usually single women) are held to when they face losing custody of their children.
Angela Davis salutes these women-warriors: Black women have had to develop a larger vision of our society than perhaps any other group. They have had to understand white men, white women, and black men. And they have had to understand themselves. When black women win victories, it is a boost for virtually every segment of society. www.azquotes.com/quote/809853