Monday, October 30, 2006

The Patriarchy

I’ve heard this word for some time now, and it seems to get thrown around a lot on feminist websites. Basically, from what I gather, it’s a term that is used to describe some kind of system in place in our society that keeps men in charge and women in some subordinate roll as second class citizens. Evidently, lots of people think that the guys have meetings and secret plans in order to keep women “down”.

If such meetings exist, I haven’t been invited to one.

Now, I’m not going to address decades ago when I didn’t live or understand what was going on. I can only address the “now”, and I think it’s safe to say that, as a whole, men don’t sit around thinking of new and exciting ways of maintaining power. For what it’s worth, we as individuals are struggling just to have any semblance of personal “power” without trying to unite against the “fairer” sex.

It’s funny, though. For every woman I meet who’s crusading against the patriarchy and chopping down windmills, there’s usually a woman in another part of the room who’s perfectly happy kissing her husband goodbye in the morning before she heads out to aerobics and then lunch with her friends. Hey, my wife would be home right now if she didn’t have to work. She’d be perfectly happy in a “patriarchy” as long as she could sleep late in the morning and surf Zappos a few hours every day.

Crap, who am I kidding? If my wife suddenly landed a job making $150k a year and told me to hit the house, I’d be there in a heartbeat . . . if I were still working at my previous job. I like my new one. I’d probably stay here just because I enjoy it. However, I’d be a “kept man” if given the chance . . . at least for a while, maybe.

I don’t think it’s as much about the “patriarchy” as it is about self-worth. I find that many of the people who rail against this supposed institution are angry. No, they’re REALLY angry . . . all the time. And EVERYTHING is “the system” working against them. And NOTHING seems to go their way. And . . . you get the picture.

One blog I haunt is run by a 270+ pound lesbian who lives with another 270+ pound lesbian . . . and their children. Basically, one of the “mothers” is out of work on disability. They don’t have much money. One of the kids has been in trouble with the police and worships death and Satan. Everyone in the house hates men. Everyone in the house is a devout atheist and hates God all at the same time. They have health issues, too, and no one gets along. And, OF COURSE, all of them have been raped multiple times. Actually, I’m not sure that ANY of the women concerned hasn’t been raped by about every man they’ve ever known. EVERY MAN has raped them.

The culprit: men of course. It’s all the “patriarchy’s” fault. It’s all the system against them . . . keeping them from taking charge of their lives, and being happy.

Maybe there IS some kind of patriarchy way above where I am in life. Maybe women SHOULD be mad because more of them aren’t top CEO’s in Fortune 500 companies. I think they’re about 1% of the top management. Okay, so there’s 10,000 women in the U.S. who are qualified and are “kept down” because of the patriarchy. Fine and dandy. THEY should be mad. Hey, I’m mad because affirmative action as probably cost ME some good jobs, too . . . maybe. Who knows?

The point is that most of the people who complain about systemized forms of persecution probably aren’t doing much to help themselves, either. My ex was a social worker, and she told me about families who lived in trailers and who cried about how hard it was to make it in the world, how sick they were, how they couldn’t work, how the government was corrupt, and how it was all against them . . . while the chain smoked Camels, maintained a 2 – 3 case inventory of Bud Light in the fridge, and had 5 kids living with them.

You know, sometimes . . . JUST SOMETIMES . . . it’s not all everyone else’s fault.

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