Dispatch #37 Day 497 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

posted in: Dispatches

Dispatch #37 March 8th 2018

Day 497 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

Day 422 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

         Four Hundred and Eighty-Seven Days to consider the Ascendency of White Supremacy and Misogyny. The normalization of Fascism in Early 21st Century America continues apace. Transgressive incidents as shameless as Trump Jr. traveling to India to sell Trump Tower condominiums and give his own foreign policy speech elicit barely a shrug. Enabled by global capitalism and purchased by a few billionaires, the PeeeeOTUS’s administration operates like a corrupt Eastern European autocracy, while his Congressional henchmen loot the treasury, dismantle protections for flora and fauna, uproot non-Caucasian immigrants (Make America White Again), and decree more misery for poor people.
        Four Hundred and Eighty-Seven Days to consider the Democrats’ behavior in opposition only to conclude that their behavior displays the absence of courage, the inability to do the right thing, and the abject failure of conscience. The rest of us choose countless acts of resistance, and a determined belief that power can be shifted toward equity and justice.

 

Dismantling Institutional Misogyny represents an absolute prerequisite/precondition toward the goal of establishing Equity & Justice.
The out-rage and up-roar galvanized by the activism of #MeToo & #TimesUp during the latter part of 2017 elevated the terms of engagement from pussy hats to fierce female fury.
Thanks to Isa Noyola, Trans Latina Activist, for her exhortation to destroy Misogyny: 

On International Women’s Day 2018, I will

“Crush the Patriarchy by Leaving a Seed of Consciousness

Behind at Every Space that I Navigate”

Language determines how we think and what we communicate. In this moment that includes over-hyped media proclamations about the demise of the Patriarchy along with never-ending revelations about men’s horrific treatment of women invariably described as sexual harassment and sexual abuse, the choice of words matters enormously. The degradation-dealing experiences of women living in structural oppression cannot be described primarily by the sexual behavior of men.  
I use intentionally White Supremacy instead of racism because White Supremacy describes the particular quality of structural oppression in the US, and demands that we see/get the core dynamic of this oppression. As called out most eloquently by James Baldwin, the core dynamic is white people in America defining, measuring, and uplifting themselves by degrading and dehumanizing black people.  
Like racism, sexual harassment and sexism offer entirely insufficient language — aka understanding — to describe the toxic talons, destructive demons, and poisonous predations nourished by Misogyny.  Here is more accurate language that, like White Supremacy, demands facing the core dynamic:
  • Misogyny-Driven Abuse of Power.
  • Degradation and Dehumanization of Women Enabled by Structural Misogyny.
  • Gender-Based Abuse of Power by Misogynists.

 

Check out Dispatch #4 November 17th 2016 Post Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny for a detailed discussion about Misogyny, e.g.,
Misogyny — from the Greek misein, to hate and gyne, woman — encompasses contempt, disdain, disgust, and revulsion for women as a whole, rather than for specific women. Misogyny is institutionalized oppression of women to maintain the supremacy/power of men. Like White Supremacy, Misogyny is a system, a web of interlocking, reinforcing institutions: economic, military, legal, educational, religious, and cultural affecting every aspect of life
The purpose of Misogyny is to degrade, dehumanize and disable women thereby making them entirely subject to the dominance of men. Maleness celebrates itself by degrading and dehumanizing the not-male aka female.  The Patriarchy depends upon Misogyny for its power and dominance. We don’t need the words sex or sexual as this language is a distraction from and dilution of the power dynamics.
 The primarily sexual framing serves to drag/distract us down the slippery slope of men whining about not being to ask a colleague to lunch, or of women lamenting that they can’t claim their sexuality. Structural misogyny is about so much more than sex/sexual assault. Misogyny’s core dynamic comprises the Abuse of Power to Degrade and Dehumanize Women by ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
If we challenge only the symptoms of Structural Misogyny, then, as history shows us, the patriarchy masterfully absorbs, deflects, and neutralizes resistance. Alternatively, if we said that women’s body parts could no longer be used for selling, advertising, decorating and displaying, then the process of uprooting Structural Misogyny would be dramatically galvanized.
Women have long been bound by intersectionality aka the comprehensiveness of structural oppression enabled by Misogyny. Any Means Necessary are insidious and ubiquitous, e.g.: being shut out of meetings, being shut down in meeting, You Are Too Loud, being told you are ugly, stupid, fat, smelly and acting Too Loud, supposed to behave like a good girl, being told you are a castrating bitch, You are Too Loud, being threatened with rape and worse for being Too Loud, being beaten and worse for talking back, being ignored or being undermined or having ideas stolen, You Are Too Loud, never acknowledged for being smart, accomplished or competent, you must behave/dress appropriately/be good/be nice/never embarrass men and never be Loud, you must always be having children or taking care of children or being child-like quietly.
As the celebrated classicist Mary Beard notes in her recent book, our venerated so-called Western values are celebrated as based on the values of Ancient Greece whose prominent philosophers opined that there was no greater danger to the state than the horrific sound of a women’s voice in the pubic square.

Courageous women willing to be LOUD are to be celebrated at every opportunity.

 Dr. Linda Gordon’s book, The Second Coming of the KKK::The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition published December 8, 2017, garnered immediate and admiring critical attention. Reviewers noted the dead-on relevance of her historical analysis to current events.

