Dispatch #41 July 30th 2018
Day 641 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 566 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
I admire Ta-Nehisi Coates for his plain language about the legacy of White Supremacy in America; language that refuses to reassure white people, and that insists on truth, reparations, and perhaps reconciliation.
To ignore the fact that one of the oldest republics in the world was erected on a foundation of white supremacy, to pretend that the problems of a dual society are the same as the problems of unregulated capitalism, is to cover the sin of national plunder with the sin of national lying. The lie ignores the fact that reducing American poverty and ending white supremacy are not the same. www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/
The same stark and uncompromising assessment is necessary regarding the structural oppression Misogyny aka Perniciously-Poisonous-Patriarchy. Almost all societies were erected on a centuries-old foundation of Misogyny. Male privilege/dominance depends upon oppressing women as the ‘less-than-human-other’ just as white privilege/supremacy requires seeing black people as inferior and the ‘less-than-human-not-white-other.’
Coates names the terrorism of White Supremacy in Between the World and Me:
Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.
I take the liberty to paraphrase Coates to name the terrorism and ubiquitous pervasiveness of Misogyny: Here is what I would like for you to know: In the World, it is traditional to destroy the female body—it is the heritage and the imperative of centuries of Patriarchy.
Coates continues with his reflections on living while black in America:
…….racism [misogyny] is a visceral experience…. it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body. And how should one live in such a body?” www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/tanehisi-coates-between-the-world-and-me/397619/
Yes, how does a woman figure out how to live in her body? With apprehension, shame, awkwardness, self-doubt, constraints, uncertainty, exclusion, other-ness. Women’s bodies are always the first line of attack — ugly, wrinkled, smelly, bloody, lumpy, slack, soft, weak, fat, seductive, shameless, ‘your-fault-for-being-raped’ and repellent.
Many women say that verbal violence causes more harm than physical violence because it damages self-esteem so deeply. Women have not wanted to hear battered women say that the verbal abuse was as hurtful as the physical abuse: to acknowledge that truth would be tantamount to acknowledging that virtually every woman is a battered woman. It is difficult to keep strong against accusations of being a bitch, stupid, inferior, etc., etc. Suzanne Pharr Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism.
Have I mentioned recently how disgusted I am with these never-ending protestations about how much progress women have made in the 21st Century? Uh-huh. Really?
Yeah, women have made so much progress in the 21st Century, but, men and their heterosexual partners cannot admit and do not report to population surveys when the woman earns more than the man. www.nytimes.com/2018/07/06/your-money/marriage-men-women-finances; www.nytimes.com/2018/07/17/upshot/when-wives-earn-more-than-husbands-neither-like-to-admit-it.html
Ridhi Tariyal, CEO and co-founder of the Bay Area-based startup NextGen Jane, offers this assessment:
As a female start-up chief executive — and woman of color, no less — I always knew pitching my company to potential funders would sometimes be maddening. In one of my first meetings, a male investor avoided eye contact with me and addressed his questions to my male co-founder. My co-founder, without pause, would politely turn to me and repeat the question verbatim. This went on for multiple rounds as if we were caught in some surreal reenactment of an “Abbott and Costello” skit. Later, when I brought this up to a male mentor, he suggested letting my male co-founder pitch alone, or for me to deliberately take a back seat during investor meetings. “Better yet, A/B test it,” he said, “and let me know which one gives you the best response.”
The message was clear: Be a man or be invisible.
Tariyal considers the code-switching required of women entrepreneurs, survival skills routinely acquired and practiced by black people and immigrants, and concludes:
The question is whether it is helping. On the margins, I see more women in powerful roles than I did two decades ago. On the whole, though, I see a system that has codified norms that marginalize the diversity of thought women bring to the table.
Yet despite this impulse toward conformity, the reality is less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 chief executives are women, and a meager 3 percent of venture capital is secured by female chief executives. From corporate behemoths to fledgling start-ups, the statistics are underwhelming.
In my own case, the technology I am developing — a “smart” tampon that tests the endometrial cells shed in menstrual fluid for disease — only complicates matters, partly because our potential funders are unaccustomed to talking about menstruation. Some of my mentors recommended I mask the technology itself: Strip the deck of “menstrual blood” and call it a novel female substrate, they suggested. Don’t say you’re a “women’s health” company. It signals a lack of scientific heft. I understood them to mean: Try to look as little as possible like what you really are — a woman-led company utilizing female biology to advance health care for half the population. www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/07/24/to-succeed-in-silicon-valley-you-still-have-to-act-like-a-man/
What happens when women push back, even just a little? The Terrorism of Misogyny takes many forms, from the ‘civility’ of Silicon Valley to the brutality of the streets.
The scene outside a Paris cafe is as short as is it shocking in its almost casual violence.
A young woman in a scarlet red dress passes a bearded man in a black T-shirt with his jacket slung over one shoulder. Both are walking briskly. The man says something to the woman. She turns her head and replies. Both continue walking.
Then the man picks up an ashtray and throws it in the direction of the woman, who is by now off camera. A second later the man is striding purposefully toward her and she has returned into view.
He approaches her and without warning hits 22-year-old architecture student Marie Laguerre with a blow so violent she stumbles and falls against the glass barrier of the cafe terrace. www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/30/uproar-in-france-over-video-of-woman-marie-laguerre-hit-by-harasser-in-paris-street
We women know that this ‘almost casual’ violence is our sentence for being born female in the Patriarchy. Each day we navigate living with our bodies and freeing our minds.
Many women, I think, resist feminism because it is an agony to be fully conscious of the brutal misogyny
which permeates culture society, and all personal relationships. Andrea Dworkin