The Perpetual State of War that is Patriarchy
Today, a man dressed in police uniform went to a youth camp full of teenagers, rounded them all up as though he was about to give a talk, then open fired with a machine gun killing 91 and counting.
Some of the kids lay on the floor playing dead, but being the systematic patriarch that he was, Anders Breivik didn’t miss a trick and walked up to each cowering body, shooting the heads one by one. Some tried to escape by swimming away, so he shot at them in the river, where the search for bodies continues.
Hearing this, just a moment ago, the usually Sorrow, Despair, and Rage at what men inflict on the world rose up inside me, but today a new emotion superseded them, one I had never before experienced in this context–Resignation.
One emotion I emphatically did not feel was Surprise. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since becoming a radical feminist it’s that any time of peace is just a respite from the perpetual state of war that is patriarchy.
The world—the newspapers, the chat forums—does not seem to have noticed that it was a man who did this. Just another “monster”, they think. But I noticed.
Research shows that people are beginning to find it harder and harder to distinguish between what they see on the silver screen and what they experience in real life. In other words, the type of media we watch affects the way we interact with the world.
The time has come to stop giving violent media the benefit of the doubt. Governments need to stop hand-wringing and pretending there is no connection between the media that boys see and the way they behave as men. Policies must be put in place to limit the Sado excesses of misogyny-riddled porn directors and movie-makers.
I am angry that “free speech” i.e the right to show gratuitous violence: rape, war, torture, gets priority over our right to attempt to keep ourselves and our children safe. I’m not saying banning violent media will lead to salvation, but what harm can it do to try? Apart from the slimming down of a few men’s wallets.
I want to rile against the violence of men tonight—those cowards who come for our children. The only people around fighting against the belief that the bloodshed is inevitable, suggesting instead that it is a construct of patriarchal societies which train, condition and reward males for dutifully acting out their scripts of terror, are feminists.
So I go back to the drawing board. I won’t resign today.I have written this post instead to Name the enemy, in the hope that he comes into focus for a few more women.
You’ve already taken me away from myself
with my only road back to go forward
into more madness, monsters, cobwebs, nausea,
in order to free you — men — from killing us, killing us.
[ extract from Robin Morgan’s poem, Monster]