 By legitimizing bigotry and redefining so-called American values, a revived Klan in the 1920s left a toxic legacy that demands reexamination today. http://greaterdiversity.com/second-coming-kkk/

In his review entitled The Ku Klux Klan’s Surprising History, Clay Risen draws attention to prize-winning historian Gordon’s courage in taking a different approach to history.

A historian at New York University, Gordon has written books on a broad range of topics, from 16th-century Ukraine to birth control, and she is one of only a few historians to twice win the Bancroft Prize, the profession’s highest honor. But in this book, she rejects the academic’s commitment to history for history’s sake in favor of a perspective on the past that explicitly comments on the present. “In my discussion of the Ku Klux Klan I am not neutral,” she writes, adding later in the same paragraph, “I am offering an interpretation, not a scholarly monograph.” www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/books/review/linda-gordon-the-second-coming-of-the-kkk.html

 

In her profile of the Foreign Minister of Sweden Margot Wallstrom, Ellen Barry discusses how this “Proponent of Feminist Foreign Policy” arrived at her unique approach to defining Sweden’s foreign policy along with Wallstrom’s impact on global relationships.

More than three decades ago, in a town in Sweden, a man grabbed his girlfriend by the hair and threw her against a wardrobe door with such force that a clump of hair came off in his hand. She was in her early 20s, a rising activist in the Social Democratic Party. Later, when she broke off the relationship, he barged into her room with a switchblade, cutting a slit in her T-shirt. He traced a line on her throat, leaving a small scratch on her chin. Then he stopped what he was doing and walked out the door, leaving her frozen, in a state of shock.

At 63, that woman, Margot Wallstrom, is now Sweden’s foreign minister, one of her country’s most popular — and provocative — politicians. She stands out among the men who guide the foreign affairs of the world’s powerful nations. Raised in the rural north of the country, the daughter of a sawmill worker, she never attended college. After taking the post in 2014, she introduced what she called a “feminist foreign policy,” placing gender equality at the core of Sweden’s international relations.

Her embrace of activism over realpolitik has antagonized powerful players in Sweden, one of the world’s largest per capita weapons exporters. She has attacked the human rights record of Saudi Arabia, a major trading partner; she has endorsed a United Nations ban on nuclear weapons, ignoring warnings from NATO. She has made no secret of her dislike for President Trump. When people accuse her of being undiplomatic, she cheerfully agrees.

Ms. Wallstrom raised eyebrows, in 2014, by announcing that Swedish foreign policy would from that point forward be focused on feminist principles, and waves of international press coverage followed. Sweden’s stance has become more visible with the rise of Mr. Trump; this summer, when the United States discontinued aid to family planning groups that provide abortions, Sweden offered to countervail the American policy by replacing any lost funds. Canada’s new liberal government this summer adopted Ms. Wallstrom’s idea, announcing a “feminist international assistance program.” www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/world/europe/margot-wallstrom-sweden.html

 
And now, let’s lift up Emma Gonzalez, a 17-year old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who has emerged as a powerful, courageous and inspiring leader. And she is LOUD, confident, and smart with her don’t-give-me-any-bullshit attitude. If you haven’t, then you must watch her speech a few days after the shooting. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/02/17/student-emma-gonzalez-school-shooting-gives-passionate-speech-against-g/348357002/ 

And here is the impact of LOUD RIGHTEOUS FEMALE FURY:

A survivor of the Florida school shooting now boasts nearly double the number of Twitter followers the National Rifle Association has. This is despite being on the social media site for less than 10 days, while the NRA has had an account for nearly a decade Emma Gonzales has 935,000 followers compared to the rifle association’s 583,000 Twitter supporters, as of Monday morning. https://www.yahoo.com/news/florida-shooting-survivor-emma-gonzalez-133302310.html
YEAH, YOU GO Emma! Consider this discussion about what Emma might represent in terms of growing youth activism in the US.

 As a student, Emma represents not only youth but women, Latinos and the LGBT community. Can Emma González be the future of Latino politics in Florida as well as a new intersectional movement among America’s youth to roll back conservative political trends decades in the making? Emma González not only represents a younger Cuban American demographic that is changing its views toward engagement with Cuba, but also is sharing the political shift toward progressive ideals characteristic of millennials and the upcoming Generation Z.

While Emma juggles the many roles of her active adolescence, she is able to focus clearly and resolutely on an endemic problem that is threatening U.S. politics and its democracy. “What matters is that the majority of American people have become complacent in a senseless injustice that occurs all around them,” she writes in Harpers Bazaar. “What matters is that most American politicians have become more easily swayed by money than by the people who voted them into office.”

Ana María Dopico, associate professor and director of the King Juan Carlos Center at New York University, says González calls to mind legendary Cuban revolutionary José Martí. “As someone who has written about José Martí, who was a teenager when he became a political prisoner and went on to be a poet and political star, watching Emma González is absolutely fascinating,” said Dopico. “Her open-hearted self-exposure, the mourning over martyred friends, the claim for youth as leaders of history, the call to the future, the remaking of citizenship, all these are part of Cuban and U.S. political history.” www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/03/01/emma-gonzalez-la-nueva-cara-of-florida-latinx/

Thank you Emma!   You and your comrades must be the future.